Must-dos when hiring new employees
Learn what steps to take when hiring a new employee.
The new hire process does not end when your new employee accepts his or her offer of employment. There are a number of important steps you should take – both before and after your new employee begins work – to help ensure a smooth transition into the new job. In addition, federal and state laws require employers to collect and report certain information about new hires.
Consider the following "must-dos" to help a new employee hit the ground running.
Prepare for the new employee's arrival
Plan appropriately to make sure your new employee has everything he or she needs to get off to a productive start on the first day of work. The employee's work station should be neat and organized to make him or her feel welcome. Arrange for the employee to have appropriate computer, email and telephone access, as well as any necessary security items (such as a building code, identification card or parking pass).
It is also a good idea to let your current employees know that a new person will be joining your team. Encourage others in your company to welcome and support your new employee to help him or her settle in and become acquainted with the company culture. If possible, take your new employee to lunch or hold a small welcome gathering in the workplace to build a sense of team.
Complete necessary paperwork
Once your new employee begins work, one of your most important responsibilities is to complete certain paperwork required under federal and state law. Key requirements include the following:
Verifying employment eligibility. All employers must verify that each new employee is eligible to work in the U.S. by completing a Form I-9 within three business days of the date employment begins. Completed Forms I-9 must be kept on file for all current employees. For terminated employees, Forms I-9 must be kept for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of the employee's termination, whichever is later.
Income tax withholding. Each new employee should complete and give you a signed Form W-4, when he or she starts work. This will allow you to determine how much federal income tax to withhold from the employee's wages. In addition to Form W-4, be sure to have your new employee complete any tax forms that may be required under state law.
New hire reporting. Employers must report new employees to a designated state new hire registry within 20 days of the date of hire (or sooner, depending on the state). Many states accept a copy of Form W-4 with certain information added by the employer. New hire reports are matched against child support records at the state and national levels to locate parents who owe child support.
Remind new hires to bring appropriate documentation needed for these forms, such as drivers' licenses, Social Security cards, Permanent Resident cards ("green cards"), and/or passports, when they report for their first day of work.
Conduct new employee orientation
Regardless of the size of your company, new employee orientation (also called onboarding) is a good way to familiarize new hires with your workplace and educate them about important policies.
Use the following topics as a starting point for developing your orientation program:
Welcome. Show your new employee around the workplace, being sure to point out emergency exits, bathrooms, break rooms and other areas the employee may need to access. Stop along the way to introduce managers and other team members. Distribute building keys and any required employee identification.
Company rules. Explain your expectations when it comes to hours of work (including any notice required in the event of absence or tardiness), meal and rest periods, dress code, and telephone and computer use. Provide a copy of your employee handbook or other written materials describing your policies in detail.
Pay and benefits. Provide your new employee with information regarding time sheets, wage payment timing, direct deposit, health insurance and any other benefits, such as paid vacation, that he or she will be offered. Distribute any necessary paperwork (such as a benefits package) and let the employee know who can answer questions about payroll and benefits.
Job requirements and training. Review the employee's responsibilities and arrange for any necessary training with respect to technology, safety and any other special skills that will help him or her perform successfully.
Finally, give your new employee time to settle in and follow up several times during the first few weeks to address any questions or concerns that come up. Be sure that your new hire process complies with applicable federal and state laws, and consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney if you have questions.
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