Learn the differences between onboarding and training in manufacturing, their benefits, and how to improve them with continuous learning.

Onboarding and training are essential components of integrating new employees into a manufacturing environment. Research by Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Additionally, research from NAM and The Manufacturing Institute has found that manufacturing organizations invest an average of 51.4 hours per employee in training and are increasing overall investment in training by an average of 60% in response to the growing skilled labor crisis.

onboarding vs training in manufacturing

Onboarding and training are two key components of a skilled workforce that, while similar, serve different purposes and cover distinct aspects of the employment process.

Both processes are crucial, as onboarding ensures that employees understand the organization’s broader context, and training ensures that they have the expertise to contribute to the manufacturing processes and meet quality and safety standards.

A successful combination of effective onboarding and comprehensive training can lead to more engaged, skilled, and productive employees in the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, according to Gallup, only 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their role after their onboarding experience.

Read below to learn more about the differences between onboarding and training in manufacturing, why they are both critical to manufacturing success, the benefits of improving them, and how continuous learning strategies coupled with connected worker solutions can improve both and deliver impressive results.

Breakdown of Onboarding and Training Differences

Onboarding in manufacturing is about orienting new hires to the company as a whole, while training is about equipping them with the specific skills and knowledge needed to perform their job functions effectively. Below a breakdown of the differences between onboarding and training in a manufacturing setting:


  • Purpose: Onboarding integrates a new employee into the organization and its culture. It aims to familiarize employees with the company, its policies and procedures, and their roles within the organization.
  • Focus: Onboarding focuses on introducing employees to the broader aspects of the company, such as its mission, values, and culture, as well as administrative and safety procedures.
  • Duration: Onboarding is typically a short-term process, often lasting a few days, but could extend to a few months in certain manufacturing environments.
  • Components: It may include activities like completing paperwork, understanding company policies, meeting the team, plant/site safety, and familiarizing a new hire with the physical workplace.


  • Purpose: Training in manufacturing is a more specific and in-depth process that imparts the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to perform the job effectively. It is task-oriented and aimed at ensuring that employees can carry out their roles proficiently.
  • Focus: Training focuses on the technical aspects of the job, safety protocols, equipment operation, quality standards, and other job-specific skills.
  • Duration: Training is an ongoing process and may vary in duration depending on the complexity of the role and the employee’s experience level.
  • Components: Training tends to include hands-on instruction, demonstrations, practice exercises, and assessments to ensure that employees gain the necessary skills and knowledge.
Pro Tip

Both initial onboarding and ongoing training can be implemented with mobile learning solutions that leverage connected worker technology and AI to provide workers with bite-sized, on-demand training modules that they can access on smartphones or tablets. These modules can be developed with customized learning paths that are focused on the type of tasks and work employees are doing on the factory floor.


Why are training and onboarding important to manufacturing success

Onboarding and training are crucial to manufacturing success for several reasons including safety, compliance, quality, and more. A well-trained manufacturing workforce that has a deep understanding of company policies, its mission, and overall values drives successful initiatives by producing quality products, complying with both industry-wide and company-specific standards, and meeting production goals in a manner that is both safe and efficient.

The manufacturing industry is subject to numerous regulations related to safety, environmental practices, and product quality. Proper training ensures that employees are aware of and adhere to these regulations, reducing the risk of compliance violations and a well-structured onboarding program leads to lower turnover rates and a more effective and cohesive workforce, ultimately contributing to manufacturing success.

In summary, these two tools are essential in manufacturing for setting the stage for employee success and overall organizational success. Onboarding aligns new employees with the company’s culture, policies, and expectations, enhances their safety awareness, and fosters engagement and productivity, while training plays a pivotal role in contributing to manufacturing success by equipping employees with the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to perform their roles effectively.

What are the benefits of improving training and onboarding in manufacturing

Improving manufacturing employee onboarding and training offers several advantages, benefiting both the company and its employees. Comprehensive onboarding makes new hires feel connected to the company’s culture and values, while ongoing training can offer growth and development opportunities, leading to increased employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Companies with a skilled, well-trained workforce are more competitive in the marketplace, as they can produce higher-quality products at a lower cost and adapt to industry changes more effectively.

Training and development opportunities are often cited as a key factor in employee satisfaction. When employees feel that their skills are being enhanced and their careers are advancing, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

How continuous learning and connected worker solutions improve training and onboarding in manufacturing

Continuous learning and connected worker solutions can significantly enhance training and onboarding in manufacturing by providing more dynamic, effective, and adaptable approaches.

By incorporating continuous learning and connected worker solutions into the these processes, manufacturing companies can create more efficient, engaging, and rewarding experiences for employees. This not only accelerates the integration of new employees but also supports ongoing skill development and knowledge retention once on the job, ultimately improving productivity and the overall success of the organization.

connected worker as part of connected enterprise

Augmentir’s AI-based connected worker solution is being leveraged by manufacturing leaders to deliver continuous learning and development tools to optimize onboarding training for a rapidly changing and diverse workforce. Our innovative, smart connected worker suite is transforming how manufacturing organizations hire, onboard, train, and deliver on-the-job guidance and support.


digital skills management in a paperless factory

Schedule a live demo today to learn how our smart, connected worker solutions, AI-driven insights, and digital skills management are optimizing training and onboarding programs, tracking individual and team progress, and delivering targeted training and upskilling.


