top of page


192.expand knowledge.png

Onboarding and Retention: Making A Strong First Impression

In the HR world, first impression matters – particularly in the case for new hires. When a new employee walks through your office doors, consider the impression that HR wants to create.

Do you want to give off an open and welcoming culture? Or an environment that is professional and sophisticated? Whatever the impression that you are aiming for, the first few interactions with your new employee will ultimately determine their impression of the organisation. Most organisations tend to deliver in terms of the first impression, but fall short when it comes to keeping high engagement levels amongst employees.

Why onboarding matters to retention

According to a research paper The True Cost of a Bad Hire published by Glassdoor, it found that organisations with a strong onboarding process improve their new hire retention rate by 82%. The research also found that organisations with weak onboarding programs tend to lose the confidence of their candidates and these candidates are likely to leave within their first year.

A strong onboarding program has long-term impact on new hires and employees. Research from Professor Talya N. Bauer indicated that more than half of organisations (52%) perceive effective onboarding as a way to improve retention rates. In summary, a robust onboarding program helps to retain your top talents.

Here are some best practices based on the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) to developing a robust onboarding program to create a strong first impression on your new hires – by following the four C’s: Compliance, Clarification, Culture and Connection.


The first key step is to ensure that paperwork is properly set up for new hires before their first day of work. More often than not, new hires spend their entire first day of work settling administrative paperwork such as setting up the payment structures, completing numerous onboarding documents, going through the organisation’s policies and procedures. These should all be provided and settled before the new hire’s first day of work. That way, they can effectively spend their first day interacting with their team members and learning the ropes of their new role.


It is crucial that your new hire knows in detail what his or her job scope entails, expectations of the role, how their role fits into the broader organisation structure and when key milestones occur. They should also know who to reach out to should they have any questions. While your new hire is likely to clarify numerous questions and doubts during their first year, remember that it is never too early to recognise them for their efforts and successes. Early recognition can help your new hires to feel included and engaged right away.


Onboarding is the best time for your new hire to get acquainted with your organisation’s culture and values in terms of desired behaviours and core values and how your organisation stands out amongst its peers. Communicating the organisation’s overall brand is key to engaging your new hires.


Finally, building an in-depth connection with employees is essential to making a strong first impression on employees. For instance, instead of merely having quick meet-and-greet sessions, arrange for coffee sessions with new hires, which can help to facilitate team bonding. Similarly, celebrating milestone achievements as a team can help to create a sense of inclusivity.

Ideally, onboarding should not be limited to a certain timeframe such as a week or a month, whereby new hires are “forced” to absorb the organisation’s culture, behaviour and team’s working style within the stipulated period. While the onboarding period for each new hire may differ based on the individual roles and responsibilities, it should ideally be at least 90 days. During this period, it is imperative for both HR and line managers to include onboarding best practices such as assigning a buddy for the new hire and have regular check-ins to understand his or her progress. Regardless of how well your organisation is able to retain top talents, there will certainly always be room for improvements and for your organisation to tap into deeper levels of engagement.

If you like our content, remember to subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive the latest tips, articles, tools and exclusive promotions for payroll & HR professionals conveniently in your inbox!


bottom of page