On hearing the words ‘orientation’ and ‘onboarding’, we might find ourselves wondering what the difference is. After all, don’t both terms refer to a process new hires go through when being welcomed into a business: to its culture, policies, and processes? The short answer is no.

A key difference is that the onboarding process typically occurs over a few months and requires analysis, discussions, and meetings, while the orientation process typically takes anywhere from a day up to a week. Both employee onboarding and employee orientation are necessary steps towards helping employees on their way to success. We define the two practices in more detail below:

Orientation

Orientation refers to a single event welcoming a new hire into a company. This means introducing the new hire to team members, showing them around the workspace and giving them the tools and technology required to do their job. It also provides HR with the information they need to do their job of making the new hire an official member of the organisation – to collect all relevant personal, payroll, and benefits details.

Onboarding

Onboarding refers to the process through which new employees are professionally introduced to a company’s policies & procedures, operations, and culture. Starting during the recruitment and hiring phase, it can continue over the course of the employee’s first year.

An epic, successful onboarding plan will incorporate these three components:

  • Organisational: Company structure, processes, values, culture, and mission
  • Technical: What is expected of the employee, defining goals and measures of success
  • Social: Building a sense of team camaraderie, interpersonal interactions, e.g., the assignation of a ‘buddy’ 

Why are they important?

Orientation and onboarding are the first touchpoints a new hire has with your organisation, the first exposure to your employer brand and therefore a formative part of the employee experience (EX). When we consider that up to 20% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment, it’s clear that this early phase of the EX is a pivotal, high stakes period. Dropping a new employee at their desks on their first day with a laptop, a rushed overview of the company and scant information about where they can find the tools needed to do their job will not set them up for success. 

Forty-one percent of surveyed employers believe the lack of a structured onboarding process has had one of the following negative impacts on their company:

  • Lower productivity (16%)
  • Greater inefficiencies (14%)
  • Higher employee turnover (12%)
  • Lower employee morale (11%)
  • Lower level of employee engagement (10%)
  • Lower confidence among employees (10%)
  • Lack of trust within the organisation (7%)
  • Missed revenue targets (6%)

So, by offering an epic onboarding experience, you’re already on your way to retaining your fantastic new hire!

Pro tip: make sure your company values and mission are clearly articulated through the onboarding process. Research has found that 79% of job seekers consider a company’s mission before applying, and more than half (66%) of employees find motivation in a company’s mission; while 64% attribute their company’s mission to the main reason they stay in their current jobs.

How HR technology can help with your orientation and onboarding

We’ve established the importance of a proper orientation and onboarding experience. However, we know that both can be time-consuming, resource intensive and document-heavy – often requiring involvement from several employees across different parts of the business. In fact, roughly one in four HR professionals said that new starter onboarding/inductions take up too much of HR’s time relative to the value they deliver.  

What’s more, in a large company, it can be difficult to make sure everyone has the same onboarding experience and receives the same welcoming treatment. 

Using HR technology that streamlines the onboarding process – through online modules that new hires can complete in their own time and at their own pace – ensures an efficient, compliant onboarding process that frees up HR’s time while offering a positive employee experience for your new hire, immersing them into their team, faster! 

Employee onboarding software enables teams to automate the repetitive and tedious manual creation of job offers and the provisioning of tasks to onboard new employees.

Automating the onboarding process helps in many ways:

  • Ensures an efficient onboarding experience that employees can complete at their own pace, in their own time
  • Boosts the EX and therefore retention!
  • Helps to avoid knowledge gaps and uncertainty around job roles by offering a standardised onboarding process for all employees, while still allowing for some personalisation for individual job roles
  • Allows onboarding modules to have input from a range of stakeholders, who can seamlessly collaborate and keep track of onboarding tasks in real time 
  • Helps employers meet compliance obligations by allowing onboarding data to interact with recruitment and payroll solutions 

HROnboard, an ELMO company, offers a best-in-class software solution that reduces the amount of time HR teams and leaders spend securing the best candidates and undertaking the critical onboarding process for new hires. Our solution also helps manage internal employee role changes and can create a smooth and seamless process for exiting employees. 

ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll offers end-to-end solutions for the entire employee lifecycle, from ‘hire to retire’. This includes recruitment, learning, performance management, payroll, rostering / time & attendance, and more. For further information, contact us.

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