The difference between integration and guidance
Onboarding and Orientation are two processes that HR departments undertake after hiring an employee. They both provide resources to the new hire and familiarize them with the organization. Many people confuse integration with guidance, or use them interchangeably. However, these are two different – and important – processes.
What is integration?
Onboarding is the process of introducing a new employee to your organization through a series of integrated tasks. These tasks allow employees to better understand their new roles and responsibilities within the company. Integration can be done in a few days; however, employees will generally continue the onboarding process for at least the first few months they are employed. Onboarding initiatives may include preparing materials for new employees, receiving on-the-job training, learning company policies, and reviewing the employee handbook.
“It’s important that leadership sends the message from the moment new employees are onboarded that their success is the success of the business,” said Stephen Kohler, CEO and Founder of Audira Labs. “This means that companies with remote employees have to work hard to find opportunities to connect with their new colleagues both in a professional and personal sense.”
What is orientation?
Workplace orientation gives the employee the opportunity to learn where they will work, what their working environment will be like and how to navigate their workspace. In addition, they will be introduced to their new managers and colleagues. Referrals can be for individual employees, or departments can have several new hires go through the same process together.
The orientation will likely also include a tour of the company’s facilities and a review of all perks, including parking, gym access, and dining options. Employees also have an overview of the responsibilities of their function and have the opportunity to ask questions of an HR representative or to meet their manager. Orientation can last from a few hours to a few days, depending on the company and the role of the employee.
What is the difference between integration and orientation?
Guidance and integration may have similar goals at first glance. However, the main difference between onboarding and guidance is that guidance is a shorter part of the overall onboarding process, which can take months to a year.
Orientation is a time to generally familiarize the new employee with the vision and values of the company. It also allows them to meet new colleagues and visit their workspace. On the other hand, onboarding features a series of events that provide more details on things like job training, best practices, and company policies.
Basics of integration
What are the advantages of integration?
Here are the advantages of taking the time to integrate a new employee:
- Positive employee experience: The way you treat a new hire can set the tone for their work experience. Onboarding an employee correctly, including training them to succeed in their new role, advising them on the company’s expectations and checking them regularly, creates a positive experience.
- Increased engagement: Familiarizing a new employee with the values, ethics and mission of the company can improve their connection with the organization. Throughout the onboarding, have the new team member learn the ropes from an existing employee. It can also help set goals for increased recognition.
- Higher employee retention rate: For companies, it is important to pay attention to what satisfies the employees in order to reduce turnover. If you start a new hire with a solid onboarding experience, they are more likely to stay with the company as they assimilate into the culture and expectations of the company.
- Increased recruitment: First impressions are everything when it comes to new hires. If an employee is unhappy with their onboarding experience, they will let other potential employees know. However, a positive onboarding experience can lead them to recommend their connections to your company, thereby attracting top talent.
- Strong corporate culture: Corporate culture centers on hiring people who match your organization’s values and goals. Investing in onboarding allows employees to integrate more easily into the culture of the company.
- Increase in productivity: It may take a few months for a new employee to fully understand the business and adapt to their new role. Integration enables increased productivity by helping them acclimatize to their new environment and letting them know what is expected of them.
What does the onboarding process include?
Over a period of time, the onboarding process will include the following tasks:
- Explain in detail the role of the new hire and provide any applicable training
- Familiarize the employee with his colleagues and managers through icebreaker exercises, a team lunch or meetings
- Monitor the employee regularly and frequently on how they are adjusting to their new role and what resources you can provide for a smooth transition
- Guide the employee through benefits, employee handbook training, and company policy training
- Ensure the employee understands all company devices or software to which they now have access and answer any questions regarding their configuration
Basics of guidance
What are the advantages of guidance?
Here are the benefits of providing a good orientation to new employees:
- It cuts costs and increases productivity. Employee orientation allows new employees to familiarize themselves with their new tasks, reducing overall expenses without losing additional productivity. Orientation typically takes place in a classroom setting, where HR representatives can greet and introduce multiple employees at a time.
- It alleviates the nervousness of the first day. Good orientation helps new employees become familiar with company procedures and operations before they are called upon to assume their new role.
- It reduces staff turnover. As with onboarding, a good orientation from day one shows the new employee how valuable their role is within the company. Having this sense of purpose can increase employee engagement and lead to lower turnover. In addition, the directions provide an overview of the necessary tools and resources available to help new employees settle into their new roles, preparing them for success.
- It saves time for the company. Managers and other employees may simply not have the time to provide each new employee with an overview of the company. The orientation allows to acquire a general knowledge of the services, the expectations of the company and the overall working environment. Supervisors can then build on these basic lessons instead of starting from scratch.
What does orientation include?
A direction will generally include the following initiatives:
- Present the values, mission and culture of the company, mainly through a virtual presentation or preview
- Provide documents to be completed by the employee, including policy overviews, emergency contact forms and checklists for new employees
- Offer information on benefits like life insurance, health insurance and retirement benefits
- Review health and safety policies and procedures, such as company policy on illness and all emergency procedures
- Provide a company ID and demonstrate how to use company equipment and devices relevant to their role
Efficient onboarding and referral in the age of remote work
With more and more companies adopting a virtual recruiting process, it is essential to ensure that these processes receive the same dedication as on-boarding and in-person orientation. Paychex survey shows managers find video recordings, group conferences and shared documents to be the most effective methods with new employees. The employees surveyed chose their preferences such as Wiki links, group video calls, and shared documents. [Read related article: How to Remotely Onboard New Employees During COVID-19]
The majority of employees have found greater satisfaction through onboarding and in-person training. The drawbacks of virtual processes included technical issues and difficulties in engaging with the office culture. While these issues can be difficult to avoid, remote integration has some advantages. In fact, 46% of survey respondents appreciated the possibility of individually adapting to their own pace, while 42% appreciated the flexibility.