Home Career What is the Difference Between Employee Onboarding, Orientation and Induction?

What is the Difference Between Employee Onboarding, Orientation and Induction?

Employee onboarding, orientation and induction

Are you looking for the difference between employee onboarding, induction and orientation? We are here to help you.

In Human Resources (HR), two important terms that stand out after hiring a new employee are onboarding and induction. Even in the midst of the two, there are some confusing tendencies as to the possibility of interpreting one to be the other.

It will also be of interest to you to know that orientation is also a part of the early stages of getting a new employee acquainted in a workplace.

If you are in the hiring department and you are not sure how any of these three works, this article is for you. Here, we cover the different meanings of the concepts, as well as their peculiarities.

What is the Onboarding of an Employee?

It is simply “getting an employee on board.” As the employee has been hired, the next step is to get the person acquainted with what it takes to work in the establishment.

The onboarding process typically has the following processes involved:

Workplace and Cultural Expectations

No matter the background, employees are expected to drop whatever they have going on and adopt the new expectations at the workplace.

This includes the way of addressing the employees and employers, how to attend to queries and so on.

Therefore, the onboarding process is an avenue for new employees to be taken through the working and cultural expectations in the workplace.

Company-Centric Expectations

The onboarding process also covers the expectations of the company – i.e., what the company expects the employee to do.

In this case, it is imperative for the HR to intimate the new employee of the company or establishment’s mission and core values. This helps such an employee to be acquainted with what the brand stands to achieve and to figure out the best ways to be of immense help.

Workplace Introductions

One of the to-dos in the onboarding and induction checklist is to introduce and get the new employee familiarized with the existing staff – including the employers.

Mentorship Sessions

Sometimes and depending on the company, the new employee could be assigned a mentor or a coach to help him or her settle in the company.


Induction of a New Employee – What Does It Mean?

When a new staff is hired, he or she doesn’t get to work until certain steps are completed. The most important step is the induction.

As a shortened form of “introduction,” it refers to the process of welcoming a new employee to the workplace.

While there is a no-size-fits-all approach to this, the induction process typically involves the introduction of a new employee to the organization. It also covers the following:

Type of Focus

The primary focus during the induction and onboarding process is to focus on the most important tasks, such as completing the final paperwork.

Equipment Training

If the employee is assigned to machines or pieces of equipment, the induction process is a perfect time to get the person acquainted with how they work.

Office Tours

The employee is also taken around the office to get to know the various departments. While some of the staff and employers can be met in the process; that is not the main goal.

Training Sessions

Training sessions, such as compliance and safety training are also predominant during the induction process.

These sessions help the new employee to be familiar with what it takes to work safely at the new workplace.

Security Pass

Depending on the department, the new employee could get access to some workplace security privileges. These include access to the software logins, access keys and workspaces.

What is the Difference between Induction and Onboarding?

The onboarding and induction meanings seem to be similar, especially when you consider that they have to deal with the first lap of introducing a new employee.

Below are the differences between employee onboarding and induction:

  • Induction has to do with getting the new employee to know the different departments, while onboarding is more of introducing the new employee to the rest of the staff.
  • In onboarding, the mentorship session is often based on assigning the new employee to another staff or creating a “buddy system.” On the contrary, the induction process takes new employees through the safety and compliance training.
  • The induction process typically focuses on the finalization of paperwork. Onboarding of new employees has more to do with sharing the company’s mission and values.

What is Orientation?

Often confused to be induction or onboarding, the orientation process is a period of getting the new employees to assimilate what it takes to work in the company.

Usually done on the first day at work, the orientation process typically involves the following:

  • Introducing the new staff to the specific job and the requirements.
  • Either a designated supervisor or the HR manager handles the process.
  • Orientation can sometimes be informal but the aim is to provide as many details as the new employees would need. This will help them to kick off on the right foot.

Why is Onboarding, Orientation and Induction of a New Employee Important in the Workplace?

The orientation and induction of new employees into a company is a veritable means of making them a “part of the establishment.”

By debriefing the new staff on their duties, expectations, company’s policies, company’s mission and job-related skills; they will be better equipped to do a great job.


Differences between Induction and Orientation Programs for the New Employees

The following are some important points that help you differentiate between employee induction and orientation:

  • Induction is primarily for new employees, but orientation programs can be both for the new and existing staff.
  • The mode of making inductions is usually formal, such as through online and physical training sessions. On the other hand, there is less formality with orientation programs, because you can deliver it either formally or informally.
  • In terms of the duration, it takes less time to complete an employee orientation than that of induction.


The combination of onboarding, induction and orientation happens at different points after a new employee joins a company. As a HR manager, you want to decide the goals of the process, how long it would take and coverage. Those factors will help you decide whether to onboard and induct a new employee only or use the entire process.

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CHUKWUKADIBIA ABAH is a passionate freelance writer and contributor to the Entrepreneur Business Blog. You can follow him on: Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/ChukwukadibiaAbah1/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chukwukadibia01 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chukwukadibiaabah/ Instagram: https://instagram.com/chukwukadibia_abah


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