The Multi-Million Dollar Question

Posted on: Aug 02, 2017

Categories: Change Management, Leadership, Millennial Perspective, Motivation

I work with lots of different corporations that are constantly hiring new employees. Whether you’re an hourly employee, an executive or HR director, anyone interviewing a prospective employee needs to know the multi-million dollar question:

Setting: An interview with a prospective new employee

Interviewer: Thank you for coming in today!  Before we get into your resume and your qualifications, I have one question for you. If I decide to hire you, we’re going to agree on an amount of money for you to work for us, X dollars per hour. I want to make sure you’re willing to, for that wage, not look at your phone during this hour.  Will you promise that for each hour I pay you, you won’t look at your phone at all?

Interviewee: *hems and haws* Well, I mean, I might have, like, to check my messages, you know. So you mean, like, not to look at my phone, like, at all?

Interviewer: Well in that case, we’re done here. Thanks again for coming in, but we’re going to go in a different direction. Next!

Every minute your employee looks at their phone during your work hours, they are stealing from you.  Whether they’re looking at social media-from SnapChat to LinkedIn to Twitter or Facebook-they are leaving your space of business and going into cyberspace. Multitasking is a myth. You can’t be in two places at once, even if one is virtual.

Did you know, every time you are distracted from your current task, it takes 20 minutes to re-engage at the same level? You’re not only losing the 5 minutes they were on their phone, but also the 20 minutes it takes for them to refocus. So if they check their phone just 3 times a day, you have lost over an hour of high quality productivity.

Employers create value for employees by paying them a competitive wage to carry out certain responsibilities. That’s the fundamental basis of having a job. But the employee also has a responsibility to create value for the employers.

If your employee spends any time at all on their cell phone during work for entertainment, it’s too much! During those checks, employees are suffering from a lack of productivity – avoiding what they’ve been paid to do in favor of scrolling a newsfeed – and worse, they are not deepening relationships with your customers and other employees.

In retail and all hourly positions, every hour the employee is paid should be spent working for their employer’s business. In corporate settings, I encourage leaders to create environments that discourage distractions. Try initiating no-device meetings – no phones, no computers, no working on other things, just the people, the problems and the path to the solutions. Have one person taking notes on a laptop to later email the team. Your organization will become more efficient and focused.

If you’re using your phone at work as a tool, that’s fabulous. If you’re using your phone at work to scroll social media, then you’re a tool. Don’t be a tool, use your phone as a tool.

Roy Kroc, founder of McDonald’s used to say, “If you can lean, you clean.” Today, I would change that to “If you have time to look at your screen, you have time to clean.”

What do you think of my multi-million dollar question? Would you ask anything different? Comment below!