An employee's training and development begins with orientation, an initial phase whereby a new employee learns organizational goals and strategies, job responsibilities, and organizational policies. The objectives of orientation are to learn job procedures, establish relationships with coworkers, and gain a feeling of belonging.

Orientation gives new employees exposure to three different types of information:

  • Organizational information
  • Policies, procedures, and benefits.
  • Work context

Successful orientation programs generally include the following factors:

  • Active rather than passive participation by new employees
  • Orientation spread out over a period of time
  • Use of orientation checklists to ensure that all important material is covered
  • Avoidance of information overload


Onboarding refers to the process of new employee assimilation, which often lasts up to six months or a year.  Onboarding is an expansion of the initial orientation whereby HR professionals, the hiring manager peers and others are involved in learning more about the new employees and further integrating them inot the organization and around areas such as:

  • Organizational culture and norms
  • Organizational goals and objectives.
  • Specific functional areas in the organization
  • Departmental and job expectations.
  • Available work resources and tools.
  • Mentor or "buddy" options.
  • Performance management systems.
  • Work/Life balance and support resources.