An employee onboarding program is different from a new employee orientation program. Read on to understand the difference between the two, and how necessary both are in helping to transit your hires from newbies to well-adjusted, confident contributors.
“We already do employee orientation; do we still need an employee onboarding program?”
“We already have an employee onboarding process, so we do not need to do employee orientation.”
If this is your organization’s take when it comes to acclimatizing your new employees, you are not alone. Many organizations think that having one or the other of employee onboarding or a formal new employee orientation is enough. But if you understand how different employee onboarding and employee orientation are, you will see the importance and value of both.
New Employee Orientation
New employee orientation is a one-time event welcoming them to your company.
At orientation, new hires are formally introduced to your organization and its culture, mission, vision, and values. Ideally, new employee orientation should be conducted on the first day or weeks of employment. It’s usually a conference-style event that brings together new hires from different departments across an organization. Typically, information is delivered through presentations and question-and-answer sessions.
Here’s a full list of what is generally accomplished during a new employee orientation:
- Intro to the company mission, vision, and values: The company’s leaders or long-tenured employees may give a presentation on these topics, telling stories that help bring the information to life for new hires. Many times, companies schedule a time for each of their leaders to come in and greet new employees, introduce themselves and explain their roles within the business.
- Mandatory new employee paperwork: The company’s HR representative can guide new employees through paperwork completion and collect and answer any questions they have.
- Introduction to benefit plans: Again, an HR representative or benefits coordinator can present an overview of benefits to new hires, answering questions about how and when
they should begin using them.
- Review of safety, health and any other key policies: Bring in safety personnel to introduce employees to pertinent workplace safety information. This could include a guided tour of relevant areas of the business for necessary demonstrations.
- Review of administrative procedures, such as computer systems logins, etc.: An information technology representative can present and answer questions about how to use workplace tech systems.
Onboarding is a series of events (including the new employee orientation) that helps the new hires understand how to be successful in their day-to-day job and how their work contributes to the overall business.
While orientation is like a checklist with which you check off a list of formalities that you have performed, employee onboarding is more like a strategic plan. It integrates the new hire into the organization’s operations and helps him understand by doing, how he in his role, can fit in.
During the onboarding process, the new employee is thoroughly introduced to his department. He learns the culture and business objectives by participating in meetings and starter projects with co-workers. Managers should schedule regular check-in meetings with their new employees so that they can get comfortable with talking to one another.
Gradually, the employee should be exposed to the specifics of his role and responsibilities, such as how to properly complete key tasks, who to go to with questions, how to get approval for his work and how to make suggestions. An onboarding plan should focus on what matters most to each department with the goal of helping the new employee make connections between his day-to-day tasks and company-wide goals.
After the first 90 days, the management should work with the new employee to develop strategic goals. During this process, his initial experiences within the company should be reviewed and assessed. How engaged or connected does he now feel to the organization?
Now observe the comparison between New Employee Orientation versus Employee Onboarding
When you observe the intent & focus, duration, content, setup, and outcome of both employee orientation and employee onboarding, you will see how different and necessary both are to adjust your new employees.
Quickly summarizing the different focus between the two again: –
As you can see, orientation and onboarding are different and not interchangeable. You need orientation to get new employees immediately familiar with the company’s mission and culture. You need an onboarding process to get them invested in their day-to-day roles and how it helps your business meet its goals.
When used together, orientation and onboarding help establish role clarity, job satisfaction and organizational commitment, which can help lower employee stress and turnover (due to anxiety and poor acclimatization), setting your new hire on the path to success in your organization right from the start.
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