Orientation and Onboarding: Why You Need Both

Anthony Haynes writes: Earlier this year we published a resource about onboarding (‘Successful onboarding‘, 2 April). Here we supplement this with a reblogged post from Vancouver-based Centrepoint Career Management. They distinguish between ‘onboarding’ and ‘orientation’. Though the distinction isn’t universally accepted – perhaps there’s a difference between the UK and Canada? – we certainly find the post helpful for identifying a range of activities and focusing on the underlying purposes.

Centrepoint of View

newguyIt’s surprising how often we see the concepts of new employee “onboarding” and “orientation” used interchangeably. Yet, they are not the same thing. Onboarding is a reasonably new term, if not an entirely new concept. While orientation is often a key component within the onboarding process, the strongest organizations focus a great deal of attention on onboarding, ensuring that their newest employees are engaged, supported and inspired beyond the first exciting few weeks, and remain so for the long term.  HR research shows that the better and longer the onboarding process is, the more likely the employee is to stay with the company beyond the two year mark.

Onboarding and Orientation are two quite different, if related, processes – with considerably different goals.

Orientation: When we orient new employees to an organization, the objective is to introduce and familiarize them with how the organization works from their perspective, and covers…

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