New hires at a company have a lot of phases they have to go through before they can become full-fledged employees. New hire paperwork is one of the formalities. It’s also a tedious one for both new candidates and HR personnel.
Some paperwork, though, is needed (by law), making it mandatory. This doesn’t mean that paperwork is boring. As paperwork can fulfill purposes other than having agreements signed, which is why it should be a part of a good onboarding experience as training.
To help you bring in talented employees and onboard them in the best way possible, here are some new hire paperwork pointers for new employees.
Everything You Should Know About New Hire Paperwork
Your new hire forms should consist of several documents. Some of them are agreements that employees sign, while others are legal documents, used to comply with local, state, and federal employment law.
While, the number of HR documents for new employees (other than the mandatory ones), depends on your company specifications.
Legal (Tax and Labor Compliance) Paperwork
Several government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor, all require compliance with their regulations. This is mandatory for each new addition to your workforce.
These agencies have form guidelines (for income tax and related obligations) on their websites. These guidelines can help you create a set of legal documents, while the HR department handles company-specific paperwork.
Documents such as the company policy forms, and the employee handbook, are unique for each company. You can send these to employees over the course of onboarding.
Gradually sending in the paperwork will make employees feel like they’re progressing through the stages of becoming a member of your team. It will also ensure that your employees are not overwhelmed with all the paperwork on their first day.
If you have a centralized database for all employee information, store all the company-specific paperwork in it, paired with employee profiles.
A Complete Checklist for New Hire Paperwork
Here are some of new hire paperwork checklist to remember when putting together paperwork for new hires:
1. Contract of Employment
As the name suggests, this confirms a candidate as an employee at your company. You should send this employment contract along with the job offer. That way, you don’t have to sit with the employee and have them sign paperwork when you can devote that time in discussing ideas and growth strategies.
The contract of employment should include:
- Information about the position
- The total length of employment
- Role and responsibilities
- Salary and benefits
- Possible conditions for termination
You should also include all necessary legal documents and tax forms, such as:
- Form W-4
- State Tax Withholding forms
- I-9 forms
- Employment eligibility verification
- Various e-verify and e-signature systems
The tax employee forms should cover the federal income tax, R&D Tax Credit, SR&ED Tax Credit, background checks, and compliance for worker’s compensation laws.
If you're interested in learning more about these forms, then check out our HR Certification Courses.
2. Internal Company Forms
These forms help build a professional relationship with new employees.
Your company’s internal forms should include:
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDA)
- Non-compete clause
- Confidentiality and security employment agreement
- Drug/alcohol and criminal record policies
- Employee handbooks
3. Direct Deposit Form and Employee Benefits Documents
Your new hire paperwork should state the salary and benefits you’re offering, as well as, their terms and conditions.
Regardless of your company size and/or scope, here are some benefits you must offer:
- Life and health insurance
- Stock and shares in the company
- Mobile and/or home internet plan
- Health and fitness-related benefits (Yoga/gym memberships, nutrition guidance, etc.)
- Sick and bereavement leaves and paid time off
- Tuition and student loan reimbursement
- Employee incentive programs
- Employee's bank account information
As you add more employees, you can start offering 401(k) retirement plans, disability insurance, extended medical leaves, and other perks.
4. Employee Data for Emergencies
Collect all the relevant personal details from new hires. This will help you with background checks and you can use the data in case of emergencies.
Employee data form can include:
- Emergency contacts
- Medical history
- Known aversions and/or allergies (lactose intolerant, gluten-intolerant, pollen allergies, etc.)
- Social security number
- Driver's License (is applicable)
Make sure you don’t sound like you’re fishing for more information. This is very off-putting for new employees, and makes it look like the company doesn’t trust them from the get-go. Remember to let them know why you need the information (without mentioning background checks).
New Hire Paperwork and Streamlining the Onboarding Process
If your company already has insufficient resources to spend on a full HR department, chances are, the prospect of creating all this paperwork is daunting, to say the least. Moreover, the onboarding of all new hires adds to the responsibilities.
The following are some pointers you can follow to make sure you set up a very streamlined onboarding process for each new hire, while also keeping the effort put into drafting detailed paperwork, at a minimum.
Local, State, and Federal Labor Laws and Regulations
If you know the law, then it is easier for you to abide by it. You also won’t have to draft excessive paperwork. Plus, you won't need to worry much if independent authorities or government agencies suddenly audit your company.
Keep a close eye on changing federal law and regulations, and if there is a change, alter those provisions in your paperwork.
Put Together New Employee Forms Early On
Before the employee completes their onboarding and becomes a functioning member of your company, they should have signed off on the paperwork. Make sure you don’t wait until after the onboarding process to have them sign off on any HR documents for new employees.
At times, such a delay can distract them from their responsibilities and give them the impression that you weren’t sure about having them on board - while you were onboarding them.
Therefore, once they're done with the onboarding process, all these mandatory processes are over.
Keep All Employment Data in a Centralized Location
You must prep your employees' paperwork and ready to hand out to each new employee, instead of you putting together a new set for each new hire. You can do it by creating templates, and keeping them in a centralized location for easy access.
This will also keep all the data within easy reach in case you need to produce it during an audit, or if you’re looking to promote or transfer an employee.
Utilize HR Software
HR management software is the modern answer to having a traditional HR team in place. The HR software of today can take over the entire human resources department, other than factors like culture management. In addition, you can use them for tax purposes (to fill out and pay tax dues). We recommend checking out Gusto as they have a 1 month free trial.
Use HR software to store and provide multiple levels of access to employment paperwork. The HR software used for such application operates in a single database, and stores all the files in one place. Provide your employees access to this database and set their data clearance level to prevent any misuse.
Your new hires should feel welcome, and not burdened with obligations as soon as they join.
Make sure your paperwork reflects that, and doesn't put your new hires off. It will not just leave a bad impression of the company, but also helps candidates from trusting you with their information in the future.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.