Orientation is the process of bringing employees up to speed on organisational policies, job roles and responsibilities and other organisational attributes and concepts that will help them transition efficiently into the position. In larger companies, and for roles with greater responsibilities, the orientation process may include time spent in several departments as well as specialist learning programmes.
Orientation is linked to the term onboarding. While the terms are technically synonymous, onboarding may imply a richer experience that requires greater resources from the company and also places more weight on intangible organisational culture as well as traditional policies and behaviours. The process may start earlier (even before the new employee has started), end later, and use innovative methods of learning such as eLearning systems.
Also compare with induction.