HR Glossary  /  Recruitment and Hiring  /  Orientation


What is orientation?

Orientation is a part of the employee onboarding process in which a new hire is provided information concerning policies and procedures, occupational health and safety, job tasks and responsibilities, and organizational culture. 

What happens during an employee orientation? 

Orientation involves having the new employee complete administrative tasks, tour the workplace if the employee is working onsite, review any mandatory policies, and complete necessary and legislated training courses. Orientation generally includes an introduction to the company’s structure, mission, values, and culture, as well as a health and safety component. 

What is the difference between orientation and onboarding? 

Orientation is typically a one-time event and generally takes place during the first few weeks of employment. Although the onboarding process includes an orientation, onboarding takes place over several months as new hires are introduced to and integrated into the organization. Orientation is generally handled by human resources, while the employee’s direct supervisor is largely responsible for onboarding. 

What does health and safety orientation include? 

All workers in Canada should receive health and safety orientation that covers their rights and responsibilities and includes training on general health and safety, workplace violence and harassment, and WHMIS if necessary in their role. Health and safety orientation should cover hazard and incident reporting procedures, the location of health and safety information and documents, workplace-specific health and safety rules, job-specific hazards, safe working procedures, controls and safeguards, and required PPE. Employees should also be shown the location of first aid facilities and get a review of procedures for reporting illness or injury and emergency preparedness. A member of the organization’s HR or health and safety department may provide some of this training, while job-specific aspects should be provided by the employee’s supervisor or manager. 

Should every employee receive an orientation? 

Yes. To make sure your employees receive the information and training they need, you should implement a new hire training checklist and check out the variety of online training courses that HRdownloads offers.  For Ontario employees, there are mandatory courses for all employees.

Orientation resources available:

HRdownloads’ customers have access to the following orientation resources for new hires:

  • Orientation Policy  
  • New Worker Orientation Checklist 
  • Orientation Checklist – (this goes through the administrative steps up to probation) 
  • Safety Orientation Checklist  
  • New Hire Training Checklist 
  • Training catalogue/offerings 

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