Orientation Is Not Onboarding: The Difference Makes a Big Difference

After months of screening resumes and interviewing candidates, you found the perfect person to fill your position. You’ve negotiated and had an offer accepted. Now what? If you spend some time giving your new hire a thorough orientation, (which generally includes providing basic information about the library, its policies, procedures, and work environment) you’re off to a good start. What’s next? Do you show the person to their office, say, “Let me know if you have any questions,” and then leave them to fend for themselves? If you do, you’re in big trouble. If you stop with orientation, you haven’t gone far enough to ensure your new hire will be successful in their role at the library. Chances are that the person will not stay at the library for very long. 

Managers must understand that orientation serves as an introduction. It sets the stage, but it is not onboarding. This article explains that “onboarding is a more comprehensive and long-term process that aims to integrate new employees into the organization and ensure their success in their roles. It extends beyond the initial days or weeks and can last from a few months to a year, depending on the organization’s complexity and the nature of the job.” The article provides examples of effective employee orientation and onboarding processes that organizations can implement to foster a positive and productive start for their new employees. This second article describes the benefits of providing new employees with exceptional onboarding experiences. The article asserts that an overwhelming majority of people who had a highly effective onboarding experience felt very engaged in their work, had strong clarity about their roles, were more likely to feel committed to their new organization, and were more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs, resulting in the possibility of long-term retention. The article offers ten onboarding activities that will help ensure every new employee feels as if they fit into your organization and that they made the right decision to work at your particular library.