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Influencers

The 'extra something special' employers seek

Does curiosity help - or hurt - in the workplace? (Thinkstock)

Does curiosity help - or hurt - in the workplace? (Thinkstock)

What, exactly, do companies want from their employees — outside the skills and aptitude required for a job? How about emotional intelligence or curiosity?

These two skills are vital to companies — but not always easy to describe. Several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on that topic this week. Here’s what some of them had to say:

John H Bell, global managing director at Social@Ogilvy

Advertising, marketing and public relations firm Ogilvy & Mather wants to “hire people that are interested in their work and willing to take the initiative to explore new things,” wrote Bell in his post, How Vital is Curiosity Within the Workforce?. That, he wrote, is what curiosity is about — right?

“I find it odd that the most memorable aphorism about ‘curiosity’ is how it did-in the cat. If curiosity can kill us, why is it considered a good thing in many businesses? The death of top-down management (everyone knows that it’s dead, right?) means that we can no longer expect innovations, new procedures and new ideas to trickle down from the top. We would not have some of our best innovations if we didn’t support curiosity,” wrote Bell.

Curiosity is critical in employees because, Bell wrote, it “breathes new life into organizations.”

“Most companies need a curious workforce to source enough new thinking. Sometimes innovation can be the job of the few,” he wrote. “More often, these days, our best bet is to make curiosity an ideal for the entire workforce.”

For managers, though, that means rewarding curiosity and allowing ample time for employees to explore. “Following one’s curiosity takes time,” Bell wrote. “If we value curiosity, we need to allow people the time to explore their hunches and interests.”

Daniel Goleman, co-director of Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations

Psychologist Goleman, wrote that emotional intelligence in the workplace is more important than ever these days. It’s a topic he has been studying for more than two decades. He explained why in his post, The Emotional Intelligence Skills Employers Want Now.

“For one, the global job market is demanding more of prospective employees. And the world’s best employers are not just pickier – they are seeking top graduates who also have emotional intelligence strengths.”

What, exactly, are they?

“Working well on a team; clear, effective communication; adapting well to change; smooth interactions with a wide variety of people; (and) thinking clearly and solving problems under pressure,” Goleman wrote, in part. And while it might seem that one either has these skills — or doesn’t — Goleman writes that emotional intelligence can be learned.

Other Influencers

Scott Case, chief executive officer at Startup America Partnership and founding chief technology officer at Priceline.com weighed in on how the best employees take chances — the kind that could get them fired.

In the wake of the US Securities and Exchange Commission removal of a ban on advertising by hedge funds, Michael Andrew, global chairman and chief executive officer at KPMG, wrote that regulators around the world tend to act locally or in their own national interest. But to prevent another worldwide financial crisis, regulators should work closely and think long-term and globally

Tom Goldstein, a partner at Goldstein & Russell, PC, penned a handy cheat sheet to explain the historic US Supreme Court term—one that saw changes to marriage rights, affirmative action and voting rights, among other things.