What is an Orientation Period?

An ‘orientation period,’ also known as an ‘onboarding period’ or ‘probationary period,’ refers to a specific timeframe during which a new employee joins an organisation and undergoes initial training, orientation, and integration into their new role and the company culture.

The orientation period serves several important purposes:

Introduction to the organisation: It provides an opportunity for the new employee to become familiar with the organisation’s mission, values, policies, procedures, and overall work environment. This includes understanding the company’s history, structure, vision, and key stakeholders.

Job-specific training: The orientation period involves providing job-specific training to the new employee, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job effectively. This may involve training sessions, shadowing experienced colleagues, or utilising online learning resources.

Clarifying roles and expectations: The orientation period helps the new employee understand their role within the organisation, their responsibilities, and performance expectations. They learn about their reporting structure, team dynamics, and the resources available to them.

Integration and relationship-building: The orientation period offers an opportunity for the new employee to get to know their colleagues, supervisors, and other key team members. It includes introductions, team-building activities, and fostering connections to facilitate a smooth integration into the workplace.

Reviewing policies and benefits: The orientation period typically involves providing information about company policies, procedures, and employee benefits. This may include discussions about leave policies, performance evaluation processes, code of conduct, and access to company resources.

Addressing questions and concerns: The orientation period allows the new employee to ask questions, seek clarifications, and address any concerns they may have about their role, responsibilities, or the organisation as a whole. This promotes a supportive and open environment for the new employee.

The duration of the orientation period can vary depending on the organisation and the complexity of the role. It may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, or even months for more specialised positions.

At the end of the orientation period, the employee and their supervisor typically have a formal evaluation or check-in to assess the employee’s progress, provide feedback, and determine if any additional support or training is required. This evaluation may influence the confirmation of the employee’s employment status beyond the probationary period.

The orientation period plays a crucial role in setting the foundation for a new employee’s success within the organisation. It helps them understand the organisation’s culture, values, and expectations, enabling them to integrate smoothly into their role and contribute effectively to the team and the organisation as a whole.