The Checklist Every Small Business Owner Needs for New Hires

Growing your business to the point that you need to start hiring employees is exciting. However, it can be challenging to hire the right people and small businesses face additional challenges when it comes to compliance, cash flow, and keeping operations on track. Use this new hire checklist to make your onboarding process as smooth as possible:

1. Obtain the new hire’s ID, work eligibility, and tax withholding forms in order before you do anything else.

Make a copy of the employee’s government-issued photo ID and confirm that the new hire is eligible to work in the United States. This requires completing an I-9 form and checking with the government database that it’s valid. Neglecting to collect an I-9 at the time of onboarding can result in fines worth $375-$16,000 per violation, with another $100-$1,100 per violation if you fail to produce a valid I-9 for each employee at the time of inspection.

In order to make sure that the employee’s paychecks are calculated correctly from the first payroll period onward, you will need to collect a Form W-4. If your state and/or city has income taxes, you will also need state and local withholding forms. This is particularly important if your organization hires talent from multiple states, such as the greater New York City and Philadelphia areas. This is also the ideal time to complete direct deposit forms.

2. Order a background check.

If your newly hired employee has committed a crime in the past that is relevant to their job, i.e. an inventory manager committing larceny, you may be held liable for your employees’ actions and deemed negligent in the hiring process. You may not need every piece of information that comes up in a background check, but it can help ensure the safety and security of your clients, staff, and other stakeholders.

3. Enroll the employee in any benefit programs offered.

Even if there’s a grace period involved, it’s best to onboard new hires into any benefit programs immediately. As a result, neither of you will have to be inconvenienced by manual enrollment in the future. Health insurance and retirement benefits are the most crucial benefits for immediate enrollment.  If you offer any other programs like pre-tax transit passes, flex accounts, and wellness plans (e.g. gym memberships), you also need to get the new hire enrolled or leave instructions on how to do so.

4. Walk the new hire through your business processes, policies and procedures.

Once all the relevant government and payroll forms have been completed and you’re ready to proceed, the next integral step of the onboarding process is to familiarize new employees with the business environment and organizational culture.

If you have an employee handbook, provide your new hire with a copy. Outline the critical policies that are most relevant to the job, such as code of conduct, dress code, guidelines for remote work and total hours worked, parking rules, and other policies and procedures they should be aware of on the first day. As appropriate, order business cards with the employee’s name and contact information.

Other important aspects of readying the workspace include ordering name and security badges or employee IDs, updating any registries if located within a building or complex, keys, filing cabinets, and setting up new employee e-mail addresses.

5. Arrange the new hire’s workspace.

Does your new hire have a desk and chair, a properly set-up computer and any other tools that may be necessary? If the position is not a desk job, do you have the required uniforms in the correct size, along with tools and any other occupational gear your new hire will need? Is the area properly furnished?

6. Integrate new employees into the workplace.

Arrange for any meetings or lunches with the appropriate managers, clients, or key employees that new hires need to get to know better. Send a welcome email to all employees to introduce your new hire.  As appropriate, add your new hire to your website and social media.  Have them tour the workplace to familiarize themselves with how it operates and determine training or additional resources that may be required. Make sure that the new hires also understand the required job duties and how they fit within the department or overall organization. Encourage questions and comments throughout the entire process.

Onboarding can be a stressful time for smaller organizations that are just starting to grow. If you have questions about transitioning a new hire, please contact us.