At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between onboarding and training. Both involve sharing information with employees, particularly new ones, to help them perform their job better and meet goals. However, to really understand the difference between onboarding and training, we need to take a brief detour to think about cake.
Cake and Sugar
First things first, cake is delicious. Of course, a cake is made by combining a particular set of ingredients, some of which are tasty on their own, and some of which are not so much. One of those tastier ingredients is sugar, which is found in many cake recipes to make the cake both delicious and moist. On its own, sugar is still tasty, but few people sit and eat spoonfuls of it by itself. But combine it with the right additional ingredients, and you have a dessert fit for a celebration.
Returning to the topic of onboarding and training, there is much in common between them and our cake and sugar. Training your employees is important and necessary to help them perform their jobs successfully, efficiently, and safely. Many companies provide job training for new employees and then stop there. Just like eating a spoonful of sugar, this is a viable option, but like the sugar, training works best when combined with a few additional elements.
Onboarding and Training
Onboarding, then, is like a delicious cake. One of the most important ingredients is employee training, but that needs to be supplemented by additional features. For one, onboarding also includes introducing employees to the company, its mission, and its goals. This means discussing company culture and expectations, not just job requirements. Moreover, onboarding includes regular evaluation and checking in with the employee, ensuring that he or she is performing all required tasks without issue. This provides feedback to help the employee grow beyond simply knowing how to do the job.
Onboarding and training, then, have much in common with the cake and sugar. Just as sugar is tasty by itself, training by itself is important to having a productive employee. However, in order to maximize that employee’s success, the company needs to combine the simple ingredient of training with other elements to help them understand their role within the organization and how they task plays into the larger vision and mission.
So, when you are welcoming a new employee to your company and trying to decide between training and onboarding, remember: don’t just give them a cup of sugar. Give them a delicious, moist cake.