Design Employee On-boarding More Naturally for How Long it Takes People to Learn

One of the most popular posts on my blog in December was a summary of results of a poll I conducted in April 2013 in which I asked people how long it takes to learn a new job. 

67% of respondents said it takes between 3 and 12 months to learn a new job. 34% (the most in the poll) said it takes 6 to 12 months. In other words, it takes a while.

This has become more interesting to me lately because I am in month 7 of my new job….and I admit, I have begun to feel competent and confident on my new role over the past month or two. When I say competent and confident, what I really mean is that the mental distraction of learning my new job is less of a cognitive drag on my work. I now spend far less time consciously thinking about all the things I need to learn. I am spending more mental energy doing the job than I am learning it. 

Certainly, the learning will never end, but it has become much less of a distraction. 

Employee On-boarding should be much more about this longer period of time than it is about an arbitrary, fixed two (four, six, whatever) week period at the beginning of a job. 

What if employee on-boarding were designed on a timeline more aligned with how long it naturally takes to learn a new job? Would that be more effective?