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The rule of three


This month, I am without apology, going to concentrate on the new member of the Gerver household, Martha.

It has been over a decade since we last had a dog, mainly because it took that long to feel we could love another pet as much as we did our last dogs Max and Sadie.


Martha has had a tough life. she grew up on the streets of Romania before being taken into a local sanctuary and eventually making the trip to a specialist rescue centre here in the UK, which is where I first met her.


She is a gorgeous but very nervous collie cross and my goodness do we love her already!


Before we got her, my wife and I did as much research as we could to prepare for her arrival and I came across something called The Rule of Three. It's a philosophy to help you gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimatise to their new home. It explains this process in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months.


I love trying to connect the unconnected and it got me thinking about how we design and implement induction programmes in workplaces. I’m not sure that we are all that different from our canine cousins when we have to deal with change.


The first 3 days will be daunting and overwhelming, filled with new experiences, sounds, smells and people.


It’s important with dogs not to try to be too affectionate or attentive, they need time to soak up their new home and do it at their own pace. (We have found that quite hard as our instincts are to nurture with love!)


I wonder if we should do the same thing with new people coming to our place of work? That rather than overwhelming them with new faces, routines and processes, we should stand back and let them absorb their environment for a while?


After the first 3 weeks a dog will be getting used to their new routines, new home and people. As a result, they begin to let their true personality show and start to form a lasting, trusting relationship with you.


It seems to me, that giving new colleagues a similar time and level of understanding could really help build loyalty, trust and the foundations for a long term, productive relationship.


Finally, by 3 months, the dog should be fully settled and rocking on all cylinders. It's also at this point that you can fully understand their real behaviours.


I think that this speaks for itself. I love the idea of explicitly building the emotional integration within an induction programme for new colleagues.


It's important this feels authentic and not rushed but I think it could add a great deal of value.


Luckily of course, new colleagues should be house trained, unlike our Martha, who has left us a couple of fragrant gifts so far!


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