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Aug 15, 2022

Employee training vs. onboarding: the key differences

Employee training vs onboarding: similar but not the same. This article dives into the difference between the two, as well why the play a crucial role with new hires.

Image of a group of people sitting around a table and chatting

Both onboarding and training are vital to retain employees. Therefore, it's important to engage your employees from the very start, so you can induct them into your company culture effectively. The stakes are high; 33% of employees will seek new opportunities at other companies if they feel unchallenged or stagnate in their work. 

But if you invest in engaging onboarding and training? Well, highly engaged businesses achieve 59% less employee turnover than those without a focus on engagement. 

This article will explain the difference between onboarding training and developmental training, and how to create an effective onboarding program to set employees up for success.


Employee onboarding vs. employee training

So what's the difference between the two? While it's easy to assume they are the same thing, there is a key distinction.

Onboarding is the initial learning phase for new hires. This is everything from their first day until a couple of months into their role (depending on how long and comprehensive the onboarding program is). 

In the onboarding process, you will inform hires about their role in the company; including how they should fit in with their team members. To achieve this, an effective onboarding program is a primer for key aspects of the company, including values, goals, and overall strategy. This is a vital part of welcoming your new hire. 

A great employee onboarding experience is important to ensure new employees are equipped for their job and the wider work environment. 


A smooth onboarding and training experience is important, for:

Employees feel 18x more engaged and committed to their organization if they are onboarded successfully.


An employee training program is a necessary part of onboarding, but training is relevant for a hire's entire career. For on-the-job training is vital for the ongoing productivity and skill development of your employees. Any employee should undertake training, whether they have been at your company for one year, or 20 years. Career-long training doubles productivity, setting employees up for success.

In fact, you should really be encouraging your employees to continuously develop. Otherwise, you can say goodbye to your most competent employees and hello to costly and time-consuming rehiring. Regular employee churn stops the development of a unique company culture, as talent has little desire to express themselves.

Training helps educate and nurture your employees to ensure they are performing at their best, while having fun at the same time. Therefore, training is an efficient means of engaging employees, while increasing their self-efficacy, workplace satisfaction, and long term personal development.


Related - VIDEO: Make employee onboarding exciting with gamification


Timeline of an onboarding program

While employee training is a continuous activity, onboarding has a defined time period. But how long should this period last? Only 37% of companies extend their onboarding program beyond the first month, but you should consider an onboarding program that lasts at least three months to ensure the best onboarding for your new hires. 

Why? Well, organizations with longer onboarding programs will see their employees gain full proficiency 34% faster than those with shorter onboarding programs.

After their onboarding, it's time to get your employees started with their continuous training to really grow and develop your new hires. 



Gamified Learning in an onboarding program 

So, you've set up a comprehensive onboarding program alongside a continuously accessible workplace training platform. But how do you get staff to start using it? With gamification.

For gamified learning is proven to be both more motivating and more interesting than other learning systems.

What exactly is gamification? Think about video games. More specifically, the reward systems found within videogames, such as point scoring, competing against others, and adding achievements to your profile. 

The Relesys platform  is built for gamification, by offering multiple ways for app users to gain points such as logging in, reading content, and engaging on the social wall. Earned points are tallied into a high score board, encouraging participation and healthy competition between employees and departments - while giving managers a full overview of employee progress. This is great for tracking how much of your employee handbook your hires genuinely studied. 

Not only that, but the platform also has achievement badges for users to earn, which are then displayed on their personal profiles and are visible to all employees.

When training, onboarding, and personal development is fun and motivating, learning outcomes are both more effective and more impacful. Gamification is thus vital for driving the interaction and engagement of your employees, and in adding an extra level of fun for all app users.


Related: The double standards on employee onboarding


Did you know that 35% of companies have no formal onboarding program?


It should be clear by now that this statistic represents a real problem. We've already spoken about how employees will search for new opportunities if they do not feel appropriately onboarded. This is to say nothing of the organizational costs of skipping onboarding - for rehiring costs range between 100% and 300% of a replaced employee’s salary.

The Relesys Training Pro solution addresses this problem head-on, by enabling you to create an engaging yet informative onboarding using your own digital platform. By utilizing a digital solution, your employees can access onboarding and training right from their own mobile phones, and start training whenever it suits them best. 


Related: Discover how Gina Tricot revolutionized their onboarding with their digital app.

Leah is Relesys's eternally-organized Marketing Campaign Manager. She sometimes moonlights as a globetrotting amateur photographer.

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