New Employee Orientation vs New Employee Onboarding; Why Your Organisation Needs Both

06 July 2022 | 6 Minute
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New Employee Orientation vs New Employee Onboarding; Why Your Organisation Needs Both

‘If onboarding represents an entire pie, orientation is but one slice of that pie.’ Training Industry.

Do you know your employee orientation from your employee onboarding process, and if so, how do you ensure that your orientation does the best job of welcoming your new starters? 

While it's important that as an organisation, you get your orientation organised and it's communicated to new starters before their first day, a successful employe  orientation programme requires more than good administration; it needs to be people-focused and strategic.

Especially when it’s reported that only 12% of employees said their organisations do a good job of onboarding, and only one in five said their recent onboarding experience was poor or they didn’t even receive onboarding!

You need to do both well and ensure they complement each other.


Is The New Starter Induction The Same As The Orientation?

Although the induction and the orientation do overlap, often the orientation is a longer and more formal process that occurs over time to enable new starters to adjust to their role, team, organisation and work environment. 

The induction is usually carried out on the day the new starter joins and may just involve an overview of the organisation and its policies, essential information about working at the company and some of the routine training or processes.

Often the induction is more of an introduction and overview of the company as a whole, and the orientation focuses more on the ongoing specific role and team of the new employee. For example, during the induction, HR may talk about holiday or absence procedures or other how-tos relating to working at the organisation.


What Is The New Starter Orientation?

The employee orientation extends beyond the first day and includes an individual’s integration into their team and their role. It's up to their manager to ensure they have training on the relevant systems they need to use in their job. Managers also need to introduce them to key stakeholders and team members and give them the opportunity to gain access to everything they need to do their job and feel part of the team.


Is The New Employee Orientation The Same As Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding and orientation may seem like the same thing, but it's important to understand the differences. As soon as an individual signs the offer letter, the onboarding process begins. It continues until the individual is on board in the organisation and doing the job they were hired to do.

The employee orientation does not start at this stage, as its focus is later down the line when employees start during their first day or week at the organisation. Although the employee orientation and onboarding do overlap once the employee starts working at the organisation, they are still different processes and begin at different times in the employee life cycle (although the goal for both is to get the employee into the organisation as comfortably and seamlessly as possible).


Why Do You Need Employee Onboarding?

New employees are the focus of onboarding. After the hiring assessments, such as interviews, have been completed and the candidate has been offered a role, the hiring process doesn't stop. After they have accepted the position, the organisation should continue to communicate with them to ensure they get the best possible introduction to the company. 

You need to be proactive in this process, whether it's inviting them to the company induction or ensuring that you provide them with any additional reading or information they may find helpful. It's up to you as the organisation to develop a relationship with them and demonstrate the organisation's culture and behaviour before they even start.


The Advantages Of Onboarding

There are several benefits of a successful onboarding process, including:

  • The potential for your employee to hit the ground running when they start their new job. If they have a clear picture of what is required of them and how they can achieve it, then they may adapt to the new job more quickly than if they didn't have the onboarding and productivity and performance may be higher.
  • It can lead to higher engagement as employees already feel part of the organisational culture before their first day, and then when they start, they are embedded into the company and their team. If they are clear about who they need to speak to and how the company works, then they may feel more motivated to contribute and perform at their best.
  • In accordance with increased employee engagement, this may also lead to reduced employee turnover as if onboarding is done well it will help new employees to adapt quickly to their new role and environment.
  • Onboarding performed well may also enhance your organisation's reputation because often, your employees will discuss you as an employer with their friends or family. Therefore, if you do an excellent job of welcoming them and acclimatising them, then they may well tell others about how well the company has done.


Why Do You Need Both?

For a new employee to gain the best possible start to their role in a new organisation, they need to experience an onboarding process that goes hand in hand with the employee orientation. Both the onboarding and the orientation should complement each other and must be consistent in the way they are handled.

For example, if a new starter receives an excellent onboarding experience, but as soon as they start their job, it's not consistent, and the orientation either doesn't exist or is carried out poorly, they are not gaining a truly consistent experience, and it could negatively affect their engagement at such an early stage.


Who Manages The Onboarding And Orientation Processes?

While HR may be responsible for administering contracts and new starter paperwork during the onboarding process, they cannot be responsible for every aspect of the onboarding orientation experience.

Individual managers can also be in touch with new starters before they start the job (depending on how long it is before they start), but during the orientation, they play an essential role in socialising new starters into the team and ensuring they have all the tools stand and carry out their job to the best of their ability.

The new employee onboarding and orientation processes should really come as a pair. If you have one without the other you risk upsetting the new employee experience. In addition, any positive candidate experience you have built during the recruitment process could be lost the minute they sign their paperwork or commence their first day. 

HR and managers need to work together to ensure that they are offering the best onboarding and orientation that they can offer each individual, and they personalise the processes for each person where possible. The processes don't need to be complicated or particularly radical, but consistency, ongoing communication and attention to detail are critical components of both processes.

Sorwe provides the tools you need for an effective employee orientation and onboarding in your organisation. Please get in touch with us to learn more about how Sorwe solutions can help you improve your employee orientation practice.


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What Is a New Employee Orientation, Why Do You Need One and Whose Responsibility Is It?
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