Difference Between Onboarding And Orientation | 4 mins read

The Differences Between Onboarding and Orientation

the differences between onboarding and orientation
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

Introduction to Onboarding vs Orientation

A staggering 50% of new hire employees leave their new job within the first year and half of employment. Understanding the difference between onboarding and orientation will help ensure both are performed in accordance with best practice guidelines.

What is Onboarding?

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Employee onboarding is defined as the system through which a new hire receives the training, information, and skills needed to perform their new role effectively. Human resource departments should facilitate an effective onboarding program that encourages both employee engagement and long term employee retention.

A formal onboarding may include the following-

  • Clarification of job responsibility and expectations
  • Interviews in accordance with company policy
  • Ensure new hire is a fit with the company culture
  • Processing of new hire documents by the human resource department
  • Customized employee training for each new role
  • Formal introduction to each relevant co-worker and team member
  • Requesting feedback from the new employee on how to improve job satisfaction and employee engagement

Employee onboarding must go beyond the first day or first week a new hire is on the job. Human resource professionals should develop an employee onboarding program that spans beyond the first month and can continue throughout their entire employment.

An effective onboarding process will not only clarify job responsibility but also will encourage long term employee engagement and bottom-line productivity.

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What is Orientation?

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Employee orientation is typically a one-time conference-style event that includes new hire employees from a variety of departments. The main goal of employee orientation is welcoming new employees and facilitating introductions with both important department co-workers and team member representatives.

There are many objectives that can be present in successful employee orientation, including-
Company culture introduction- Leaders traditionally launch the orientation with important information including long term objectives.

This introduction is a great place to discuss the business bottom line and employee engagement best practice techniques.

  1. Paperwork assistance- New hire employees are often flooded with a lot of paperwork to fill out and review. Ensure new employees have access to human resource department guidance and encourage question asking.
  2. Benefit introduction- A human resource team member should explain employee benefits. Ensure new employees understand timelines around certain benefits if certain benefits are not immediately accessible.
  3. Technology information- An IT professional should show new employees how to navigate any applicable workplace technology. Be prepared to offer employee training for more complicated software programs.
  4. Safety training- The safety of your new employee should be a day one priority. A safety professional who has extensive safety protocol knowledge should provide guided tours of any relevant workplace dangers or safety hazards.

How Do They Differ and Why Do They Both Matter?

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Many business professionals do not understand the distinction between employee onboarding and employee orientation. While employee onboarding is a continuous process, employee orientation is usually a one time condensed event. Onboarding new employees is a lengthy event sequence that includes the new employee orientation program.

Employee orientation focuses on introducing new employees to the company culture and provides company policy explanations. The orientation process typically occurs within the first week and usually on or before the first day of employment.

Even the most spread out and complex employee orientation processes are not longer than one week while there is virtually no time limit to how long a new employee onboarding program can proceed.

Effective onboarding goes deeper into specific job responsibility expectations and requirements than an employee orientation does. Formal onboarding is used for welcoming new employees to their role and continually checking in with their long term progress.

Effective onboarding is crucial to ensure new hire employees are invested in fulfilling not only their job description but improving long term productivity.

While orientation focuses on how a new hire fits into the company, onboarding focuses on their role within their specific department. Effective onboarding is personalized while employee orientation is much broader.

New employee orientation is focused on getting a new hire ready for training while the onboarding process focuses on long term employee engagement and bottom-line profitability.

Many business professionals wrongly assume that because there is an employee onboarding process in place that they do not need to create new employee orientation programs. However, an effective onboarding program includes both employee onboarding and employee orientation.

When used together correctly employee orientation and an effective onboarding program can increase job satisfaction and organizational commitment. While new employee orientation is a crucial part of welcoming new employees, it is only one part of an effective employee onboarding program.

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