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New hire paperwork: What to include in your new hire packet

  • Typical new hire packets include items like a welcome letter, an employee handbook, an employment contract, tax forms, direct deposit forms, health insurance information, and benefits package details. 
  • If you want your onboarding process to stand out, add a welcome gift like a gift card or company swag to your new hire packet and mention some fun facts about your small business.
  • Homebase can help your new hires hit the ground running before they arrive for their first day of work by sending them a new hire packet with legal forms, contracts, your employee handbook, and other essentials.

Why are new hire packets important?

New hire packets are essential because they set the tone for your onboarding process. And if fostering a great employee experience is your priority, onboarding is a crucial aspect of creating a welcoming, transparent working atmosphere from the outset.

And your new hire packet doesn’t just have to be the first step in the onboarding process. When you include things like company background, learning resources, and training schedules, new hire packets can also serve as references that keep your team members organized and on track.

What you have to put in your new hire packet

Your new hire packet should include all the onboarding documents your employees need to sign to comply with state and federal labor laws. New hire forms and documentation include:

  • A copy of the new hire’s job offer
  • The formal employment contract
  • Form W-4, which informs you of your new hire’s tax filing status and details how much federal income tax you should withhold from each of their paychecks
  • Form I-9, which is an employment eligibility verification form
  • Form EEO – 1, also known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Employee Self-Identification form, if you have 100 or more employees
  • A copy of the new hire’s background check
  • The new hire’s emergency contact form
  • A direct deposit form

Once your new hire completes these forms and submits them to you, be sure to store them correctly. Doing so will keep you compliant and protect you in case you get audited or inspected by local authorities.

What else to include in your new hire packet

While filling out paperwork is important, a bigger priority is making new team members feel welcome and showing them what your business is all about. That’s why your new hire packet should also include:

  • An employee handbook, where you talk about your business values, mission, policies, and culture
  • Some of your business’s branded swag or a gift card
  • An employee welcome letter

And if you’re not sure where to start with your employee welcome letter, here’s a template you can use for inspiration.

Hi [name],

Welcome to the [business name] team!

We’re excited to have you on board and know you’ll be a great addition to our small but mighty crew.

While we know the onboarding process can be overwhelming, we have no doubt you’ll fit right into our culture and the way we do things here. But to ease the transition, we’ve included some paperwork for you to review.

We’d appreciate it if you could fill out and sign the following forms before your first day:

  • Your employment contract
  • Form W-4
  • Form I-9
  • Your direct deposit form

We’ve also included our employee handbook and training schedule for you to read and review. You don’t have to memorize it all! Just look through it and keep it as a reference to have on hand while you’re onboarding.

Again, so glad you’re part of our team and we’re looking forward to working with you!

Sincerely,

[Name]

New hire packet checklist

We know, there’s a lot of paperwork to include in your new hire packet. If you’re doing it manually, this checklist can help keep you organized.

New hire forms and papers
Job offer
Welcome letter
Employment contract
Employee handbook
Form W-4
Form I-9
Form EEO – 1 (where applicable)
Background check
Direct deposit form
Emergency contact form
Onboarding and training schedule

3 ways Homebase makes new hire paperwork easy

New hire paperwork is a crucial — and legal — aspect of hiring and onboarding every employee at your small business. But if you don’t have a human resource department to help you out, keeping track of all the employee information forms and onboarding documents can be difficult.

Homebase can help you create an effective onboarding experience by letting employees self-onboard before their start date. Here’s how.

1. Homebase sends out new hire paperwork for you

One of the most important parts of new hire onboarding is making sure your employees complete the forms federal and state labor laws require. However, keeping track of all the different documents new staff members have to fill out is difficult, even if you use a checklist or a template.

That’s where Homebase comes in. When you decide to hire someone, Homebase can automatically send them a new hire packet by email. This packet will include all the forms your new hire has to fill out before they’re legally allowed to work, keeping you compliant from day one.

2. Your new hire e-signs their paperwork

When Homebase sends your new team member all their essential forms, they can e-sign the documents online before they even arrive for their first day of work.

That means new hires don’t have to sit in the back office signing paperwork. Instead, you can spend some extra time focusing on their onboarding and training, introducing them to your existing team, integrating them into your company culture, and showing them what it’s like to work for your small business. As a result, they’ll become familiar with the basics of their new position earlier, setting them up for success before their first week is finished.

3. Homebase securely stores all your signed documents

To avoid legal ramifications, it’s vital to not only get your employees’ onboarding documents signed, but store them properly as well. Failing to save new hire documents for every single employee could subject you to government fines or penalties.

Don’t worry — Homebase makes this aspect of employee onboarding a non-issue by storing new hire documents securely in accordance with state and local laws. It’s also easy to access the documents via your onboarding dashboard, so if you get audited or need to review the paperwork, you can do so without any hassle.

What new hire paperwork should look like in 2023

As people are becoming more interested in modern, transparent working environments that prioritize a healthy work culture, small business owners need to be more mindful of ways they can accommodate the next generation of new hires.

To that end, here are some trends to keep in mind for your new hire paperwork in the coming year:

  • Be thorough and include onboarding goals for every new hire: A Gallup study recently revealed that only 29% of respondents felt equipped and supported to excel in their new role after onboarding. With that in mind, ensure your new hire paperwork covers all key information staff members need and explains in detail what they should be able to do after onboarding and training.
  • Talk about your company culture and values: 72% of job seekers want to see details about company culture in job descriptions. So it only makes sense that your new employees will want to understand how you get things done internally and what your business ethos looks like in action. To that end, make sure your new hire paperwork reflects your small business’s history, the values you hold near and dear, and how you keep your work environment positive and sustainable.
  • Make it paperless: In 2023, business owners should be thinking about how they can keep their employees as safe as possible with contactless processes and reduce the amount of paper waste they create. Use a tool like Homebase onboarding to send out your new hire paperwork, then ask employees to e-sign the documents and return them back to you. This makes for a quick, easy pre-onboarding experience and also helps you keep cleaner, web-based records.

FAQs about new hire packets

What is included in a new hire packet?

A new hire packet should include all the paperwork and documents that are necessary for new hires to fill out, like formal job offers, government-required forms, banking information, and benefits information. 

We also recommend you include friendly, personalized resources like a welcome letter, details about your company culture, and a small gift (business swag or a gift card are some popular choices). This sets a positive tone that helps new hires feel more welcome and at ease from the very beginning.

What are the benefits of a new hire packet?

There are many benefits to putting together a new hire packet for your small business. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Get your employee started with their paperwork before their first day, so they don’t have to waste any time filling out documents at work.
  • Familiarize your new hire with your business, your culture, and their roles and responsibilities. This way, they won’t come in as a blank slate — they’ll already have a general idea of how you operate, so they’ll be less overwhelmed in training.
  • Stay compliant. Storing copies of your new hire paperwork can protect you if you get audited by your state or federal authorities.

Show you’re an organized, intentional employer who cares about making new team members feel welcome.

What do I need when I hire an employee?

When you bring a new employee on board, you need to have your new hire paperwork ready to send out. That should include: 

  • Formal job offer
  • Formal employment contract
  • Form W-4
  • Form I-9
  • Form EEO – 1 (where applicable)
  • Emergency contact information
  • Direct deposit form
  • Employee handbook
  • Employee welcome letter