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Onboarding vs. Training: What's the Difference

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Onboarding vs. Training: What's the Difference

It's no secret that starting a new job can be both exhilarating and daunting for the employer and the employee, especially during the first 90 days when expectations are being established. Onboarding and training during this time are crucial to the success of both the employee and the company. 

While the terms onboarding and training are used interchangeably, they are actually quite different. 

The onboarding process can make or break a new hire since it affects employee satisfaction and outcomes as the employee integrates into the organization. According to Gallup, only 12% of employees say their company did a good job onboarding! This is a frightening statistic especially since onboarding is one of the main factors that determine the longevity of an employee at a company. 

Training, on the other hand, gives new employees detailed instruction as to the job duties they will be expected to perform while working for the company. This can help them prepare and settle into the workflow and their daily responsibilities.

Even though companies know it’s important to have onboarding and training, many don’t understand how important it is to have both and to differentiate them. 

That’s why so many companies choose to partner with Creatives On Call for their onboarding and training needs.  We provide the experts you need to accelerate your organization’s onboarding and training processes so that you can experience the advantages and benefits of onboarding and training done right.

Now let’s take a closer look at how onboarding and training differ and how you can implement an effective onboarding and training system within your own company. 

What’s Employee Onboarding?

Onboarding is the start of the employment contract. This is the time to fulfill those recruitment promises and set the tone for job satisfaction. Excellent employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%

Onboarding is so much more than “here is where you can get coffee every morning.” 

Onboarding is a foundational part of an employee's experience. This is where they learn about the organization’s culture and corporate structure. They will also meet with coworkers and direct managers, and learn about the company’s goals. 

Depending on the organization’s structure, onboarding can take place over the first week or extend for a couple of months. However long the onboarding process is, the main goal is to ensure the employee’s success by providing a foundation of skills they need to succeed in their new role. 

Onboarding is usually conducted by a human resources (HR) team or some kind of HR professional. A well-established and defined onboarding process is essential to both the organization’s success and the employee’s success. 

Onboarding should focus on these three things:

  1. Provide an introduction to the company’s values, administrative procedures, and job duties the new employee will be expected to follow and perform as part of their employment contract, usually in the form of HR paperwork.
  2. Foster meaningful relationships among both their peers and their direct managers.
  3. Encourage continuous learning among new hires and show them where they can contribute.


Main Purpose of Onboarding

The most important part of a successful onboarding process is to be fully transparent. Start by explaining the company’s values and the work environment so that you’re both on the same page. 

This is also the time to allow the new hire to meet coworkers and develop a relationship with them. Employees are looking for working relationships where they will feel supported, included, and most importantly, respected. 

The onboarding process sets the tone for the entirety of the employee's time at the company, especially during the first 90 days. In a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, when support levels were high from coworkers and direct managers, new hires had more positive attitudes about their jobs and worked harder. When support and direction were not exhibited, those employees didn’t last more than 4 months! 

Why Is Onboarding Important for New Employees?

Onboarding is important for new employees because it helps to acclimate them to their new role, the company’s values, and how the employee can be successful in their new role. Once the job offer has been accepted, there should be an immediate structured process to welcome the new hire into the organization and set them up for success.

From the start of the first week, an employee should know what it takes to be successful at the company and how that success is measured. If you want to create a culture where employees feel happy, inspired, and engaged, a good place to start is with an organized onboarding process. 

At Creatives On Call, we offer our clients proven, streamlined processes that expedite the onboarding process, which saves you time and money while exponentially increasing employee retention and satisfaction rates! 

What's Employee Training?

Employee training is the operational process of the job. To put it simply, this is the time to uphold those promises made during the interview process and to teach an employee how to do their job. 

During this time, they will be trained on the job duties and how it relates to the organization’s success. They will learn about the organization’s procedures, work environment, and how to be productive quickly in their new role. 

For the first few weeks, new employees will be in a state of continuous learning as they adjust to their new roles. 

