Orientation vs. Onboarding [Infographic]

Orientation vs Onboarding – what’s the difference?

Many businesses treat orientation and onboarding like they’re the same. They both serve a similar purpose – to assimilate new hires to a business, but there is a subtle difference. Orientation is a part of the onboarding process, but onboarding is not a part of orientation.

Both orientation and onboarding have individual merits, but to see them their differences need to be clearly understood.


Orientation is usually a one-day event that lasts for a few hours, and it is usually completed within the first week of a new hire starting. The company mission, vision and values are explained to the new hire.

The information provided during orientation is relevant for any new hire – it isn’t job role specific. Topics covered can include health and safety information, company policies, compensation and benefits, and attendance and leave information.

The purpose of orientation is to provide new hires with the tools and information they need to start their job.


On the other hand, onboarding is an ongoing process. New hires receive information that is only relevant on an individual basis, such as their function and role within the organization.

New hires learn the culture and objectives through thorough introductions to departments and teams, by participating in starter projects, and by having regular check-in meetings with managers. Check out a more comprehensive list here.

A well executed onboarding process is a crucial step for engaging employees.  The purpose of onboarding is to assimilate new hires into the company and provide them with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to become effective organizational members. It’s also a good way to encourage company loyalty, because employees that understand how their role works towards achieving goals are more likely to feel connected with and stay with a company long term.

orientation vs onboarding


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