Curious is one of the eight professional behaviours that make up the CIPD HR profession map. These behaviours set out how best HR practice is demonstrated when professionals carry out the activities and use HR knowledge to affect business outcomes.

The behaviours are an important part of the framework as they describe in detail how professionals need to go about their job to be credible and effective.

The map defines “curious” as: “Shows active interest in the internal and external environment and in the continuous development and improvement of self and others at both organisation and individual levels. Is open-minded with a bias and willingness to learn and enquire.”

So what does that mean in practice? What curious is describing is a need to look beyond your own role, team and department to the broader issues affecting your organisation. Monitoring your environment is essential to keep up to date with ever-changing demands on customers and how these variations affect your business.

However, it is not only about monitoring. It is about showing an interest in the global environment and your competitors, and identifying opportunities to improve your own or the wider organisation’s performance.

Being curious could be the difference between asking questions about your customers or remaining silent. Using a questioning approach could lead your organisation to understand and serve customers better, as opposed to losing them altogether.

It’s about watching emerging markets and the businesses operating across these sectors and learning from them. What is making them successful in our current economic climate?

It’s about ensuring you are aware of your organisation, industry, sector and profession, so that you are one step ahead to drive direction, rather than merely following.

But it’s not only about an awareness of your business’s wider environment; it’s also about having an awareness of yourself and those around you. It’s about asking for constructive feedback on how you conducted that presentation or developed that report – so you can make improvements in the future.

So are you curious? Are you demonstrating this behaviour to your peers and senior colleagues?

One way to find out is by using the contra- or negative indicators that the CIPD has developed for each professional behaviour in the map. Use these contra-indicators as a first step to grow your awareness of your behaviour.

To get started, use this checklist as a quick insight to identify whether being curious is a behaviour you are actively demonstrating to others.

As an HR professional do you:
- React negatively to feedback?
- Deliver feedback to others in an inappropriate way - do more harm than good with the things you say?
- Show little interest in developing your skills further?
- Fail to pass your skills on to others?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you should investigate it further and possibly focus on this behaviour as part of your development. Although the checklist is only a quick test, it shows how a failure to demonstrate curious behaviours might manifest itself.

If you are a member, you can use the online self-assessment tool, My HR Map, to assess yourself. This will help you to identify more accurately how you rate your performance against “curious”.

When thinking about how to be curious – think “active” and “interest”. Focus on becoming more active in your approach to your work, whether that is seeking out new networks, working with colleagues or taking on board feedback for improvement. Develop your interest in your environment, customers, trends, ideas and colleagues.

Using these techniques will help you get started and is something that you can apply today.