Employee Induction, Orientation and Onboarding. Do they Mean the Same?

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Human Resources Management > Best Practices > Employee Induction, Orientation and Onboarding. Do they Mean the Same?

Employee Induction, Orientation and Onboarding. Do they Mean the Same?
tom hogglund, Student (Other), Sweden, Member
Hi all, the terms induction, orientation and on boarding are widely used when orientating new employees to the company and to the job. Is there a clear definition (somewhere in theory) of these terms or do they mean the same?
 

 
NEO Terminology
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, Premium Member
I see a difference in the terminology:
- Induction is like the welcoming ceremony
- Orientation is the general introduction to the organization and the job by HR staff, and
- Onboarding is the training/indoctrination of employees by the department to forge a lasting relationship with the employee.
Others may disagree and see induction and onboarding as part of the orientation process. See www.usq.edu.au/hr/odt/inductonboard/inductguidelines.
You'll have to research the theories to connect the terms.
 

 
Lost in Translations?
tom hogglund, Student (Other), Sweden, Member
Thanks, the reason I've asked the question was in my mother language we only have one word for orientation/induction/on boarding and we're just adding "to work", "to company" which then refers to what the newcomer is oriented.
Perhaps there could also be a difference in US and British English? But then different authors use these terms in different ways, when referring to different content. Even the word training is used. So it was a bit confusing in English.
 

 
Understanding what Words Mean
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Hi Tom, indeed wordings can have different meanings when used by different authors in different languages in different times in different cultures in different parts of the world. See also contingency theory about this.
It's good you're sensitive to this and try to clarify the meaning of certain key words and not to asume they mean what you believe they mean. Besides asking others also look at the context in which the words are used. When you're working abroad, you should try to use some form of cultural intelligence as well.
 

 
Understanding
tom hogglund, Student (Other), Sweden, Member
Hi Editor, thanks for pointing out the contingency theory, it was new to me and personally I found it quite interesting. I am not sure how to react to this theory, I heard myself shouting: "look the king has no clothes!" in other words, the companies can set guidelines how to conduct a neo, what should be included. But the persons conducting the neo has to use his common sense (emotional intelligence) and adapt the content of the neo to serve the purpose best e.g. which areas has to be taught to new employees, what is vital to know, how much time this individual needs in adapting the new environment/job before he can perform independently etc. Just my thoughts but the theory is interesting and I have to study it further.
The cultural intelligence is an extremely important issue to address as well, especially when working in multi-cultural/international company. Our cultures are different which reflects not only to our behaviour but also the ways of learning.
Thanks for your inputs! Have a good day.
 

 
The Difference
Richard Aghama Okundia, Student (Other), Nigeria, Member
The three words, orientation, induction and onboarding are the three stages involved in getting a new employee familiarised with their new work environment. The fact that none can be done separate of the other has made authors to assert that they are the same:
- Orientation is the first phase of the familiarization process, it involves a detailed dissemination of information on rules, procedures etc to the new employee by HRM.
- Induction is the formal declamation, unveiling of new employee to assume office.
- Onboarding on the other hand is the explanation of an employee's position in the management hierarchy, jurisdiction and explanation of who the employee owes authority and responsibility.
 

 
The Difference
Lata, Manager, India, Member
Hi Tom, when we use these 3 words what we mean are:
- Employee Induction: presentation & imparting knowledge about the organisation like inception, history achievements, management team, business verticals etc...
- Employee Orientation: is personally introducing to relevant team members in the organisation, introduction with the employees team including reporting manager...
- Employee Onboarding is usually referred to the documentation that the employee completes on the day s/he joins... This may not be the dictionary meaning of these words.
 

 
What's the Difference
Krishna, Director, India, Member
I am confused between what David and Lata had to say. It seems they recommend totally different definitions. Help!
To me, it looks like Lata is closer to the definition that has been in my mind for all these years (David, let's debate a bit further).
I would define them as: once you bring an employee on board, you need to induct him/her into the system and orient him according to the job profile.
 

