Curiosity May Kill Cats, but It Saves Compensation Professionals

stickman curioisty and cat

stickman curioisty and cat

Do you ever wonder why you are reading this article? No one is paying you to read this. Your boss will probably never even know that you read it. Why take a few more minutes out of your busy day for something that only you truly value?  The answer is simple. You are a curious person. (Fair warning this is a “soft” article with no statistics or compensation rules) We are always told that curiosity kills cats. The theory is that it gets cats into trouble that eventually cause their demise.  I would augue that it does the opposite for compensation professionals. Compensation is as much an art as it is a science. This means that even though there are great ways to do almost everything, there are very few absolute ways to do anything. It is curiosity that can make, or break, someone in our profession.

We all must keep up with rules and regulations. This requires less curiosity than it does persistence. Sometimes new rules require us to change processes, communications or procedures, but we are seldom forced to change our compensation philosophy or basic structure. Curioisty is much bigger than compliance.

Curiosity is the key to evolution. It’s not just learning about your peers or industry trends. It is about digging in and figuring out how you can apply a mix of new knowledge and best practices to give your company, its shareholders and employees an edge. The need to know new things and explore different paths is what allows you and your company to stay ahead of the competition.

The best compensation departments aren’t checking to see if their programs are correct.  They explore new paths so they can be better. Many of us look to justify our past decisions.The very best look for why they aren’t making new decisions. Given a choice to act on what they already know and the potential for new information and improvement, they choose improvement. These are the companies who create the next “best thing.”  They are also the professionals who we find publicly celebrating, instead of defending, the results of their programs.

So how is curiosity inspired? While it is against our professional nature, curiosity is seldom motivated by compensation. It is most often motivated by the personal and professional change it can bring. You and everyone on your staff want to know that your ideas count.It is easy to create this culture.

Provide an open environment where the following phrases are outlawed:

1)     We’ve never done it that way.

2)     That probably won’t work.

Replace those curiosity-killing statements with the following questions:

1)     How would you see that working for us?

2)     Can you do a test run and show me the impact?

Once you have an environment where curiosity is valued and recognized, your staff will instantly seem much smarter and more engaged. You will find yourself working amongst solution creators and game changers and your own work will improve as well. Curiosity is the single catalyst that costs nothing and inspires anything. It may not be ideal for felines, but it does wonders for compensation professionals.

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