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6 psychology principles to improve employee onboarding

The psychology of persuasion has been applied to sales and marketing for decades to drive revenue and customer loyalty. Why not apply it to the workplace for the benefit of both employer and employee?  The 6 actionable principles below, rooted in science and psychology, can create a better organizational culture and a healthier and more productive workforce when applied during new employee onboarding.

6 actionable psychology principles to improve employee onboarding

psychology principles to improve employee onboarding

The six principles of persuasion here originated in Dr. Robert B. Cialdini’s book titled ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’. By combining Dr. Cialdini’s work with our knowledge about the discipline of onboarding, we have created simple and actionable ways to incorporate these principles into your onboarding process.

1. Reciprocity

 If you give something to someone, it’s highly likely this gesture will be reciprocated. It follows that companies that exceed employee expectations are more likely to have employees that want to do the same. For example, the small cost of cake and balloons on a new hire’s first day has the potential to become a worthy investment.

2. Scarcity

If people feel seen, valued, and special they will do more for the company. Mentioning how many people applied for their job is one way of pointing out to employees that they are special and a cut above the rest.

3. Authority

People want to comply with those that have authority. A personal welcome video from the CEO to each new employee is far more impactful than reading the same in a generic e-mail. This video can set the expectations, share the company mission, and explain the culture with far more persuasive power. Learn more about actions that can increase perceived authority before the new hire’s first day – click here.

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4. Consistency

People want to follow through with their own commitments. For example, one recent study found that an 18% reduction in missed appointments at health centers could be achieved simply by asking the patients, rather than the staff, to write down future appointment details. Communicating by presenting choices is a strategic way to train employees to apply logical and rational behaviors while empowering them as individuals.

5. Liking

People prefer to say yes to people they like, respect, and admire. Creating a workforce that likes their employer starts with a WOW first impression and welcome. It sets the tone for the rest of the employee life cycle. Liking will come naturally with an excellent onboarding process that is based on the 6 C’s framework. Read more here.

6. Consensus/social proof

When people feel uncertain about something they look to others. In the employee onboarding, process companies should use statistics and data or personal stories from the best-in-class parts of the organization to set the standard no matter where in the organization the employees are hired. Sharing positive client stories is another helpful way of showing social proof.

The role of technology to improve employee onboarding

All of these same principles that persuade and motivate employees can be set into action with onboarding software.  The right software solution gets everyone engaged in the process, and it also saves time on repetitive tasks with automation.

Click here to read “How automation fuels onboarding best practices and fast tracks business success”. Remember these 6 principles are grounded in the psychology of persuasion and it won’t be hard to see them at play in the article.

Interested in further reading on the power of persuasion? Read our blog about the ‘Nudge Theory’ here.

Book a 15-minute meeting with our onboarding experts and learn how you can take your employee onboarding to the next level!