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Implementation vs. Onboarding — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 6, 2024
Implementation involves setting up systems or processes, focusing on technical details and configuration; onboarding introduces new users or employees, emphasizing training and integration.
Implementation vs. Onboarding — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Implementation and Onboarding


Key Differences

Implementation is a technical process that involves setting up and configuring new systems, software, or processes to ensure they function correctly. On the other hand, onboarding is about introducing new employees or users to these systems or the organizational environment, focusing on training and adjustment.
Implementation often requires a deep understanding of technology and strategic planning to integrate new solutions effectively within an existing framework. Whereas onboarding is more concerned with human elements, ensuring that new members are comfortable, well-informed, and prepared to interact with the new systems or organizational culture.
During implementation, the primary goal is to achieve operational efficiency and meet technical specifications. On the other hand, onboarding aims at human resource development, boosting morale, and fostering a supportive work atmosphere.
Implementation can be seen as a prerequisite for effective onboarding when it comes to technological tools. On the other hand, effective onboarding can significantly enhance the outcomes of implementation by ensuring users fully understand and utilize the new systems.
Implementation is usually managed by IT professionals or project managers who focus on the technical and logistical aspects of new systems. Whereas, onboarding is typically overseen by human resources or team leaders focused on people management and education.

Comparison Chart


Technical setup and configuration
Training and cultural integration

Primary Goal

Operational efficiency and functionality
Employee or user comfort and readiness

Key Participants

IT professionals, project managers
HR personnel, team leaders

Outcome Measurement

System performance, error rates
Employee retention, satisfaction


Defined by project scope
Continues as long as needed for integration

Compare with Definitions


Installation and configuration of systems.
System implementation can be complex without proper guidelines.


Introduction and adjustment of new users to a system.
Onboarding new users efficiently reduces churn rates.


The act of putting something into effect.
Implementation of the policy required careful planning.


Activities aimed at increasing newcomers' understanding of the organizational culture.
Onboarding helps new staff align with company values.


A process of executing a plan or idea.
The implementation of the new software began last Monday.


Training provided to help new hires adjust.
The onboarding program lasted two weeks.


Realization of a technical system in a live environment.
After implementation, the system underwent several tests.


The process of integrating a new employee into an organization.
The onboarding process includes several training sessions.


Technical execution of a system or policy.
The team discussed the implementation details.


Process to ensure new employees are welcomed and informed.
Good onboarding can improve employee retention.


Implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, algorithm, or policy.


Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, is management jargon first created in the 1970s that refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to become effective organizational members and insiders. In the United States, for example, up to 25% of workers are organizational newcomers engaged in an onboarding process.Tactics used in this process include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials, or computer-based orientations that outline the operations and culture of the organization that the employee is entering into.


The process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution
She was responsible for the implementation of the plan


(business) The process of bringing a new employee on board, incorporating training and orientation.


A tool, utensil, or other piece of equipment used in doing work
A gardening implement.


An article used to outfit or equip someone
Ecclesiastical implements.


A means of achieving an end; an instrument or agent.


To put into practical effect; carry out
Implement the new procedures.


To supply with implements.


The process of moving an idea from concept to reality. In business, engineering and other fields, implementation refers to the building process rather than the design process.
Now that the requirements are complete we can move on to implementation.


(electronics) A result of implementing something; a finished product, system or device.
His implementation works, but it needs some fine-tuning.


The act of accomplishing some aim or executing some order;
The agency was created for the implementation of the policy


The act of implementing (providing a practical means for accomplishing something); carrying into effect

Common Curiosities

What is the main focus of implementation?

The main focus of implementation is setting up systems or processes to ensure they operate correctly.

Who is responsible for onboarding?

Onboarding is usually handled by human resources or team leaders.

What challenges does onboarding address?

Onboarding addresses challenges related to employee adjustment, understanding of organizational culture, and training needs.

How do implementation and onboarding affect organizational efficiency?

Implementation ensures systems function efficiently, while onboarding ensures users can effectively use these systems and feel integrated within the organization.

Can implementation occur without onboarding?

Yes, implementation can occur without onboarding, especially in contexts not involving new users or employees.

What does onboarding emphasize?

Onboarding emphasizes integrating and training new employees or users to make them comfortable and proficient in their new environment.

Who typically manages implementation?

Implementation is typically managed by IT professionals or project managers.

Is onboarding necessary for all new hires?

Yes, onboarding is considered essential for all new hires to ensure a smooth transition and integration into the company.

What are common challenges in implementation?

Common challenges include technical issues, integration complexities, and meeting specific operational requirements.

How long does onboarding typically last?

Onboarding duration can vary, but it generally continues until the new employee or user feels fully integrated and competent.

How long does implementation usually take?

The duration of implementation varies widely depending on the scope of the project and the systems involved.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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