Employee onboarding is the process of assimilating new employees into the business. Orientation, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with teaching new employees where the various departments are located.

When done well, onboarding enables new employees feel welcomed and integrated, which leads to job satisfaction and greater employee engagement. Effective onboarding also leads to reduced turnover, increased employee motivation, and increased output.

The accuracy of the onboarding documents you provide your new employees on their first day of work is an important component of the in-person or digital onboarding process. These are the paperwork that new employees must examine and sign when they initially begin working for your company. These documents range from federal forms to records pertinent to their function and your company. Aside from legal requirements, the proper onboarding paperwork will assist new hires in getting off to a good start and integrating into your corporate culture.

Onboarding Documents Required

When new employees join your organization, you must offer them a variety of onboarding documents. Some are legal requirements; others pertain to your company’s rules and practices. Others, once again, are related to the position that an employee will be performing. However, they can be broadly classified into four types of HR onboarding forms:

  • Legal documents
  • Job-specific documentation
  • Company-specific paperwork
  • Payroll and benefits paperwork

Let’s dissect these.

Here are the top eight must-have onboarding documents for new employees.

  • W-4 Form

A W-4 form, formally titled “Employee’s Withholding Certificate,” is an IRS form that tells employers how much tax to withhold from each paycheck. Employers use the W-4 to calculate certain payroll taxes and remit the taxes to the IRS and the state (if applicable) on behalf of employees.

This is a tax document that is necessary for all new recruits in the United States. It is used by the IRS to determine how much tax should be withheld from each paycheck. This can be downloaded immediately from the IRS website. Before receiving their first salary, all new recruits must complete the W-4 form.

Employees must additionally obtain a State Withholding Certificate unless they live in one of the nine states that do not impose an income tax. This is required in order to pay state taxes when applicable.

  • I-9 Form

Form I9, officially the Employment Eligibility Verification, is a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services form. Mandated by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, it is used to verify the identity and legal authorization to work of all paid employees in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States

This is an employment eligibility form that must be filled out and returned to you within three days of an employee’s start date.

It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your new hire is legally permitted to work based on their citizenship, visa, residency, and immigration status. If you do not, you may face severe fines and penalties. You do not need to submit the employment I-9 form or to have your documentation formally verified. However, if an immigration official demands employee documents, they must be produced.

  • Offer Letter

An offer letter is a formal document sent to new hires selected for employment. It is a written confirmation of an offer so that both the employee and the employer are clear on the terms and conditions of the job.
This is your official job offer, and it should include the following information:

  • Job description
  • Work description
  • Beginning date
  • Starting salary
  • Direct supervisor
  • Eligibility for benefits
  • Any other requirements, such as passing a drug test and/or a background check

To officially accept the position and the terms outlined in the letter, the employee must sign a copy of it.

  • Employment Contract

In addition to the offer letter, you must present new hires with an employment contract. This is a written agreement outlining their respective duties and obligations.

Any of the following can be included in an employment contract:

  •  General job responsibilities
  • Salary or wage
  • Duration of employment
  • Benefits
  • Non-compete or confidentiality agreements (not required but recommended to protect your intellectual property, systems, and processes).
  • Emergency Contact Information

You should also include a document seeking emergency contact information for at least two people who you could contact in the event of an accident or emergency. Names, phone numbers, and email addresses should be requested.

  • Employee Handbook

An employee handbook contains information on a company’s mission, vision, values, policies and procedures, and workplace code of conduct. An employee handbook also helps protect employers against discrimination or unfair treatment claims by forewarning employees of these policies.

Employees will need to understand and agree to your internal policies and procedures. Dress code, regulations, company values, code of conduct, and so on should all be contained in an employee handbook.

Your company’s mission statement should also be included in your employee handbook. This comprises your objectives, general purpose, and strategy for getting there (your strategic plan). This may differ depending on the department.

Make sure to offer specific information on your company’s time-off policy to avoid confusion later on. This includes methods for requesting PTO, vacation time, sick days, jury service, and other benefits. Employees must sign an acceptance form to provide written evidence that they agree to follow all of your policies and procedures.

  • Organizational Chart

You also want new workers to grasp your company’s structure and where they fit in from the start. The simplest method to accomplish this is to send them a copy of your organizational chart. An organizational chart is a graphic that depicts the internal structure of a corporation by outlining the roles, responsibilities, and interactions between personnel inside an institution. This will assist them in understanding who reports to them and who reports to them.

  • Benefits and Payroll

The final essential paperwork you must include in your onboarding documents welcome package is one about payroll and benefits.

To begin, you must gather all the required data in order to pay your new employees. For example, if your company uses direct deposit to deliver paychecks, you must provide a direct deposit form to new recruits. This document collects bank account information for payment processing and is the most effective approach to ensure new employees are paid on time starting with their first paycheck.

You should also provide a benefits pamphlet to inform new employees about any supplementary compensation plans that are available to them. Among other things, this could include medical insurance, employment promotion chances, or retirement programs.