6 Psychological Concepts To Help You Improve Your Onboarding Training

Increase the effectiveness of your onboarding training by comprehending and emphasizing several critical psychological concepts that all workers encounter during their first few months on the job. Giving new hires the tools they need to complete their tasks is just one aspect of onboarding training. It is also about establishing an emotional connection and a long-term relationship with your employees, so they stay long enough to get invested in the firm.

Sales and marketing have been using persuasion psychology to boost sales and win over customers for years. Why not use it in the workplace to benefit both the employer and the employee? The four psychology-based actionable concepts listed below can improve new hire onboarding, create a more positive workplace culture, and increase employee happiness and productivity.

Reduce Anxiety With Cognitive Closure

Human brains prefer clean and concrete solutions. Ambiguity makes us uncomfortable, like trying to order in a foreign place without knowing the language and social rules. We have an intrinsic need for clear answers, which psychologists refer to as cognitive closure.

Starting a new job is similar to visiting a foreign place. New employees have many inquiries and a limited amount of knowledge. They may be unsure of what to expect on their first day and the first week of work. Because of the lack of transparency, new hires are unable to participate fully in onboarding. Provide clear answers to new hires' questions by preparing them for each phase of the onboarding process. Start with a thorough preboarding strategy with the help of new hire onboarding software that aids prospects in transitioning smoothly into the onboarding process. Make sure they get all of the information they need before their first day of work.

Reduce Cognitive Overload

The first week of work is frequently a jumble of learning new best practices, standards, and procedures. Psychologists call this the state of cognitive overload. When your brain is given too much information at once, it is unable to prioritize which information to take and hence ignores everything, keeping nothing. Cognitive overload is unproductive, making new employees feel scared and incapable.

You can prevent overburdening your new hires by extending the orientation period. Structure your training approach rather than cramming everything into a single week. Give staff only the most important information in the first few days, then gradually add layers of complexity. Create information libraries where employees can go if they forget a particular procedure or policy. An internal knowledge base serves as a form of institutional memory, reducing some of the cognitive load on the staff.

Enhance The Psychological Contract

The psychological contract is the widely held concept that employers and employees have a set of implied, unspoken ideas and expectations. Although neither side is aware of the contract, it exists beneath every interaction your staff has with your organization. Onboarding training allows you to create an agreement based on mutual trust and open communication.

The psychological contract specifies that employees will complete their tasks and that the corporation will reward them with compensation, recognition, and the chance for growth. However, the contract has many more levels that have been added over time, including trust, honesty, and back-and-forth communication. A solid psychological contract serves as the foundation for an engaged, loyal staff.

Provide Psychological Safety To Employees

When employees are confident they can take risks, ask questions, and offer feedback without feeling embarrassed, degraded, or worried about their careers, they feel psychologically at ease. Many business psychologists believe that psychological safety is an essential attribute of a high-performing team because it allows team members to think effectively and take calculated risks without fear of repercussions if they make a mistake.

New employees are generally insecure about their position in a firm. They are unfamiliar with the company culture and lack confidence in their role. However, if they feel psychologically comfortable, they will learn more effectively.


All the concepts covered above can help you create a better onboarding program and relationship with your new hires, encouraging them to stick around longer and contribute more significantly to the company. But it does not stop there. As you move past the onboarding phase and into a longer term of engagement with your employees, keep using these similar concepts in areas like employee training, one-on-ones, and group projects.