Onboarding, Induction, Orientation and Training – What’s the Difference?

Monday, November 30, 2020

Onboarding, Induction, Orientation and Training – What’s the Difference?

Onboarding, induction, orientation and training may seem like similar processes; however, it’s important that you know the difference between each of these processes to make better hiring decisions and help your employees have a smoother transition as they become acclimated to their new job. Induction, orientation, and training are all different educational procedures in the onboarding process.

Differentiating the key terms

The easiest way to think of induction is introducing your company to the new hire. Induction starts during the pre-boarding process (more information on that below) and will only last for a short amount of time on your new employee’s first day. Induction usually includes a presentation or brochure on company policies, rules and benefits as well as keeping them up to date on current projects they’ll be working on. You’re likely to have little dialogue with your employee during this time; you’re mostly sending them information on their new position.

If induction is introducing your new employee to your company, orientation is the dialogue you have immediately after. Orientation begins on your new hire's first day of work and typically only lasts a few days at most. Employees will take the information they learned during induction and use that knowledge to both better understand the company as well as meeting their new co-workers, meeting their supervisors and understanding their new work environment.

Training typically lasts a few weeks, although some positions may require more time. This is when your employee is going to learn the tools of the trade of their new position in addition to what is expected of their work. This stage typically begins when employees are assigned their first assignments and ends after their completion.

Onboarding, as stated above, encompasses all of these processes, but focuses on integrating employees into your company through a combination of education and support. You should regularly meet with new hires to hear their concerns, provide feedback and answer questions. Offering your employees consistent support during the onboarding process can improve retention rates by 82% and productivity by over 70% [1]. The entire onboarding process lasts about six months.

What are the four phases of onboarding?

Onboarding starts the moment your new employee signs their contract. We call this the pre-boarding phase. Pre-boarding should consist of you sending a welcome email to your employee, introducing them to your company’s culture, emailing or talking to current employees about your new employee (and their soon-to-be teammate) and preparing them for their first day by setting up their workstation and keeping them up to date on new tasks and projects.

The second phase is orientation. This is when you are going to introduce your new employee to their co-workers, give them a tour of the building/worksite, introduce them to key members of leadership and answer any questions they may have. Think of this as your first real impression. It’s your new employee’s first day, and you want them to understand their new work environment and what’s expected of them. Introduce employees to any resources you may have to make their onboarding experience easier and more enjoyable.

Next come first assignments. There’s a delicate balance between giving your new employee adequate work to introduce them to their new position and your work expectations and overloading them to the point where they feel overwhelmed. No one likes to feel like they’re stretched too thin, and just like orientation, your employees first assignments are their introduction to you, your expectations and your workplace. Regularly check in with your new employees during their first week to make sure you’re all on the same page.

Finally, provide on-going support for all your employees, but especially your new employee. Schedule feedback meetings to go over employees’ progress and goals, listen to their comments concerns and work towards solutions if problems arise. Why is this so important? A whopping 72% of new employees find one-on-one time with their direct manager the most important experience they can have during the onboarding process [2]. Don’t be afraid to ask your new employees about what worked (and what didn’t work very well) during the onboarding process. Remember, sometimes a set of eyes from the opposite side of the table can help you streamline your process.

How do you prepare for onboarding?

Preparing your onboarding plan may feel daunting, but you have much to gain from creating a streamlined process. Not only are you more likely to retain employees and save money due to low turnover rates, you’re also going to build more meaningful relationships with your employees; they’ll want to continue working for you because they love their job.

The best way to prepare for onboarding is by addressing the Four C’s: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection. Meeting Compliance requirements includes includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.   Clarification refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations. Culture is a broad category that includes providing a sense of organisational norms, allowing your employees to learn more about your company’s identity, mission and values. Finally, Connection refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish, such as a central calendar or an encrypted channel of communication with HR. You can learn more about these features of Qualee here.

In conclusion, a clear understanding of the difference between onboarding, induction, orientation and training, will allow you to create a more effective and all-encompassing onboarding experience for your new hires. This in turn has significant impact on their productivity, satisfaction and retention, ultimately affecting overall business success.

Many companies have successfully integrated Qualee’s mobile-first solutions to streamline their onboarding process. With an intuitive app driving employee engagement, Qualee makes it easy for companies to create engaging and effective onboarding experiences. Give Qualee a try by joining our Starter Plan today!

[1] https://b2b-assets.glassdoor.com/the-true-cost-of-a-bad-hire.pdf

[2] https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/onboarding/2017/5-things-new-hires-want-during-onboarding

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