Have you ever been in a situation when you were talking with a colleague and he or she just kept looking at his or her smartphone? Kinda makes you feel disengaged and ignored, doesn’t it?
Now the reverse of the situation is whether you have ever done a similar action yourself when speaking with or recognizing an employee.
If you have done this, and I know I have done it several times in my lifetime, I am going to show you some ways to remove such guilt from your communication practices.
What I can promise you is by removing distractions around you that you will improve your employees’ perception of the recognition you give to them.
Respect and Active Listening
One of the ways to demonstrate active listening and respect to people is to learn to be fully present when you are speaking with them.
I think it is very easy in our fast paced work world to let our focus and attentiveness to employees and their needs go out the window. This challenge is multiplied by distractions of electronic devices, work tasks and personal interests.
Take a look at your current work environment. What are some potential distracting items around you that would interfere with your employee interactions?
If you work in an office you might be at your desk and receive an email request from an employee asking to meet with you as soon as possible. The employee wants to discuss a negative work situation.
The employee arrives at your office.
What could you do before talking with them about this serious work issue?
Here are some things you could be mindful of:
- Turn off your computer monitor to minimize privacy issues and remove the visual distractions of email notifications coming in.
- Put your smartphone away or out of view and turn the sound off to prevent calls, emails or text message alerts being heard.
- Clear your desk of any paperwork that could cause you or the employee to start looking at.
- You might even want to forward your calls from your desk phone while speaking with the employee
Understanding the Benefits of No Distractions
By simply removing distractions in your office, on the factory floor, or in face-to-face interactions, you demonstrate to the other person they are important to you. You will immediately improve the quality and positive perception of the recognition when you acknowledge your employees.
You will achieve all of this simply by better managing workplace distractions.
While every employee communication might not be a recognition opportunity you have to be ready for when they are. Getting into a regular practice of removing distractions speaks volumes to your employees.
Take a look at the benefits of removing distractions:
You are becoming fully present. Your employees do not have to wonder if you are paying attention to them and their concerns or not. They will know.
You end up listening better and so you are able to better respond in a sensitive way to the needs of each employee. Without distractions getting in the way you will hear your employees’ needs more clearly and thereby respond more appropriately.
Employees will feel more appreciated and recognized by you. Instead of having your head down looking at your phone or typing a response to an email, your employees will feel confident you appreciate them and that their contributions are valued.
You will demonstrate greater authenticity and caring. Employees will know they are important to you. With better focus on the employee interaction, employees will be more comfortable sharing their needs with you.
Since you have multiple interactions with employees on a daily basis isn’t it about time you were fully present?
Now that you gained knowledge about the importance of removing distractions in the workplace, what is one thing that you could do to improve upon this area in the next 30 days? Think of one action you could get better at doing.
Question: How have you seen workplace distractions interfere with giving effective recognition?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.