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Why CQ May Be the Most Important Measure of an Employee

This article is part of our new series on the Future of Work where we uncover the latest trends and best practices to prepare for the workplace of tomorrow.  

Why CQ May Be the Most Important Measure of an Employee  

It’s no secret that companies have on some level evaluated the IQ of applicants, and in more recent years their EQ, or emotional intelligence. But there is one other measure that is just as significant, if not more so, for the jobs in the coming years. And that is CQ or curiosity quotient—in other words, the desire to be a life-long learner.  

There are quite a few reasons, which we’ll dive into below. An important one to note, however, is that curious people tend to be better equipped to adapt quickly to a changing world. This couldn’t be more relevant than today’s working environment with a pandemic on our hands, which forced much of our workforce to pivot and change their way of working while still meeting business needs. That’s why it’s no surprise that there’s a correlation between strong leaders and a high CQ as well.   

While it may seem a bit of a stretch to say curious people are also more adaptive, it’s their ability to ask a lot of questions, be comfortable in (and curious about) novel situations, and tap into a wealth of knowledge they’ve acquired that allow them to get to a solution quickly and act fast.  

How to Spot High CQ 

While CQ is not formally measured on a broad level, there is a trend we’re seeing of top employers evaluating for it during the selection and recruitment process, says Mouhanad Abbas, SVP of Operations and Technology Innovation at Simplify VMS. These companies are also measuring CQ to evaluate employees’ future potential at the company.   

There are a few ways to determine whether an applicant or employee exhibits high CQ, Abbas says. They, for example, have a record of seeking out challenging tasks, set goals that go above and beyond what is expected of them, and are comfortable stepping out of their comfort zone.  

Some believe CQ can even supersede IQ, including Leslee S. Kress, Director of Implementation at Simplify VMS. “What CQ shows me is that the employee is a risk-taker and early adopter who questions the status quo.” And those with high CQ are go-getters, adds Karina Kirstein, Director of Operations at Simplify VMS. “They need little direction, get up to speed quickly, and share their knowledge with others.” 

However, while CQ is well-suited for industries such as tech, science and investing, Kress adds that in a workplace setting or industry where the work is more predictable, repeatable, and perhaps even monotonous, someone with a lower CQ score may thrive more and be a better fit.