How to boost employees’ memory? Use visuals for onboarding

12.11.2020, 5 minutes read

Our brain only needs 1/10 of a second to understand visual content. Don’t hesitate to use this effective tool for employee onboarding and training.

Human brain uses short-term and long-term memory to store information. Scientific research showed that we can store between 5 to 9 items in the short-term memory.

Long-term memory, on the other hand, stores more, immediately available information.

Images, when compared to text or spoken word, have the upper hand. According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, visuals go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.

Words and text sail through the brain, are processed by our short-term memory, and then immediately disappear.

Interestingly, this effect intensifies with time. While we remember only 10% to 20% of written or oral information, we are capable of remembering up to 65% of visual information.

There is a simple tip on how to remember more text or words.

Link the spoken or written words with visuals, such as images, video, or infographics. The listener or reader will view such content visually, shifting the information to the long-term memory.

Visual content includes various infographics.  

Furthermore, linking texts, words, and images boosts the so-called collective intelligence. We can expand our knowledge, grasp information and make conclusions.

Speed and emotions

36,000 pieces of visual information - that is the amount of information we perceive every hour. And we are capable of perceiving even such amounts very quickly as proved by the fact that we get the sense of visual information in 1/10 of a second. When compared to words, which must be read or heard, this happens much faster.

So, if you train your employees on a regular basis, prefer visual content. It is a much better choice in terms of time efficiency.

The efficiency results from the emotions triggered by visual information. Why? Visual memory is encoded in the same part of the brain where the emotions are processed.

Thanks to the emotions triggered by visuals, we are much more likely to remember them.

Useful tips

If you plan to use visual content for employee onboarding or training, here are a few tips how to do it.

Create a new handbook with essential information for every employee. Large companies can also add to the guide an office map with descriptions.

Infographics can be useful as well, depicting the corporate processes. If you decide to create an online handbook, you can add examples of onboarding tools and other software solutions used at your company.

Another option is checklist, i.e. a list of tasks to be done by the employee during onboarding.

Checklists comprise practical icons, infographics, and short and structured texts. However, pay attention to how much text you put in the checklist. If it is too much, it will take more time to absorb the information and the efficiency will drop.

If you think a checklist is the best option for you, don’t hesitate to create one also for HR workers setting out tasks to be done during the recruitment of new hires and their training.

Don’t forget the videos, too. They can have great instructional value and make it easier for the employees to work with your corporate software. The video can also include essential information otherwise provided in written or oral form.

Finally, we also recommend considering virtual reality which is growing in popularity. This tool, which simulates various situations, has proven its qualities many times. Surgical training at Johnson & Johnson can be a great source of inspiration. The enterprise partnered with Osso VR and developed a tool to simulate surgeries.

The surgeons have virtually trained for serious situations and learned how to respond to them in real life. The performance of surgeons from Johnson & Johnson was improved by 230 %.

What is the benefit for employers

Visual content has many benefits for the employer, e.g. the acceleration of the onboarding itself since the employees perceive information faster.

As mentioned above, we get the sense of images sooner and can use them again later. The employers would certainly welcome that employees improve their analytical thinking and know how to use the information.

If the visuals prove successful, implement them permanently. It will be a great help for you also in the future since you can use the handbook or videos for the future recruitment.

The same applies to HR tools. If they prove successful, new hire recruitment and adaptation will get shorter. The HR workers can use the saved time for other important activities.

Our YesElf onboarding tool works with visual content as well. Go to our website and find out more about how such a software can make the new hire training easier for you.

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