Pre-Onboarding vs. Orientation: Understanding the Key Differences

May 18, 2024

Employee pre-onboarding and orientation are two essential components setting the stage for long-term success and engagement. Pre-onboarding lays the groundwork before hiring, ensuring a seamless transition for new hires, while orientation post-hiring fosters a welcoming environment and facilitates swift integration into the company culture. Although the words are often used interchangeably, they stand for the different stages with different goals and periods. It is imperative to grasp the gap between the pre-onboarding and the orientation to devise efficient practices for converting campus hires into a functional part of the organizational culture and optimizing their productivity from day one.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Employee Orientation: The Introduction Phase
  • Key Components of Employee Orientation
  • Employee Pre-Onboarding: The Integration Process
  • Differentiating Factors: Goals, Duration, and Metrics
  • Why Do You Need Both Orientation and Pre-Onboarding?
  • Set Up Your New Hires For Success with Techademy
  • FAQs about Pre-Onboarding vs. Orientation

Employee Pre-Onboarding: The Integration Process

Pre-onboarding includes an extended and holistic approach designed to ensure a smooth and continuous transition of campus hires into their role and the organizational culture. In contrast to orientation, which is typically a one-time event, the pre-onboarding process unfolds gradually over weeks or even months. It is specifically designed to equip candidates with the required knowledge and a comfortable environment that enables them to successfully make their place in the organization.

Key Elements of Pre-Onboarding

Skill Development and Training

The potential candidate is provided with task-specific training that may include getting acquainted with devices, software, and procedures, which are inseparable parts of their job title. This could mean attending formal training sessions, getting access to LMS, or being involved in workshops that help develop skills.

Cultural Immersion

Being associated with the team gives candidates the opportunity to grasp the company culture at the deepest level, including teamwork dynamics, communication, and collaboration management. 

Performance Feedback and Support

Reliable and consistent measures of performance are implemented to keep track of the growth of the candidates and address any concerns that might arise during the learning process. This approach adopted during the pre-onboarding phase ramps up productivity amongst potential hires from day 1 by deploying skilled freshers on tech roles.

Employee Orientation: The Introduction Phase

Employee orientation allows new employees to become acquainted with the company, its culture, and the specific details of their position. The orientation program is the helping hand provided by the employer to new employees. The session is a one-off event that is often conducted on the first day of employment or during the first week of work. The aim is to guide the employees on the necessary information that will help them settle into the organization immediately.

Key Components of Employee Orientation:

Introduction to Company Culture

New staff members are taken through an engagement session that introduces them to the background, mission, value, and overall culture of the company that will guide their journey within the organization.

Job Duties Overview

The new employee is given an overview of their duties and what is expected from them, which then gives them a clear picture of their role in the company framework.

Office Tour

An orientation tour of the workplace introduces the newcomers not only to the physical environment (halls, rooms, labs, recreation areas, etc.) but also to key resources of the workplace.

Initial Paperwork and Formalities

Administrative tasks, including filling out HR forms, granting access to company systems, and learning organizational policies and procedures, are completed.

Differentiating Factors: Goals, Duration, and Metrics

Goals and Focus

Employee orientation mainly aims to give new hires the basic information and resources needed to be more comfortable in their new roles. On the contrary, the pre-onboarding process majorly focuses on skill development and the long-term integration of a campus hire into the organization.


Traditionally, employee orientation is a relatively short event lasting from one to several days. In contrast, the process of pre-onboarding is much more prolonged, lasting from weeks to even months. With the longer duration, there is a great deal of scope for the pre-onboarding process to be more comprehensive and rewarding.


Measuring the effectiveness of both the orientation and the pre-onboarding programs is an integral part of the process and explains the space for improvements. Metrics for orientation can include completion rates, employee engagement, retention of knowledge, and learning. However, pre-onboarding indicators may include time to productivity, mastery level of required skills, and perspective of employees about the integration process.

Why Do You Need Both Orientation and Pre-Onboarding?

Contrary to what is often taken as true, orientation and pre-onboarding are meant to serve different functions in the integration of new hires. Pre-onboarding enables candidates to discover the company’s requirements and objectives, which define expectations from day one. Contrary to that, orientation leads to a comfortable environment, and there is a full understanding of the roles of each person at the workplace.

Surprisingly, 1 out of 25 new employees depart because of poor pre-onboarding experiences. Hence, structured pre-onboarding helps to avoid the loss of talent and ensure high performance. Orientation and pre-onboarding sessions together contribute immensely to having employees on the right track by synchronizing their skills, understandings and expectations with the company’s objectives and values.

Set Up Your New Hires For Success with Techademy

Get your future hires on board even before entering your team with Techademy’s help. Boost talent, maintain effectiveness from day one, and overcome the barriers in skill development. Decrease pre-onboarding time for the new hires and increase campus-hire engagement through customized Learning Before Joining content, including hands-on practice labs. Boost the potential hire’s confidence by providing them with advanced tech stacks as well as filling the skill gaps before they get to the level of application bugs.

Techademy offers customizable learning routes and expert pre-onboarding assistance, which sets the organizational machinery for success by instilling best practices and aligning skill development with corporate objectives. 

Prepare your new hires for a smooth integration with Techademy’s robust pre-onboarding process. Book a demo now!

FAQs About Pre-Onboarding vs. Orientation

Q. How do orientations and pre-onboardings complement each other in on-the-job training?

Pre-onboarding precedes the actual start date by preparing new hires, and orientation is where the new hires are formally introduced to the company culture and job role.

Completion rates and employee engagement are two widely tracked metrics for orientation. On the other hand, the pre-onboarding success ratio can be measured by metrics like time to productivity, understanding of company systems, and whether the employees like the integration process or not.

Integration of orientation and onboarding processes guarantees the new employees get the basics and long-term aids that lead to high job satisfaction, mood, and organizational commitment, which culminates in a strong corporate culture.

About The Author

About Techademy

The accelerated pace at which businesses are rushing toward digitization has primarily established that digital skills are an enabler. It has also established the ever-changing nature of digital skills, and created a need for continuous digital upskilling and reskilling to protect the workforce from becoming obsolete.

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