Onboarding. Turning the tables on the traditional induction.

Orientation and Induction

Rightly or wrongly, the terms ‘orientation’ and ‘induction’ have been used interchangeably in HR circles to describe the process of introducing a new recruit to the organisation.

For at least 30 years, a typical employee induction/orientation has been a conference-style event bringing together new hires from different departments across an organisation. The format has largely consisted of a series of presentations delivered by the company’s leaders, HR group or long-term employees about various topics including:

  • A welcome and introduction to the company culture, mission, vision, and values;
  • An overview of the organisational structure;
  • A review of workplace policies and benefits;
  • An overview of the administrative procedures eg timesheets, leave applications, security access, computer logins;
  • Employee paperwork;
  • A guided tour of relevant areas of the business.

If you’re ready to turn the tables on the ‘old-school’ induction process and fast-track your new starters to full productivity, download our whitepaper, The Business Case for an Employee Onboarding System today.

Business Case Whitepaper for Onboarding PDF

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After orientation and induction, new hires would usually then return to their workplace or team for specific job related training.

One of the major criticisms about orientation and induction is that what started out as an initiative to address decreasing employee loyalty and commitment in the 70’s and 80’s, just became a ritual. A sheep-dipping, info dumping, ritual. Nobody fully understood how much benefit orientation and induction processes yielded; and, in the absence of a better idea, just kept running them.

But 30 years is a long time to be doing the same thing without a good reason…

Onboarding. Turning the tables on the traditional induction.


Over the last decade, solid empirical research has finally shed light on the subject. As a result, we have seen more and more businesses move away from traditional orientation and induction formats to a more engaging and positive experience under a new name – Onboarding.

Onboarding has brought with it a greater focus on the individual than ever before; a deeper understanding of how a person’s personal preferences and characteristics can be accommodated by an organisation, and how improved role clarity, social acceptance, and knowledge of the culture can positively impact a new employee’s effectiveness and productivity.

How is onboarding different to traditional orientation and induction?

Unlike traditional orientations and inductions, onboarding supports new hires to ensure they: master key skills; meet performance expectations; establish goals for the future; have adapted to the culture; and, are fitting in and working well with their colleagues and business partners.

Here is a breakdown of the major points of difference:

Orientation/Inductions vs. Onboarding

Research has consistently shown that onboarding produces valuable outcomes including higher job satisfaction, greater employee commitment, and better performance results. Employers who have implemented onboarding have experienced as much as a 50% increase in new hire retention and 54% greater new hire productivity. [1]


[1] Lombardie, Mollie. Onboarding 2011: The Path to Productivity