We all know how important first impressions are when meeting new people, but what about a recruit’s first impression of their new job? Orientation and onboarding are both essential processes that help new employees start off on the right foot. If your company is still debating onboarding vs orientation, this is the article for you.

What is new hire orientation?

New hire orientation is a program that eases recruits into their new jobs. It provides an opportunity for new candidates to ask questions, learn about company policies and expectations, and run through their responsibilities.

Orientations are typically held conference style, allowing new recruits to learn about the company together. Candidates will view presentations covering the company’s mission, complete employee paperwork, and learn how to use their new benefits.

This is the time to get all the housekeeping items out of the way, such as giving out ID badges, security codes, and keys. Employees are shown around the office so they’ll know where to go for coffee, office supplies, and a potty break (all the essentials).

Why is new employee orientation important?

New employee orientation eases new recruits into their new position, giving them time to learn the ropes. That way, they won’t have to worry about figuring their way around the office while juggling all their new job responsibilities.

Bringing your new employees up to speed on company policy from the get-go helps avoid future road bumps. Taking the time to help your new recruits transition also shows them you care about how they fit into the company culture. 

Ultimately, new hire orientation is a process designed to prepare employees for the training process. Once orientation is complete, they’ve got the big picture and understand how their role fits into the company as a whole.

How to design a comprehensive new employee orientation experience

The key to an effective employee orientation experience is emphasizing the value of continued education. Make sure your new hires know you don’t expect them to know everything right out the gate. When employees aren’t afraid to ask questions, teams encounter less miscommunication and fewer mistakes. 

Design your employee orientation like a classroom experience. Make a presentation or video that touches on the company mission, vision, and values. 

Designate a time for employees to tackle paperwork and other housekeeping items. Your HR representative can create a presentation or video teaching new hires how to take advantage of their benefits. 

You’ll also need to cover the necessary safety and health procedures, give a thorough tour of the building, and review administrative procedures. 

Additionally, you can have an IT representative present on how to utilize any technology your workplace has to offer.

Vimeo pro tip: new hire orientation videos

Video is an essential part of any good new hire orientation, whether it’s taking place remotely or in-person. 

When you create your orientation presentations in video format, they can be re-used and revisited as needed. Your employees won’t have to worry about digesting all the information in one sitting if they have the video link to look back on.

You can use the template below to create effortless employee welcome videos:

Additionally, your new hires can introduce themselves to their new coworkers in video format.

The template below can help new employees introduce themselves to their new team. Not all employees will have the time to meet new recruits during orientation, so this is a great way to get everyone acquainted asynchronously. It’s also a great way to help employees get to know each other in a remote workplace.

What is onboarding?

The process of onboarding introduces new employees to their departments by involving them in meetings and starter projects. While orientation lasts up to a week, onboarding can last longer than three months and includes orientation as one of the first steps. 

Onboarding helps employees settle into the day-to-day responsibilities of their new job. It improves productivity and can boost employee retention by 82%. This is partially because easing employees into their new roles with onboarding significantly lowers stress. While orientation introduces a group of new recruits to the company, onboarding is more personalized and focuses on integrating an individual into their new department.

Why is new hire onboarding important?

Onboarding improves employee performance by giving them time to fully understand their work responsibilities. Ensuring employees fully understand the scope of their duties and setting clear goals positively impacts their long term performance– and the company’s bottom line.

Thorough onboarding acclimates employees to their new company culture and responsibilities. It’s a period of hands-on involvement and regular check-ins from managers and coworkers. Overtime, onboarding thoroughly integrates new hires into their new departments. They learn how to use new tools, perform specific tasks, who to ask what questions when, and so much more. The process gets employees invested in their roles and how they impact your company’s overall goals.

Because it’s a three month period of observation and starter projects, onboarding helps employees build intuition and instinct to inform their decision making once they’re fully-onboarded. 

New hiring onboarding doesn’t just benefit the company, though. It also helps managers understand and meet the needs of their new employees. Employees are given time to adjust to the company culture, learn to communicate with their team members, and clarify their expectations during check-ins with their supervisors.

How to create a comprehensive onboarding experience

To create a comprehensive onboarding experience, start by giving your employees everything they need for the onboarding process. That includes any hardware, company swag, and any logins they may need. Get IT to help them set up their hardware, software, and VPNs. You’ll also need to get their newcomer accounts set up on all your company communication tools.

Next, you’ll need to get them introduced to all the team members they’ll be working with (and under). On the first day, they need to at least meet their HR point of contact, hiring manager, and CEO. Next, set up one-on-one meetings with everyone they’ll be working closely with. 

Once your new hire is acquainted, take them through all the training sessions necessary for their role and then introduce a starter task to jumpstart their experience on the job.

Using video in your onboarding experience: 

Video is a great addition to the onboarding experience. You can create videos on everything from training to simple introductions. These videos are a helpful resource for new hires to look back on and can also be reused, which saves time for the employees doing the actual training. 

Here’s another useful employee welcome video:

Wrapping up on onboarding vs orientation

So, onboarding vs orientation– what’s the verdict? The truth is, you need both. Orientation covers the surface level stuff, getting your new recruits acquainted with company processes. Onboarding thoroughly integrates your new hires into their specific departments, equipping them with the knowledge, resources, and training essential for success in their new role. 

If you truly want to set your new hires up for success, both processes are necessary. Luckily, you can create videos that automate most of the training presentations so they can be used time and time again (even in remote hiring situations).

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