Many of us use the terms Induction, Orientation, Onboarding, and Integration interchangeably. This article aims to break down the differences between these terms, to help us use them appropriately in the future. And as you read the article, you will understand that three of them are processes. While the other one is their consequent result.
The first thing done when a new employee joins an organization is Induction, which is a short duration process. The primary focus of induction is to welcome the employee. To make them feel comfortable, ease them into the organization culture, and introduce them to the organizational values. Typically, it includes an office tour for the employees, an introduction to their team and manager, and handing out company-branded merchandise (backpack, tee, mug, etc).
Many organizations also follow a buddy system where each new employee gets a buddy who helps them understand unwritten rules and supports them through the process of discovery.
The process of Induction is quasi-formal to be sensitive to the fact that the new employee could be apprehensive and nervous on their first day at work.
Orientation as a process involves generating awareness about organizational processes, guidelines, systems, and policies. All of this to make the employee compliant and understand what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and why it needs to be done. Obviously, considering the compliance focus, Orientation is a longer process than Induction, more detail-oriented, and far more formal.
It includes familiarization of the employee with their payroll, benefits, leaves application system, risk management, brand guidelines, reimbursements, privacy policies, etc. With the number of technology and reporting tools in use today, a large part of orientation is training on each of these tools. And most organizations address it through their Learning Management Systems.
Orientation, like Induction, is again short-term. And it usually is completed within the employee’s first week of joining.
Induction and Orientation are subsets of Onboarding. Onboarding is a much longer process that starts with the offer letter being issued and completes only when the employee is integrated into the organization (don’t worry, we explain that next). This can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of quarters.
Onboarding should consider four dimensions to facilitate employee integration:
- Administrative: Policies, documentation, legal, compliance, etc
- Performance: Goal setting, performance reviews, training and development (both hard and soft skills), etc
- Culture: Organizational purpose, mission, vision, values, expectations, managing stakeholders, etc.
- Social: Team rapport, manager relationship, buddy system, mentoring, welcome celebrations, informal meet and greets, etc.
The successful result of the three processes detailed above is Integration. It deals with transforming a new employee into a fully committed, empowered, and confident team member.
To become an insider.
This happens only by sharing communicating vision, sharing knowledge, fostering connections, and ensuring compliance. Allowing a new employee to fearlessly voice opinions and creating an environment for open sharing makes the integration much faster and ensures that the integrated employee is engaged, committed, and passionate about own and organizational success.
We hope this has helped you understand the differences between these terms. If you have other insights that you would like to add that can help us and our readers, we welcome your comments below.