The purpose of training should focus on these four things:

  1. Improve the employee's level of awareness.
  2. Improve the employee's set of skills and develop new ones. 
  3. Increase the employee's motivation to perform their job duties well.
  4. Increase the employee's overall job productivity and performance. 

Main Purpose of Employee Training

The main purpose of training is to set up both the organization and the employee for success. 

Ninety-two percent of employees who are given a well-thought-out training program report that it positively impacts their job engagement. Furthermore, 94% of employees say they would stay with a firm longer if they had more learning and development opportunities.

Training is a continuous learning process that should encompass the company’s goals and directly relate to the expectations discussed during the interview process. This allows employers to directly explain the knowledge and skills they require employees to have and keeps everyone on the same page. 

Plus, training provides employers the opportunity to develop new skills among employees and provide feedback on already existing skills to further enhance employee capabilities. 

Training also gives employees the opportunity to improve knowledge and prepare themselves for higher responsibilities, all at their own pace and with the development plans of the organization in mind. 

As you can see, training can provide numerous benefits to both the organization and the employee. 

This is why at Creatives On Call, we partner with the world’s leading companies to provide their employees with a phenomenal training experience that will make them feel excited, engaged, and motivated while exceeding your expectations and improving employee retention and acquisition. 

Which Is More Important: Training or Onboarding?

Here at Creatives On Call, we believe onboarding and training are both equally important. Onboarding is an introduction to unique company culture and work ethics, while training prepares employees to perform the job. 

To achieve employee retention and ensure success among new employees, a company needs to employ successful onboarding and training processes that are separate from each other. 

How to Design Effective Training and Onboarding Processes?


  • Immerse employees into your culture from day one. 
  • Find creative ways to build relationships, especially among remote employees because they can feel disconnected and isolated if they don’t know who they can talk to. Assign each new employee an orientation buddy who will introduce them and be the fallback person they can turn to when they have questions.  Creatives On Call can help you make this process streamlined and stress-free by building and creating the assets and resources your company needs to set up your employees for success on day one, and making sure they feel welcomed, connected, and comfortable in their new position.
  • Find ways to help employees adjust, such as with a physical gift like a welcome basket or even a welcome lunch to help ease the transition.
  • Make employees feel that their contributions matter! 
  • Check on new employees regularly, even beyond the first few weeks. Use this time to gauge how they are acclimating and determine long-term goals. Meet with them regularly, at least once a week, to ensure new hires feel job satisfaction and an ability to meet their goals. 


  • Use model employees to mentor and train new employees to set them up for success within the company.
  • Set short-term goals for new hires to meet and offer real, applicable feedback on what they did and didn’t do to meet those goals.
  • Empower employees to be independent and make decisions autonomously from the start. Not only is this an effective way to engage employees from the get-go, but it allows them to contribute to the corporate culture and even improve it.
  • Develop soft skills specifically those relating to leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management. By investing in these skills, you’re signaling to employees that you’re invested in their growth and success at the company, and not how fast they can complete a project. At Creatives On Call, we have an amazing team of Instructional Designers who can help you with this. 
  • Integrate learning as the core of an employee experience with training modules that provide an interactive experience that not only keeps them engaged but also enables them to grow without necessarily requiring a change in position. Creatives On Call can provide your employees with a completely comprehensive and dynamic training program that implements four fundamental steps to help your company drive performance and increase employee engagement!  

The Bottom Line

Onboarding and training are both incredibly important in terms of employee satisfaction, retention, and organizational success. While the terms are used interchangeably, it’s important to differentiate between the two and have different organizational systems in place for both onboarding and training if you want to ensure employee success at your company. 

Partnering with experts from Creatives On Call will make the onboarding and training processes completely stress-free for you! We use innovative tools and exciting programs that keep your employees engaged and performing their best, while saving you time and money and mitigating risk. 

For more information and to connect with Creatives On Call, see more about onboarding and training program creation and learning strategies here.

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