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Is Your Onboarding Program Truly Meeting the Needs Of Your New Hires?

Structuring your onboarding program is often a leading task for learning program leaders. You want to ensure that you cover company information, processes, procedures, compliance, and many other aspects of your organization to ensure your new hires can get started in their roles. Trying to figure out the order and timeline of onboarding takes a keen awareness of the needs of the business and the needs of your new hires.

This is where psychology and learning meet. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of the main human motivational theories in psychology. It’s built on the idea that an individual's motivation is based on the level of need in which they currently reside. There are 5 levels of needs, each level must be met in order to progress to the highest level. The 5 levels are:

1. Physiological Needs

2. Safety Needs

3. Love and Understanding

4. Esteem

5. Self-Actualization

All humans start with Physiological needs (food, shelter, etc.) and once the needs of that level have been met, an individual can move on to the next level. In this case, the next level would be Safety needs.

What does this have to do with new hire onboarding?


Motivational Needs & Onboarding

When we translate the traditional hierarchy of needs into an Onboarding Hierarchy of needs, we can visualize how our programs should be mapped.

Meeting the motivational needs of new hires during those early days will help to accelerate them through the onboarding process.

When you begin to plan out those initial days, weeks, and months for new hires, think of how each level of need is going to be met for your new hire.

Some of the planning can be part of pre-boarding, the phase of onboarding preparation that starts before the new hire's first day. This may include ordering a computer and accessories, verifying their team and manager, or creating login credentials to key systems. There are also items in the other levels that can be done during pre-boarding like creating an onboarding checklist, pre-scheduling their first 1:1, or assigning computer-based training.

Collaborating with Internal Partners

You also want to make sure that internal business partners are aligned with the onboarding program to ensure a smooth onboarding journey for your new hires. This means meeting with HR, Operations, Leadership, and any other internal partner that your new hire may engage with during their first 90 days. Set clear expectations and align on responsibilities (See Why RACIs are so important to Sales Onboarding).

Here's an example - If it is the responsibility of the IT team to order laptops and provide system access, you'll want to solidify the timeline of when this happens and who is responsible.


Mapping out an onboarding plan that is centered on your new hires' needs will be a win for everyone involved.

Without acknowledging the needs of our new hires, you take the risk of creating a disengaged workforce. One where turnover is high, morale is low, and culture is an anomaly.

It's worth the time to make sure each level of motivational need is met to ensure the best onboarding experience for your new hires and your team.


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