“Ok, let’s update our onboarding training. Way too many new staff are leaving in the first few weeks, it’s gotta stop!” Ever heard that before? Ever wondered what’s going wrong?

Number 1: Too much information too fast fails immediately.

New employees need to ramp up. To be able to take simple incremental steps towards an understanding of what their new organization is, and what it expects them to do.

I work best inundated with things, when it’s like raining information. — Ryan Seacrest

The human mind treats new information a bit like the system that processes recycling in your town. A vast amount of random stuff comes in at once, it gets sorted into types and then dispatched in an orderly stream to the appropriate endpoint.

However, if you follow the typical fire-hose training approach (the first eight hours on accounting policy and tomorrow an in-depth review of every product your company has ever made), the new team member (and in this analogy the processing plant) literally can’t take any more. They probably go home at the end of that day thinking, “This is too hard! What am I supposed to remember?” Day one, and they are already questioning their decision to start work or their ability to comprehend their role in the organization.

The issue? Every department and senior executive want their area covered in-depth. They apply enormous pressure for you to do this as part of onboarding. But why? Keeping onboarding fun and straightforward is the key. Creating an orientation briefing rather than waterboarding the poor folks with stuff they will never remember (and probably don’t even need), is a better approach.

Information is abundant, it flows through so many sources that what once was a river one waded through is now a flood we struggle to keep afloat in. — Aysha Taryam

A gradual ramp-up from their first moments of employment to the point where they are competent and able to do their job is going to allow the recycling plant to keep up.

Next week number 2: Managing the information horizon for success.