Why the Onboarding Process and Training Are NOT the Same

The probationary period, introductory period, onboarding, whatever you decide to call it, it’s a crucial phase for your new hires. As a leader, you must reinforce the recruiting reputation - the employer brand - you’ve built. The onboarding process is the perfect time to do so. It’s not just training employees on a new role, it’s not simply a time for learning responsibilities of the position… it’s the point at which you immerse them in company culture, values, mission and fundamental practices. What too many people don’t understand is the difference between onboarding and training, because they are not the same thing.


Onboarding is the bigger picture

The entirety of the onboarding process is the point in the new hire’s career that you build a bond between the organization and the employee. Developing this support system early on solidifies the work ethic you’ve found in quality candidates and creates a positive working environment. Without this buttress of company ethics behind the training, it’s much harder for your new hires to relate to the organization on a fundamental level. The Aberdeen Group noted some suggestions for a better onboarding program in their annual onboarding update:

  • Ensure hiring managers have the tools and resources to engage new staff
  • Communicate the organization’s core values and missions
  • Integrate onboarding with a training program
  • Create connections between new hires and colleagues


Training is About the Specifics

Onboarding engrosses new employees in the ideals of the organization, as explained above. While training is in fact a piece of that onboarding, true onboarding is the bigger scope of the first 90 days. Although there is an undeniable correlation between onboarding and training, you need to understand that specificity of learning job responsibilities sets training apart from onboarding. Michel Falcon, Founder of the Experience Academy, noted:

Employee onboarding is the design of what your employees feel, see and hear after they have been hired. Often, companies confuse onboarding with training. While training does have a role within the onboarding it doesn’t represent the entire scope of the process.”


You do need both

Integrating training into the onboarding process - rather than making them two separate entities - introduces employees to their organization on a cultural and functional level creating a foundational connection between their work and the organization who has recently employed them. Moreover, it gives new hires a deeper insight into the why behind various company practices and policies. Without proper training, employees are left to figure out the work themselves; without onboarding, you’ll continue to see a problem with the revolving door effect at your organization. You need both. Maren Hogan, CEO at Red Branch Media, said:

“While companies are aware of the importance of onboarding and training, not many are aware of how important it is to have both. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably, leaving room for misconception of what is really wrong with a new hire’s first 90 days on the job."

Although these two terms, onboarding and training, are not interchangeable, they are inextricably linked in the struggle to engage employees in their work and the organization from the beginning of their employment. Set your new employees up for success with a robust onboarding program so they develop a link to the company. Even better, augment the onboarding program with training for the position to connect them to the position itself. Whether you choose to integrate training into the whole onboarding process is up to you, but you do need both.

What have you done to create a better onboarding program? Nothing? Get started with an employee onboarding software to streamline the onboarding process.




Cory Muir

Written by Cory Muir

Cory is responsible for Click Boarding’s product strategy that brings unique and valuable features to market that address a variety of client needs.

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