Best Practices

Onboarding vs. On the Job Training

Christopher Tuttle

When it comes to hiring new reps, companies can approach the training process in two different ways: throwing the reps to the wolves or creating a learning environment through an onboarding experience. Sure there is an initial investment with onboarding, but the return on investment on prepared sales reps far exceeds the initial cost.

Before coming to work at XANT, I worked at a company where new hires were treated completely differently. Immediately I was put to work without any training whatsoever. I was nervous, afraid of making mistakes, and stressed about what I was allowed to do and what, exactly, I had to do. I was not even entirely sure what the company did for their clients (never a good thing for a new sales rep!) I remember I made mistakes constantly, and although I tried to laugh it off, I cringed as the errors piled up as my nerves got the best of me. Overall, it took probably three months before I felt confident in performing my job responsibilities.

My experience of a structured onboarding was a night and day difference. For almost two weeks I was immersed in the company culture, company processes, and most importantly the company products such as the power dialer and lead tracking software. We were encouraged to ask questions and experiment with company products in a controlled environment to ensure understanding. For the company, it was well worth the time and resources to teach us for a couple of weeks before making our first sales. We were able to start our jobs with fewer hiccups and the ability to take over responsibilities with greater amounts of confidence.

Below is a pro/con list of each training technique.

On The Job:
Cons:

  • High stress levels as new hires figure things out
  • More mistakes, possibly costly
  • Less confidence and understanding

Pros:

  • Employees working immediately
  • Hands on experience
  • No money spent on training

Orientation or Onboarding
Cons:

  • Employees delayed in being placed in their hired positions
  • Cost of Training
  • Time spent training them

Pros:

  • Better understanding of products and the company
  • Less initial stress and mistakes made
  • New hires being able to ‘hit the ground running’ when placed into position

Over all, with my personal experience, both types of training have their benefits and drawbacks, but after personal experience as a new hire I can say with firsthand knowledge that onboarding is the way to go.

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