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Augmentir’s take on the trending Workforce Institute’s staggering survey numbers.

Employee onboarding is crucial to any organization. It’s even more important in manufacturing, where workers have to understand complex operating procedures and accomplish tasks in a timely manner.

An employee’s first impression of a workplace can set the tone for their entire experience with the company. An engaging and informative onboarding process can improve job performance by setting up workers for success.

Plus, an employee is more likely to speak highly of the business they work for if they see themselves as a valuable member of the team.

If want to improve your manufacturing employee onboarding process, explore this article that goes over the following:

What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process in which new hires are integrated into a company. It involves training activities, a new-hire orientation, and learning about the business’s structure, culture, mission and values.

Finding the right candidate for a position is the first step to building a successful team. Onboarding that new employee is the most important next step. Done right, this process can set the precedent for a productive, content and even excited worker.

The two main goals of the first day of onboarding should be to set clear employee expectations and introduce their objectives. Workers should know what their job duties and responsibilities are from the get-go.

How is onboarding different from employee orientation?

Onboarding is often confused with employee orientation. Orientation usually involves completing necessary paperwork, while the onboarding process is comprehensive and can last for months.

Employee orientation is a one-time event. Its purpose is to welcome new hires to a company and introduce a checklist of mandatory tasks to complete such as filling out forms.

Employee onboarding, meanwhile, consists of completing a series of activities, including orientation. It includes training over a longer period of time to help workers learn more about their roles, their teams and how their jobs relate to overarching company goals.

Both onboarding and orientation are critical aspects of introducing employees to their new work environment. They also complement each other in improving employee engagement.

How to effectively onboard new hires

Investing time in your workers is one of the best ways to retain employees and boost productivity.

A new hire’s first few weeks are some of the most important in setting up expectations and building their personal investment in your company.

Go above and beyond and you’ll reap the benefits. Overlook the onboarding experience and you could have unsatisfied employees.

Here are five ways to effectively onboard new hires:

Step 1: Create a worker playbook.

Start by giving a general overview of your business, including your mission, values and perks. Some things to include are:

  • Your customers and stakeholders
  • Work culture and expectations
  • Team members/employees
  • What company success and growth look like

Step 2: Set 90-day goals.

Giving new hires direction and actionable items from the start is important. Identify some goals to work towards to give employees the confidence to excel in the company.

Be sure to provide any resources they will need and connect employees with other workers who can help them. Having a clear plan will make it easier to track goals and collaborate with workers along the way.

Step 3: Set a time to meet and provide feedback.

Set aside time to meet with new hires to provide feedback and ask how they are doing. This can foster connectedness and engagement between you and your employee.

This also gives you the opportunity to learn more about your workers and address any concerns they may have.

It also lets you elicit employee observations of the company and its processes, which can be insightful. A new hire may offer ideas that people invested in the current paradigm wouldn’t think of.

Step 4: Outline schedule and job duties.

It’s crucial to set consistent work schedules to ensure productivity. Loose or frequently changing schedules can lead new hires to think your organization is disorganized.

Further, outlining job duties (such as required skills) can also give employees a sense of direction and ensure they have plenty to work on.

Consider digitizing your onboarding and training program to help accelerate the overall onboarding schedule and get your employees productive faster, and build a program that incorporates the following:

  • Job expectations
  • Performance evaluation
  • Role shadowing
  • Training opportunities
  • HR meetings/employee documentation
  • Compliance training
  • Ongoing assessment through quizzing

In time, new hires will have a better idea of their workload and how to create and execute their own daily task lists.

Step 5: Set up continuous learning opportunities.

The best results from onboarding come months after the process is over. That’s because setting up continuous employee learning opportunities fosters professional development.

A worker can take everything that they learned from the onboarding process and apply it to their day-to-day tasks. Give workers the support and guidance they need, at the moment of need, whether it’s immediate access to a digital troubleshooting guide, or connecting virtually with a subject matter expert. Delivering personalized work procedures for every worker allows for continuous learning and growth.

Why onboarding is important in manufacturing

Creating effective onboarding programs can boost employee engagement and create a manufacturing workforce that excels in industry-related skills.

Effective onboarding has also been shown to:

  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Cultivate existing and new skills
  • Integrate workers more quickly
  • Foster long-term employee satisfaction
  • Create the foundation for workforce development

Optimizing onboarding with connected worker technology

Many manufacturing companies are using modern connected worker technology to transform and optimize how they hire, onboard, train, and deliver on-the-job guidance and support. AI-based connected worker software provides a data-driven approach that helps train, guide, and support today’s dynamic workforces by combining digital work instructions, remote collaboration, and advanced on-the-job training capabilities.

As workers become more connected, manufacturers have access to a new rich source of activity, execution, and tribal data, and with proper digital tools can gain insights into areas where the largest improvement opportunities exist. Today’s workers embrace change and expect technology, support and modern tools to help them do their jobs.

Augmentir’s AI-based connected worker solution delivers continuous learning and development tools to optimize onboarding training for a rapidly changing and diverse workforce.

Built-in reporting for skills management and job proficiency allows you to accurately track and manage skills, certifications, and qualifications for your team. AI-based analytics help you better understand your workforce and make informed workforce development decisions.

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Find out how our software can make it easier to onboard new employees and set them up for success. Contact us today to arrange a demo.