The Difference Between Onboarding and Orientation

19 September 2022

4 min read

Lynette Teo
Lynette Teo

Giving new hires a proper welcome is essential and it goes a long way. No one likes feeling lost and confused at their new workplace, or not knowing where to start or who to rely on. According to a survey, 48% of new hires leave within the first 18 months. For this reason, you want to make sure your new employees have a positive first impression of the company from the start.

So how do you get started? This is where onboarding and orientation plays an important role in the talent management process.

You might be thinking, aren’t they the same? Well, they are pretty similar. To put it simply, think of onboarding as an entire pie, while orientation is just a slice of it or the first step to onboarding. However, most managers are unable to distinguish between the two. This lack of clarity negatively impacts the success of the new hire, the manager, and the company. This article will point out the differences between the two. 

The Comparison Table

The Differences




An introduction to new hires to the job, colleagues and company.

A strategic process of integrating new hires into the company and culture.


Provide new hires with the essential tools and basic information needed to perform for the job.

Integrate new hires into the company culture.


1 day to 1-week

1 to 12 months








Formal introduction of the company

In-depth introduction to the company and it’s operations







Information provided

General information

Role-specific information


Ready for training

Ready to contribute

What is Orientation?

Orientation is how new hires are introduced to their jobs, workplace, culture, colleagues, and responsibilities.

It covers the following information:

  • An overview of their role and responsibilities 
  • An overview of the company’s history and policies
  • An overview of employees’ health and safety, company policies, compensation and benefits, attendance, and vacation.

In general, orientation usually takes place on the new hire’s first day or week. All new hires gather in a conference-style event and information is provided in the form of presentations and Q&A sessions. It is designed to help new hires better understand the company, and be comfortable with their work and team. At the same time, address any concerns they may have.

The Advantages of Orientation

  • A physical tour of the office allows new hires to get used to their new workplace.
  • Introduction to the company policies and procedures so that new hires follow the organization’s rules.
  • Q&A sessions help HR managers have a better understanding of new hires’ concerns and address them quickly. 
  • Make new hires feel more valued and have a better idea of the company culture.

What is Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is to support new hires to gradually familiarize themselves with the company’s culture, values, and rules. The process begins the moment they accept the job offer, and it can last up to a year. During this period, regular meetings are scheduled to check up on new hires. This aims to improve the ability of new hires to understand the culture, contribute to the team, build meaningful relationships, understand the leadership team and, ultimately, perform at their best.

The Advantages of Onboarding

  • Higher employee engagement
  • Employee retention. 
  • A clear direction of their roles and responsibilities. 
  • Increase productivity
  • Strong company culture


Both employee onboarding and employee orientation are designed to facilitate the talent management process. Used together they contribute to the success of the company. They help to set more precise goals and objectives, job satisfaction, and commitment, which in turn reduce employee stress and turnover.

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