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The Important Difference Between Orientation and Onboarding

The time between when a candidate accepts an offer of employment and when they officially start work is arguably the most important time period in the lifecycle of an employee. The reason: that is when they are most at risk to accept an offer from another employer, accept a counteroffer from their current employer, or simply change their mind.

So, what can an employer do? How can an employer ensure that this critical period is addressed in a way that is beneficial for both the organization and the soon-to-be new employee?

The answer is a stellar and effective onboarding process. However, the first step in creating such a process is realizing that onboarding is not the same as orientation. Unfortunately, orientation and onboarding are two terms that are often used interchangeably when referring to the process of introducing a new employee to an organization. However, there are distinct differences between the two. Orientation is the initial introduction to an organization and its culture, while onboarding is a comprehensive process that helps new employees become productive members of the team.

What is orientation?

Orientation is typically a short-term process that occurs within the first few days of an employee’s hire. The purpose of orientation is to familiarize new employees with the organization and its culture. This includes providing an overview of the company’s history, mission, vision, and values. Orientation may also cover the organizational structure, policies and procedures, benefits, and other important information that new employees need to know.

Orientation is usually conducted by HR or a designated representative who is responsible for introducing new employees to the organization. The process may include presentations, videos, and other materials that provide an overview of the organization. Orientation may also include introductions to key personnel, such as managers, supervisors, and other employees who will be working closely with the new employee.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive process that occurs over a longer period of time. The purpose of onboarding is to help new employees become productive members of the team as quickly as possible. Onboarding may start during the recruitment process and continue for several months after the new employee’s start date.

Onboarding typically includes the orientation process, but it goes beyond this to provide a more holistic experience for new employees. Onboarding may include job-specific training, mentorship programs, team building activities, and other initiatives that help new employees become integrated into the organization.

One of the key differences between orientation and onboarding is the duration of the process. Orientation is typically a one-time event that lasts a few days, while onboarding is an ongoing process that can last for several months. Another difference is the focus of each process. Orientation is focused on introducing new employees to the organization and its culture, while onboarding is focused on helping new employees become productive members of the team.

When does onboarding start?

Onboarding starts the moment that the candidate accepts your offer of employment. In other words, immediately. Not the following day, nor the following week. And certainly not on the candidate’s scheduled first official day of work.

Orientation, on the other hand, does not start the moment that the candidate accepts the offer, and that fact has made it easier for some company officials to believe that orientation and onboarding are basically the same things. However, orientation is just one part of onboarding, which is a bigger and more comprehensive endeavor. The key to an effective onboarding process is engagement. An employer must keep the candidate engaged during the period between when they accept the offer and when they officially start work at the organization.

The benefits of onboarding

One major benefit of an effective onboarding program is that the candidate does not accept another offer, does not accept a counteroffer, and shows up for their first day of work. Other benefits include the following:

#1—Helps set clear expectations for the new employee.

This includes not only their job duties but also the company’s culture, values, and mission. New employees who understand the expectations of their role and how they fit into the organization are more likely to be engaged and productive from the start.

#2—Helps to reduce turnover.

Studies have shown that employees who undergo a structured onboarding process are more likely to stay with an organization for the long term. By providing new employees with the necessary information, tools, and support, an effective onboarding process can help them feel more comfortable and confident in their new role, reducing the likelihood that they will leave the organization in the first few months.

#3—Improves job performance.

New employees who are given the necessary training and support to succeed in their role are more likely to perform well from the start. This can lead to increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increased revenue for the organization.

#4—Improves the overall morale of the organization.

By providing new employees with a positive and welcoming introduction to the company, an effective onboarding process can help to create a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. With this benefit, not only is the new employee impacted in a positive way, the both organization as a whole is impacted in a similar fashion.

The VET Recruiter has been helping employers recruit, hire, and retain top talent for more than two decades. We understand the importance of an excellent onboarding process and why it’s especially needed in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. We can help you identify top candidates, engage them more effectively during the recruiting process, and successfully hire more of them at the end of that process.

We invite you to find out more about our Veterinary recruiting services for employers and also learn more about our recruiting process and how we can help you hire more veterinarians this year.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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