Three Tips that Will Make Onboarding Paperwork Easier for New Employees

Posted Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 by Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

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Woman standing in flying paperwork

Not so long ago, pre-employment paperwork consisted of three forms: Employment application, which was a printed two-sided piece of card stock, Federal tax withholding W-4 form and a state tax withholding form, That was it. Form I-9 was added as a required document a couple of years later, and E-Verify wasn’t even a twinkle in a regulator’s eye. At some companies, before the Kronos era began, the only paperwork new hires had to complete was a paper timecard. So many changes have happened for employee paperwork requirements in just the last 25 years due to technology and local, state and federal requirements.

The “Dreaded” First Day Paperwork

For a fresh college graduate starting their first job today, running the onboarding gamut can be as daunting as a mortgage agreement. The onboarding paperwork experience includes the application, authorizations and disclosures, background screening and verification, drug screening, federal tax withholding, state tax withholding, medical insurance forms, 401K, short-term and long-term disability, voluntary disclosure of disability, COBRA acknowledgement, non-compete agreement, employee handbook agreement, direct deposit, emergency contact, wage theft, EEO agreement and more! It is a lot of paperwork.

For new employees, completing the large amount of paperwork, whether electronic or paper, is a daunting task. When filling out paper forms, college graduates described the experience as one requiring an appointment, where they were locked in a conference room with someone from HR, not understanding what was required on certain forms, and not having all of the required information with them to complete the tasks. Does this sound familiar?

Don’t Be Non-Compliant

To ease the onboarding process, organizations and HR need to consider the growing regulatory environment that we are in today and the mountains of required documentation. There are plenty of ways to be out of compliance, government or corporate. Below are just a few possible problems:

  • Use an out-of-date form or miss a form altogether
  • Overlook an employee walking away with vital intellectual property without a non-compete on file
  • Fail to meet the requests of an Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit and suffer fines

Three Onboarding Paperwork Tips

So what is an HR professional to do? Plenty! The three onboarding paperwork tips listed below will help an HR team reduce the amount of paper clutter their files as well as improve the job seeker’s candidate experience.

  1. Switch to electronic forms: If you’re still using paper, it is time to move your onboarding paperwork into an electronic process. This provides consistency, ensures the required forms are completed on time with the right information and in the right sequence and provides you with a permanent digital record. It also helps make information easier to search for and share across locations. Digital Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions are an essential part of any business’ onboarding process. In today’s HR world, having an onboarding platform that can manage the entire I-9 process from start to finish, including form completion, data migration, validation, audit, remediation and storage is crucial to saving time for the HR team.
  2. Complete the paperwork at home: Give your new hires the option to complete their onboarding paperwork at home before their first day. Every day new employees are asked to make critical, potentially life-altering choices on their first day, with only seconds to think about it and without access to key resources to make an informed decision. Additionally, for forms regarding healthcare and life insurance, most people don’t have dependents’ or beneficiary’s social security numbers with them, making these nearly impossible to fill out in a conference room setting. Letting your new hires complete their forms at their own pace before they start their job enables them to ask questions among experts within their own circle, find required information and also means less time for the HR representative in a conference room. For HR professionals, one of the most dreaded questions when helping an employee with their onboarding paperwork is, how many deductions should I write down? HR teams are many things, but a tax accountant is not one of them! Leave the tax questions to the tax experts!
  3. Patience, patience, patience: Lastly, be patient with your new hires. The top four positive stressful events (is there really such a thing as positive stress?) are: buying a home, getting married, having children, and starting a new job. New college graduates rely on their parents for help complete the new hire paperwork. HR professionals live and breathe the important onboarding forms every day. They know the difference between a W-4, a W-9 and a Form I-9 and they have the Form I-9 List A, B, and C document requirements memorized. Your new bright-eyed candidate may have never completed these forms in their life. Always look at things from their perspective, and remember there is no such thing as a stupid question!

Sterling Talent Solutions offers compliant, paperless onboarding so HR teams can breathe easier while providing new hires an awesome hiring experience. Employees decide within their first year to stay with a company. Therefore it is critical candidates have a positive experience through the many steps of the hiring process. Learn how to transform the final hiring step, onboarding, from a cumbersome process to one that engages talent from the beginning by downloading Your Complete Guide to Onboarding From Decision to Day One.

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This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.