Orienting new hires and getting them up to speed with your systems and culture can involve a lot of paperwork, so the first day on the job usually involves a mountain of forms and policies. But take heart! Your onboarding documents don’t only have to be about boring compliance and overwhelming first-day formalities. You can organize your onboarding documents and also sneak a little fun and inclusion into those checks and signatures.
The documents you provide for your new starters can help set the tone for their future at your company, helping you to get to know them – and vice versa! So, which documents should you include in your onboarding to set your new hires up for success? And how can you best help them to feel included from their first day?
The new hire paperwork you provide and how you provide it will tell a new hire a lot about what you prioritize and what you expect of them, so it is important to be consistent and organized.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials of onboarding documents – and onboarding tips on everything from important compliance forms to personalized paperwork – and how they will contribute to a seamless and engaging start for your new team members.
What Are Onboarding Documents?
Onboarding documents are more than just a series of forms to be filled out; they are the first tangible connection between your company and its newest members.
Onboarding documents often encompass more than strictly HR documentation. While HR documents typically cover a broad range of employee management aspects, onboarding documents are specifically designed to integrate new hires into the organization. They include legal and compliance forms, company-specific information, and role-specific materials, each playing a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth and informed start for new employees.
A thoughtful onboarding document success kit will not only fulfill legal obligations but also impart a sense of belonging and clarity about the company culture, expectations, and the journey ahead.
Preparing Your Onboarding Paperwork Checklist
A comprehensive onboarding paperwork checklist is essential to ensure a smooth and legally compliant start for your new hires – and will consist of two types of key documents:
Legal and Compliance Forms for New Hires
The foundation of any robust onboarding process is ensuring compliance with legal standards. This starts with preparing a comprehensive checklist of necessary legal and compliance forms for new hires. These documents often include employment eligibility verification forms, tax withholding forms, and any industry-specific compliance acknowledgments. These forms must be up-to-date and accurately reflect current legal requirements, providing a secure legal framework for both the employee and the company.
Company-Specific Onboarding Documents
Beyond legal necessities, company-specific onboarding paperwork is crucial in introducing new hires to your organizational ethos and operational specifics. This can range from detailed handbooks outlining company policies and culture to guides on internal systems and processes. Tailor these documents to clearly communicate what the company stands for, your expectations, and how new hires can navigate their new workplace effectively. It’s about creating a welcoming narrative that aligns new employees with the company’s vision and operational dynamics from day one.
Essential Onboarding Documents for a Smooth Start
The essential documents below help to ensure compliance and jump-start belonging in your company. They may not all be provided at the same time, but by meticulously preparing and presenting them, you can create a structured (and reassuring) onboarding experience and start building trust.
- Employment Contracts and Offer Letters: The employment contract and offer letter are more than formalities; they are the first official communication that a new hire receives, setting the stage for their role and relationship with the organization. These documents should clearly outline job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and other employment terms. Ensuring clarity and transparency in these documents can help set clear expectations and build trust right from the start.
- Tax Forms and Government Documentation: Tax forms and other government documentation are essential for compliance with legal and financial regulations. This includes forms related to income tax withholding, social security, and employment eligibility verification. Ensuring these forms are filled out correctly and processed promptly is crucial for both your employees and the company’s financial and legal wellbeing.
- Benefit Enrollment Forms and Information: Introducing new hires to their benefits package is an important part of the onboarding process. Benefit enrollment forms and detailed information packets help employees understand and make informed decisions about their health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits offered by the company. Well-organized and clear information about benefits can enhance employee satisfaction and demonstrate the company’s investment in their well-being.
- Confidentiality Agreements and Non-Disclosure Forms: In many industries, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure forms are key to protecting the company’s intellectual property. Present and explain them to new hires as part of your new hire paperwork – ensuring they understand the importance of security
- Invitations to join ERGs/BRGs: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Business Resource Groups (BRGs) play a vital role in fostering diversity and inclusion within the organization. Inviting new hires to join these groups as part of their onboarding can significantly enhance their sense of belonging and provide opportunities for networking and personal growth. These invitations should detail the objectives, activities, and benefits of participating in these groups, underlining the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Orientation to Mentoring and Buddy Programs: Do you have a mentoring or buddy program? Will you be connecting employees to peers to help jump-start their belonging and connection? Introducing new hires to employees across the organization is essential for their integration into the company culture. Orientation documents for these programs should outline their structure, objectives, and how new employees can benefit from them, and where they can access critical support, guidance, and advice. You can use a tool like Enboarder to allow new hires to choose connections with whom they share common interests.
- Employee Onboarding Surveys: How was your new hire’s candidate experience? What is their favorite kind of cake or ice cream, for birthday celebrations? Go-to gift card, for reward and recognition? What is their t-shirt size, for future swag? Onboarding is a fun time to gather information about employees, capturing their current experience and planning for future inclusion.
Automating the Onboarding Paperwork Process
Going digital and automating your onboarding paperwork process helps streamline tasks and ensures a more consistent experience. It also elevates the overall experience for new hires – no matter who their managers are. Digital prompts, signatures, and reminders help companies create an onboarding process that is efficient and engaging.
Digital Prompts for Onboarding Efficiency
Offer employees (and managers) digital prompts that help ensure they complete all the documents you need. These prompts will guide new hires through each step of their paperwork, providing timely reminders and clarifications. This not only speeds up the process but also enhances the new hire experience by making it more interactive and less overwhelming. When you’re choosing onboarding software, be sure to look for these kinds of digital prompts that can be tailored to the specific requirements of different roles and deliver a more personalized onboarding journey.
Integrating E-signatures for Quick Turnarounds
Electronic signatures can revolutionize the way your onboarding documents are processed. For example, with Enboarder, new hires can speedily sign online documents through third parties like DocuSign or Adobe Sign – eliminating the need for physical paperwork. It’s a flexible process – especially for remote or hybrid workers – and also more eco-friendly!
Ensuring Data Security with Digital Onboarding Tools
Automated onboarding software also offers robust solutions to protect sensitive information. By using digital onboarding tools, companies can demonstrate their commitment to data security while providing a smooth and secure start for their new team members.
Looking for more tips on onboarding team members working remotely? Check out our remote onboarding checklist.
Enboarder’s platform is an optimal way to organize and deploy your onboarding paperwork and facilitate essential connections in those critical first days. Read more about tools to create more authentic human connections at scale from day one in our eBook, “How Enboarder Creates Connection and Belonging at Work.”