 
Meaning of Employee Induction, Orientation and Onboarding
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, Premium Member
@Gopal : The differences are based on the language and definitions used in your own country. I would recommend you use those definitions that best descibe what your organization uses and understands. Regards, David.
 

 
What's the Difference
Krishna, Director, India, Member
That seems to fall in line with Tom and Editor. I guess local language, culture and slangs also play an important role in how a term needs to be interpreted.
Seems like the difference in understanding is due to different people thinking and understanding in their mother tongue and interpreting it in English!
Point taken. Thanks.
 

 
Little Difference Between These 3 Terms
chakradhar, Manager, India, Member
@Tom : especially when we have to choose between simplicity and complexity, people often choose for complexity. There is not much difference between all of these 3 words, they're used to make it sound in a broader way and more attractive way.
 

 
Employee Induction vs Employee Orientation vs Employee Onboarding
Aejaz Ali, Student (MBA), Pakistan, Member
Induction: program is the process used within many businesses to welcome new employees to the company and prepare them for their new role.
Orientation: new employees should complete a new employment orientation program that is designed to assist them in adjusting to their jobs and work environment and to instill a positive work attitude and motivation at the onset.
Onboarding: refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.
 

 
Employee Induction vs Employee Orientation vs Employee Onboarding
David Guild, Consultant, Australia, Member
In my experience with large organizations,
- Employee Induction - is indeed a welcome to the business but is also about 7 hours of detailed information of basic oh&s, dress standards, safety requirements, legal warnings of repercussions of your actions if you break the rules.
- Employee Orientation - is in relation to the particular job to be performed, work requirements, work place, facilities(lunch room and toilets)
- Employee Onboarding - to me it is the first 3 months in Australia, where you and the employee have a right to walk away if the job does not suit either party.
 

 
Employee Induction versus Employee Orientation versus Employee Onboarding
Gil Bangalan, HR Consultant, Qatar, Member
Words do indeed mean different things to various people. I am working in the Middle East and I have been handling the function of "employee on-boarding and off-boarding."
In our context we refer to employee on-boarding as the general process of ensuring that the new employee undergoes orientation and induction and ensuring the transition into the new work and life environment.
On-boarding an employee starts with the required employment documentation, travel arrangements, meet-and-greet service, assistance in temporary and permanent residence, induction into the organization and orientation on his role and responsibilities.
The on-boarding and induction is done by the HR department, while the orientation is done by the line manager.
Induction covers familiarization with corporate vision, business ethics, policies, etc.
The new employee is also refreshed on the labor and immigration laws of the country.
Orientation would involve clarification of job expectations, etc.
 

 
Induction, Orientation and On-boarding
Ismael Ralph R. Tupaz III, HR Consultant, Philippines, Member
Hi, Tom, I understand how confusing this may seem. Based on experience and practice here:
- Induction is generally referred to as the series of processes that the company prescribes new employees / new promoted / newly transferred undergo in order to ensure that they are prepared to assume their new roles.
- The orientation for new employees is a discussion of the company's vision, mission, values, history, policies, etc.
- On-boarding on the other hand would involve preparation for the job itself which oftentimes involves training and/or coaching or orientation about the job itself.
Note that for newly transferred and newly promoted employees, there is no need for orientation but rather a properly timed on-boarding process. This can come before they assume the new role (as part of succession planing) or it can start as they assume the role.
 

 
Employee Induction, Orientation and Onboarding, Do they Mean the Same Thing?
FESTUS OMOTARA, HR Consultant, Nigeria, Member
In my view,
- Employee Induction is a kind of a training organized for a new employee to introduce him/her to a particular job or responsibilities.
- Employee Orientation is a kind of exposures or information giving to a new employee what he or she is likely to meet with.
- Employee Onboarding is an indirect method of welcoming a new employee to an organization.
 

     
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