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Quick Tips: Orientation Isn't Onboarding



As we navigate the road to success, there is a need to unravel the difference between orientation and onboarding in Retail Automotive.


Understanding that in the dealership world this is one of the worst handle aspects of the hiring process. For the last thirty years I have seen every iteration of it from the truly obscene to the incredibly amazing. What is most important that we engage at some level. So… let’s look into both.


Orientation vs. Onboarding: Two terms often used interchangeably, but let's put the brakes on that misconception!


Orientation: Think of it as the roadmap to your new workplace. It's the initial pit stop where you get acquainted with the company's culture, values, and basic procedures.


Onboarding: Buckle up, because onboarding is the thrilling journey that follows orientation! It's not just about learning the ropes; it's about immersing yourself in the company's DNA. From product knowledge to customer interactions, onboarding is the turbo boost that propels you into peak performance.


Now we have a brief understanding let’s delve a little further…


Orientation: Building the Foundation Orientation serves as the compass that sets the direction for new hires. In the fast-paced world of Retail Automotive, a solid orientation program ensures that every team member understands the brand ethos, company mission, and the unique selling propositions that distinguish the dealership. This is the pit stop where newcomers absorb the company culture, get acquainted with their colleagues, and grasp the basics of their roles. From the history of the dealership to the intricacies of customer service, orientation lays the groundwork for a successful journey.


Onboarding: Accelerating Performance Onboarding, on the other hand, is the turbo boost that propels employees into peak performance. In Retail Automotive, product knowledge is paramount. Onboarding doesn't just cover the technical specifications of the latest models but dives deep into the stories behind them, creating brand ambassadors out of employees. Moreover, it's the phase where customer-centric skills are honed — from effective communication to active listening, building trust, and handling customer objections. Onboarding ensures that every team member is not just equipped with technical prowess but possesses the soft skills needed for a personalized customer experience.


Why it Matters in Retail Automotive: The Driving Force of Success


  • Product Proficiency: In an industry driven by innovation, onboarding guarantees that staff can navigate the intricacies of the latest automotive technologies, ensuring customers receive expert guidance.

  • Customer Connection: Beyond transactions, onboarding emphasizes the art of relationship-building. Understanding customer needs and preferences becomes as important as knowing the horsepower and torque of a vehicle.

  • Process Precision: From financing options to service schedules, a well-structured onboarding process streamlines workflows, reducing errors and enhancing overall efficiency.

  • Team Unity: The automotive sales journey is rarely a solo drive. Onboarding fosters a sense of camaraderie among team members, promoting collaboration and teamwork.


Strategies for Effectiveness


  • Customized Training: Recognize that every role in a dealership is unique. Tailoring onboarding experiences to specific job functions ensures that employees gain the specialized knowledge required for their roles.

  • Interactive Learning: Incorporate hands-on experiences, workshops, and simulations. In a Retail Automotive setting, this could involve practical sessions on vehicle features, test drive simulations, and customer interaction scenarios.

  • Feedback Loops: Establish a continuous feedback mechanism. Regularly seeking input from employees allows for the refinement of onboarding processes based on real-world experiences, ultimately enhancing their effectiveness.


The success of the dealership hinges on recognizing the distinct roles of orientation and onboarding. While orientation lays the groundwork, onboarding propels employees into a high-performance trajectory. Let's accelerate towards excellence in Retail Automotive by recognizing the nuanced power of orientation and onboarding while refining these crucial processes.

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