Employee Onboarding Process: New Hire Paperwork Checklist

Employee Onboarding Process: New Hire Paperwork Checklist

So you’ve spent the last few days or even weeks looking for the right candidates for some vacant positions in your company. After some back and forth discussions, you’ve finally persuaded some individuals to accept your offer. Bravo! However, before the ink dries on the contract form, the new hires end up quitting for greener landscapes.

If you’re a business owner, you’re probably familiar with the above scenario. Apparently, you’re not alone. A report by Psychology Today says that 33% of new employees quit in 90 days. According to 43% of the employees who quit say that their everyday role was not what they were led to believe it would be during the hiring process.

These facts, coupled with how time-consuming and costly hiring new employees can be, make meticulous and considerate employee onboarding more important than ever. If you are hearing of “onboarding” just now and are wondering what it is and how you can leverage its benefits, read on.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of introducing new hires/employees to the important aspects of your organization, people, culture, and values. From learning their way around to training to socializing, all these activities are part of the onboarding experience. In other words, it’s an important process for making new employees feel comfortable in their new roles, learn the types of behaviors are expected from them and recognize how their roles impact the company.

Before a new employee’s first day at work, you should prepare a series of agreements and forms to properly onboard them. While some of these documents are optional, some are required by labor law. The documents that you should consider are:

1. Job Application Form

Even if the new employees have presented their resumes, you’ll need to collect their job application forms. Some states have explicit requirements for statements that must be included in all employment applications. Be sure to keep the job application forms for at least a year after hiring.

2. Copy of the Social Security Number

As a general practice, employees should ask applicants for their Social Security numbers only when absolutely necessary. For instance, you can ask for the SSN when carrying out a background check before offering employment. After offering employment, you will need the Social Security number for payroll and benefits purposes. After collecting your new hire’s SSNs, you should put safeguards in place to keep them confidential

3. Signed Copy of W-4 Form

The W-4 form is an important piece of document that is a must in the employee onboarding process. The form is used to work out how much federal income tax you need to withhold from your employee’s paycheck. Be sure to use the latest version of the form for new employees. Also, ensure that your existing employees use the most recent version to update their W-4 forms from time to time in case of a change in tax law, family size, bonus, etc.

4. Signed Copy of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form

Form I-9 is a crucial document that is used to identify persons authorized to work in the United States. New hires will need to provide this document to confirm that they can legally work in the U.S. Besides confirming work eligibility, Form I-9 also includes a handy list of acceptable forms of ID. You can make the verification process easier by signing up for the E-Verify system, which matches up the information on the Form I-9 with federal databases.

5. Direct Deposit Form

According to a Nacha Report, 82 percent of U.S. workers are paid using direct deposit via ACH. If you’re hiring independent contractors or you intend to make payments to your new employees electronically, you will need them to provide you with a direct deposit form each. Direct deposit forms should include the following information:

  • Name of the account holder
  • Bank account number
  • Type of account
  • Bank name and address
  • Routing number

Note that direct deposit is not only used for paying wages, but it also has many other purposes. For instance, it can be used for insurance claim payments, investment distributions, expense reimbursements, retirement benefits, and tax refunds.

6. Employment Contract

An employment contract, also referred to as an employment agreement or contract of employment, is a signed agreement between the employer and the employee that establishes both the rights and responsibilities of the two parties. This type of document should stipulate the following:

  • The agreed-upon wages, salary, or commission
  • Days and hours the employee is expected to work
  • Duration of employment or length of time the employee is expected to work
  • General duties and responsibilities the employee is expected to fulfill
  • All benefits promised to the employee, including, but not limited to 401K, health insurance, and vacation time, among other perks

The employment agreement may also include a number of internal forms that you should use to establish your relationship with your employees. These forms include:

  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Job analysis forms
  • Security and confidentiality agreements
  • Alcohol and drug test consent agreements
  • Employee invention forms
  • Employee equipment inventory lists

Immediately after hiring new employees, you should make sure that they sign the employment contract and all of the internal forms.

7. Employee Benefits Documents

While the employment contract lists all the benefits that the employees should expect from the company, employers must give new hires paperwork that describes the terms and conditions. The most common employee benefits include:

  • Health and life insurance
  • Mobile plan
  • Disability insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Stock options
  • Vacation policies
  • Sick leave, etc

You should give out the employee benefits documents to the new hires and ensure that they are duly signed.

As an employer, you have a responsibility to keep your employees’ personal data safe. This means that you should put measures in place to ensure that the documents you collect are kept safely to prevent the wrong people from accessing sensitive information.


Every company should aim to make their employee onboarding process as flawless and seamless as possible. With an automated onboarding process, the new hires will get a dose of motivation to explore their new organizational territory, making new friends, and understanding the company’s values.

Whether it’s collecting important documents or creating new hire forms, you should ensure that you won’t make mistakes that will make the new employees want to quit before they even get started.

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