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New Employee Starter Checklist

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So, you’ve hired a new employee, and that magical start date is approaching rapidly. It’s an exciting time: your company is growing, you’re expanding your capacity, and you finally have someone to take a little heap off that overflowing plate. But how do you prepare your new employee to leap into the line of duty? Read this new employee starter checklist to find out.

First employee?

  • If this is your first employee, you’ll need to:
    • obtain an employer identification number from the IRS,
    • register with the labor department in your state, and
    • purchase workers’ compensation insurance to make sure you’re ready, legally, to take on staff.

Legal aims to take

  • You’ll also need to report every new employee to:
    • your state’s new hire reporting agency,
    • check with the Department of Labor about any notices you need to post in your workplace, and
    • ensure that you are implementing workplace safety procedures.

Getting ready for your new starter

  • Connect with your finance team to collect necessary tax forms (usually, a W-4 and your state’s tax form), as well as payroll details, such as setting up direct deposits. Note that Form 940 will need to be filed with the IRS every year to report unemployment tax.
  • Work with your human resources department (if you have one, or designate to the appropriate staffer) to ensure that all the paperwork is taken care of, including employee info forms, confidentiality agreements, policy manuals, release forms, etc. It may be helpful to e-mail these forms to the employee in advance to get them out of the way early.
  • The employee will also need to bring two forms of identification on his or her first day to complete the federal I-9 form to verify employment eligibility. All employee files should be stored in a confidential, secure place.
  • Compile information on benefits for the employee, if applicable. These may include health, dental, vision, life, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, as well as a 401(k).
  • In the employee’s first week on the job, review their benefit options with him or her.
  • Designate a staffer, if not the employee’s direct supervisor, to oversee the training of the new hire. This person will be on hand for the first few weeks to months to familiarize the new hire with company standard operating procedures, answer questions, and review the employee’s work before it’s submitted.
  • Compile a guide or handbook outlining all of the specifics of the employee’s job that will require training, and organize the training steps chronologically. The training staffer will go through this guide day by day and week by week with the new hire until all job essentials are learned.
  • Prepare the employee’s workstation. Set up a desk with office essentials, like a stapler, pens, and paper. If the employee will be using any major equipment, get it ready, and make sure to train the employee as needed.
  • If your employee will be using a desktop or laptop, set it up to log into the company’s servers. Offer a guide for getting connected and acquainted with the company’s internal servers and files, and allow the employee a few hours in his or her first week to explore and set up e-mail, folders, the printer, etc.
  • When the employee walks through the door, start off with a warm welcome and friendly faces.
  • Take him or her around the office to meet colleagues and become acquainted with the lay of the land, from his or her desk to the kitchen, copier, and drink machine.
  • For the first week, offer small friendly gestures, such as having lunch with the employee and asking how he or she is doing during the day.
  • Understand that for the first couple of months, a new employee may have a negative effect on productivity, as he or she will take away time from other staff for training and will require a learning curve before becoming efficient at the job. Offer clear, consistent guidance, as well as helpful and constructive feedback to encourage growth from the employee. However, challenge the new hire to come up with solutions to hurdles rather than constantly seeking answers from you. This should start your new hire off on a path to success!

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