Looking for that next great team member? Hire a neophile!

Raffa Financial ServicesRaffa Financial Services on 03/15/2018

There are just certain types of people you want on your team. And if you take a few minutes to think about those people, you’ll probably find they have a few things in common:

  • Good intentions
  • Enthusiasm and contagious energy
  • Willingness and/or excitement to try new things

These aren’t really skills to be developed. Although you might be able to coax some of this behavior out of some folks, these qualities are more likely to be innate personality traits.

But the great thing about these traits is that they carry through all positions and all levels of the organization, working to make a difference in everything these people touch.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a receptionist, salesperson, department manager, or the CEO. When you combine this kind of winning attitude with some structural support from the company, you’ll end up with people you can count on to make a significant difference in the way your company operates, sells, and markets itself to prospective clients.

People like this are willing to be coached. No, they want to be coached. Their outlook is such that they are interested in continuously trying new things and improving their performance. And they will learn new skills with enthusiasm.


Yes, there is a word for these adventure-loving, enthusiastic kind of people. Neophiles.

Some psychologists say about 15% of the population is made up of neophiles. AKA those who love the unfamiliar and are “zealous about life.”

On the other end of the spectrum are neophobes, or “people who instinctively avoid new things. These change-averse individuals… are apt to get stuck in emotional and lifestyle ruts, and can be overcautious and worrywarts.”

Neophobes also make up about 15% of the population. And while they can add some stability to a group, we’re going to focus on the people who are going to help drive positive organizational change. Your neophiles.

So just how do you allow these enthusiastic adventurers to truly shine?

1.) Provide some structure

These novelty-seeking individuals are excellent additions to your team, but you’ll want to put some structure in place within the organization to keep their enthusiasm channeled in the right direction.

These folks don’t need, and in fact vehemently oppose, micromanagement tactics.

Instead, what they need are guardrails. Give them a roadmap that shows the desired destination and let them choose the route to get there. Set parameters to keep them focused on that destination to help them avoid getting pulled off track by other bright-and-shiny things that might distract their attention.

2.) Give them the things they need to be successful:

  • Purpose: Neophiles want to work toward something larger
  • Vision:  Show them the desired destination
  • Culture:  Set expected values and behaviors
  • Organizational Goals:  Identify specific, achievable results they can influence
  • Personal goals: Assign specific, achievable results they are directly responsible for
  • Direction:  Help them create an individual action plan to keep from getting distracted
  • Accountability: Meet regularly for coaching and to talk about their ideas. Help them follow through and finish strong.

Time spent with your neophiles talking about ideas, discussing where the company should go and how to get there is like a direct shot of caffeine for boosting their motivation. This will help these eager team members get going— and keep going. Time spent in exploratory conversation, providing helpful guidance, and holding these high-energy team members accountable to follow through on projects and ideas will be an excellent investment in the present and future of your business.

When you’re looking for your next hire, think about seeking out people who love new things. If you want a team of adventurous go-getters who are willing to tackle the unfamiliar, neophiles just may be your ticket to the stars.


Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Raffa, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.


Photo by Pexels

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