Orientation vs. Onboarding: What's the Difference?


When a new employee joins a company, they are typically greeted with a combination of orientation and onboarding activities. While these two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between them.

Orientation is a one-time event that welcomes new employees to the company and provides them with an overview of the organization. This typically includes information about the company's history, mission, values, culture, policies, and procedures. Orientation may also cover topics such as safety, security, and benefits.

Onboarding is a more comprehensive process that helps new employees get up to speed in their new role and become productive members of the team. Onboarding typically begins before the employee's first day and continues for several weeks or months. It can include a variety of activities, such as:

  • Meeting with the manager and other team members
  • Learning about the company's products or services
  • Completing on-the-job training
  • Shadowing experienced employees
  • Participating in team-building activities

How to Create a Successful Onboarding Program

A successful onboarding program should be tailored to the specific needs of the company and the role. However, there are some general principles that can be followed:

  • Start early. Onboarding should begin before the employee's first day. This can be done by sending them welcome materials, providing them with access to company resources, and setting up meetings with their manager and team members.
  • Be personal. The onboarding process should be personalized to the individual employee. This means taking the time to learn about their skills, experience, and interests.
  • Be comprehensive. The onboarding program should cover all of the information that the employee needs to know to be successful in their role. This includes information about the company, the job, and the culture.
  • Be engaging. The onboarding process should be engaging and interactive. This can be done by using a variety of learning methods, such as in-person training, job shadowing, eLearning courses, and one-on-one coaching.
  • Be ongoing. Onboarding is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process that should continue throughout the employee's first few months on the job.

Creating and delivering an effective onboarding program can be a challenge, especially for small or mid-sized businesses. That's where we come in. Idea Learning can help you create a customized onboarding program that meets the specific needs of your company and your employees.

Here are some of the benefits of hiring us to help build your company's onboarding program:

  • Expertise: We have the expertise and experience to create and deliver effective onboarding programs. WE know the latest trends and best practices and can tailor the program to the specific needs of your company and your employees.
  • Time savings: We can save you time and resources by taking care of the design and development of the program, so you can focus on other priorities.
  • Quality: We have a proven track record of delivering high-quality onboarding programs, using evidence-based methods and techniques to ensure that your employees get the most out of their training.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Hiring us can be a cost-effective way to get the onboarding program you need. We can often deliver the program at a lower cost than if you were to develop and deliver it in-house.
Want to learn more about how we can help you create an onboarding program that will help your new employees get off to a successful start?

Let's connect.

What we do is unique to our company; it’s hard to find ways to teach that service to lots of different learners. We’ve had incredible growth over the last couple of years, so we've had to find a way to teach it quickly and efficiently and enjoyably to all sorts of different employees. We are looking forward to having a formalized and consistent standard process for training new employees.

Vice President Operations

Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.

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