This employee retention speaker and employee retention author has recently observed some things in training sessions I’ve conducted, in meetings I’ve attended, my personal behavior, and just in life in general when it comes to cell phone usage and the distraction and disconnection we often see as a result. This has a serious impact on employee engagement, employee retention, and culture building. I have seen a few organizations deal with the distraction of cell phones very effectively.
The reality of the situation is we are CONSTANTLY on our cell phones! We are looking at our cell phones in meetings, while we walk down the street, as we drive, when we are standing with someone conversing with them, in training sessions, and even when conducting candidate interviews. Aside from the fact that many of these behaviors are dangerous, they destroy focus and are, in many cases, simply rude. The good news is I have several clients that have effectively dealt with the issue that many organizations can learn from. It has helped me personally because I have fallen into many of these habits, but it has really worked to create focus in their workforce. They have created specific NO CELL PHONE ZONES!
The main areas they have concentrated on are meetings, training sessions, and candidate interviews. In meetings, they tell people to shut off their cell phones and put them on the table face down. They then make it a point to take a 5-minute break every 40-50 minutes to let people quickly check their phones because they realize text and emails are how we often communicate. This enables the person to quickly put out any fire that may have erupted in their department. They also tell their people that if they have people working for them that can’t keep things under control for 40-50 minutes, perhaps they need to look at the people in their department.
This works in training sessions as well. I’ve adopted it myself and make it a point to ask participants to adhere to it, tell them why it’s important from a learning perspective and that we will take frequent breaks. Most admit after the session it helped them stay focused on the training which improves learning because they were less distracted. It’s also respectful to stay off the phone…the “R” in C.R.A.P. Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise.
The last area is when conducting interviews. Everyone knows it’s poor practice to glance at their phone when conducting an interview. By telling their people there is an expectation the phone will be off, people generally adhere when conducting an interview. Again, most people will admit it helped them remain focused on the interview and it sends the right message to the candidate.
Also, engagement is a key driver in the employee retention process. When you are constantly on the phone it creates little time to interact face-to-face. In-person interaction is key to building a culture where people are connected. Without connection, the culture suffers. Connection with the people you work with is a huge driver of employee retention. People who don’t connect with their co-worker, usually don’t stay!
Lastly, this employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer wants to say…I’m not a dinosaur!!!! I fully recognize a cell phone is key to doing business. I use mine constantly. My belief is we need to use them properly and not lose that personal interaction that is key to culture building and employee retention. Give the NO Phone Zone a try. You never know until you try.
Is your organization desperate to retain people? If so, email me at email@example.com to find out how the C.R.A.P approach can reduce your employee turnover by 40-80%.