The danger of information overload at work

Telling a business’ story is critical for employee engagement, according to former chief knowledge officer at NASA Dr Ed Hoffman – but it’s important not to overload staff with information.

Speaking to bluenotes on video, Hoffman said sharing knowledge and stories was important in the learning process for staff – but only to a certain extent. 

" “[Biz must] ask: ‘How do we focus? How do we prioritise what’s important? Where do we want to start?" - Dr Ed Hoffman

“I don’t think they get overwhelmed by stories,” he said.  “I think you can get overwhelmed by information “

“[Businesses] need to ask: ‘how do we focus? How do we prioritise what’s important? Where do we want to start?’” 

Hoffman said it can be beneficial when disseminating business-critical information to simplify the ideas into digestible portions.

“My one rule of thumb I tell organisations I work with is: if we’re trying to engage and understand something or change something, let’s limit it to three things and see how that goes,” he said.

He said stories can help mitigate social risk in workforces in times of tremendous workplace change.

“I think what successful leaders do… is they’re very good at focussing on people,” he said. “The risk we often avoid is the interpersonal risk, the social risk.”

“It helps to focus on the importance of leadership, of experimentation, the notion of ‘how do we talk together and build relationships to be successful?’”

Watch the video above to find out more.

Alicia Aitken and Greg Szopa are bluenotes contributors

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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