Orientation is an introductory stage in the process of new employee assimilation, and continuous socialisation process in an organisation.
Major objectives of orientation are:
- gain employee commitment
- reduce employee anxiety
- help employees to understand organisation’s expectations and requirements
- convey what employees can expect from the job and the organisation
Orientation is sometimes called Induction and it can be part-introduction, part-training session, and part-tour. Normally supervisors will familiarise employees with the workplace, the company culture and sometimes with co-workers. Job orientation is a perfect opportunity for new employees to ask questions, and to learn as much as they can about what’s expected of them at their new job.
What is Onboarding?
Onboarding refers to the process by which a new hire acquires behaviours, knowledge and skills that make them effective contributors to a company or organization. During the onboarding process, the new hire is thoroughly introduced to their new workplace. They are taught on the business objectives and the workplace culture by taking part in meetings and starter projects with fellow workers.
There are two forms of onboarding:-
- Formal onboarding – through this form of onboarding, the new hire takes part in pre-arranged tasks and procedures that help the new employee adjust and adapt to their position. During this process, new employees are set apart from existing employees so that they can take part in coordinated activities such as in-classroom training, orientation and socialization.
- Informal onboarding – in informal onboarding, the new hire takes part in semi-organised and ad hoc activities. This may include unplanned coaching, shadowing and meetings with the management and other staff.
Whichever method your organisation chooses, getting your new hire up to speed is a costly process. For this reason, an effective onboarding process should monitor the new hire’s response by evaluating such key performance indicators such as knowledge of the organisation’s culture, organizational integration and social acceptance.
Orientation vs Onboarding
Finding the perfect candidate for positions in your company is only a small part of building an effective and cohesive team. Running Orientation and Onboarding for a new employee is a critical factor in ensuring that your new hire becomes productive and content. In this post, we delve deeper into what an orientation and onboarding processes are, the difference between onboarding and orientation, objectives of an effective onboarding process, and share tips for effective onboarding.
Orientation vs onboarding: What’s the difference?
During the orientation process, new recruits are introduced to their workplace, jobs, co-workers and responsibilities. Orientation helps answer such questions as:-
- The company’s history, goals, mission and vision
- Your organisation’s policies and procedures
- The organisation’s culture
- Expectations such as the dress code, time-off requests, logging hours, confidentiality, training, and so on.
|While it is considered a one-time event, it may stretch over a few days||Onboarding can take from a few months up to several years. In short, it’s an ongoing process|
This mostly takes place in a classroom setting where an executive provides information on the particulars of the organisation
|In the onboarding process, the new hire and executives exchange information. It may take several sessions with industry experts and department heads|
|The information passed on during the orientation process is mostly universal||
The content delivered during the onboarding process is customised to the new hire’s role
|Even after the orientation process is complete, the new employee is still considered new||
After the onboarding process, the employee is an integrated and contributing member of the workforce
Objectives of the onboarding process
Apart from minimising hiring costs by increasing your organisation’s employee retention rates, other objectives of an onboarding process include:-
Creating a positive experience
The primary objective of an onboarding process is showing the new employee that they have made the right decision by joining your organisation. This is achieved through emotional buy-in during the onboarding process, trust and respect are established. No matter how long this process takes, it should lay a firm foundation for years of respect and trust between the employer and the employee.
It ensures the hire’s comfort at the new workplace
A new hire is oftentimes shy. They may not have the confidence to ask someone how to get to the washroom, leave alone walking around and introducing themselves. A good onboarding process should orient the new employee with their new work area and introduce them to key team members. It should discuss their role and how they integrate with other job positions.
It aims at making new employees productive the soonest possible
A good onboarding process connects new employees to external and internal resources that will help them become productive as early as possible. It provides them with a detailed guide on how they are expected to behave.
During the onboarding process, the new employee will quickly be taken practical steps and skills that they need to learn first. This may include familiarising themselves with certain processes or how to use specific computer software.
It aims at boosting commitment and engagement
In spite of being newly recruited, new employees are bound to bring new perspectives, fresh ideas and new experiences into the workplace. An onboarding process aims at harnessing these.
Also, you want your new hire to know how each task they carry out work towards the ultimate goal that your organisation works towards. The only opportunity you have of setting the record straight is during the onboarding process. By teaming up the new employee with other employees, team leaders, task managers and supervisors, they are able to work within the organisation’s context.
Tips for Effective Onboarding
New employees are often eager to create a good first impression. For this reason, they may be reluctant to ask questions. As a business owner or manager, you have a duty to make them feel welcome. So, what are some of the ways through which you can ease your new hire’s transition into the workplace?
- Document the onboarding content
A good onboarding process should begin before the hiring process begins. The goals and objectives of the onboarding process should be quantified, documented in small actionable steps. This ensures that all essential steps are completed.
- Welcome your new hire in the right way
Regardless of their role in your organisation, every new employee needs to be treated as an integral part of your team. Before they report for work, send a welcome note to the new hire informing them of the start time, their job’s schedule and the expected dress code.
Help your new hire put names to faces by including photos of the other staff members. This may be in the form of a visual organisational chart. This will help them quickly learn the names of the other team players. It also alleviates their anxiety when they are approaching existing workers to ask them on work-related issues.
You can also assign a mentor to your new employee to guide them through certain tasks. If you feel they already know what to do, have a person who is readily available to answer their questions or even join them for lunch.
- Personalise the onboarding process
The most effective way of ensuring a new hire’s seamless transition into the workplace smoothly is by making the onboarding process solely about them and not the job. For instance, a person who has been in your line of business or in the industry for a longer time will require a different approach from an entry-level employee. Personalise the onboarding process to fit your new employee’s requirements.
- Include your organisation’s policies and procedures
You can do this by providing your new hire with an employee handbook. However, the information contained therein should educate rather than overwhelm them. Keep in mind that the employee might not read all the information right away. Instead, they’ll use it as a point of reference. In the handbook, you can review key policies such as personal conduct, time and attendance, and vacation policies among others.
- Nurture a positive workplace culture
Getting your new hire to adopt a positive culture is one of the most effective ways of easing their transition. Your workplace’s culture is normally defined by the behaviour, unspoken rules, and performance expectations of your team. It is best imparted through interpersonal interactions with existing team members.
- Have a closing segment
While an engaging and exciting beginning of the onboarding process is critical, in most cases organisations forget to include the end. Having a closing segment helps your new hire feel a sense of accomplishment once they complete this rite of passage into your organisation. Bring the new employees together and give them a chance to share their experiences in your organisation so far. You can make it more meaningful by awarding certificates of completion to participants and recognising high performers.
You can take this chance to ask the new employees for their feedback once they are through with the onboarding process. This will help you to establish what worked and what did not, thus helping you fine-tune it for the future.
Onboarding Through Induct for Work
The time between when you provide your new hire with an offer and their start date is normally anxiety-filled for the candidate. The most effective way to prevent a slow start is to keep the candidate engaged during this time.
Rather than spending the first few days filling out forms and face-to-face inductions, why not familiarise your new hire to your organisation through online onboarding? Online induction and onboarding enable you to communicate with a new employee through tools such as Induct for Work without taking time out of your day.
Induct for Work facilitates your onboarding process through the following ways:-
There are members of your organisation and industry experts who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Induct for Work enables you to tap into such skills by allowing your staff to create additional admin accounts to be able to create new courses. New employees then can gain helpful insights into what their job entails. The platform enables you to set ground rules such as when to communicate, how each person should participate and how you will be checking on their progress.
Most new employees are nervous and anxious about their first day on the job. This is because they are unfamiliar with simple tasks such as clocking in or even how to get to their designated work station. Induct for Work enables to provide your new hires with a virtual walk-through of the workplace. Apart from boosting their self-confidence, such simulations provide clarity on job responsibilities and expectations thus preventing confusions down the line.
You can develop task-based activities
With the high costs associated with the recruitment process, most organisations look forward to enabling the new hire to be productive the soonest possible. Induct for Work enables you to develop task-based activities and scenarios you expect your new hire to perform right from the start. You can break them down further and highlight each step, process and procedure. Go a step further and add to its realism by adding relating characters, incorporating images and adding workplace sounds.
Online presentations to help build awareness
Each employee is your brand’s ambassador whether they are in direct touch with your clients or not. Therefore, building your brand’s awareness is a critical part of the onboarding process. Through Induct for Work, you can pass such information as the organisation’s history, the corporate culture, vision, mission, brand message and so on. Rather than using printed guidebooks and manuals, Induct for Work gives you a chance to add personality to your brand through videos, audios, images, background music, and gamification. This makes the content more engaging, immersive and interactive.
Advantages of online onboarding
- It enables you to deliver content in digestible chunks
- You will be able to avoid paper handouts and lengthy meetings
- It brings your new employees up to speed quickly as far as your organisation’s history, vision and values are concerned
- Your new hire will be ready for their role right away
It is not unusual for candidates to feel a sense of disconnect between the time they receive their job offer and when they report to work. An onboarding process that begins before they set foot on the workplace helps ease their fears and anxiety. They will have an immediate impact as far as productivity in the workplace is concerned and be more confident once they start. A good onboarding process will result in long-term, rewarding relationships.
Give online onboarding a trial by signing up for Induct for Work’s 14-day free trial.