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On both sides of the onboarding process, the paperwork is daunting. Employers and employees alike have mountains of forms to complete. The following is just a taste of the paperwork requirements surrounding getting a new job:

  • Applications
  • Background check disclosers and consents
  • Drug screening forms
  • Federal tax withholding
  • State tax withholding
  • I-9 forms
  • 401k
  • Health insurance
  • Disability info
  • Handbook agreements
  • Non-competes
  • Direct deposit and banking
  • And more!

How many times do we bring in new employees, isolate them in a conference room, and ask them to fill out stacks and stacks of forms? Worse yet, many employees don’t carry around the required information, so the process can drag on for days as they seek out the details. What kind of first impression does this make?

It’s a far better policy to aggressively tame this paperwork. Streamlining these processes makes life easier for both sides, relieving some of the stress for the applicants and improving compliance and efficiency for your HR department. The following are effective strategies your team can implement to take control of the paperwork:

Go Digital

The first step to taming the paperwork is to eliminate the paper. Going digital brings with it a number of significant benefits, including the following:

  • Increased consistency
  • Systematized workflows that ensure forms are completed on time and in the right order
  • Automated I-9 and E-Verify technology that manages the entire process from beginning to end
  • Preset compliance tools 
  • Built-in permanent record that is searchable, sharable, and auditable

A digital onboarding platform allows your HR team to untangle the paperwork mess and create a streamlined process that results in a permanent record of the right forms completed with the right information in the right order with minimal effort. Paper can’t do that. 

Go Home

Actually, let your employees go home to complete the information (preferably digitally.) Many onboarding forms ask employees to provide information that they may not have readily at hand or to make decisions that require time and consideration. Consider the following examples:

  • Many life insurance or healthcare forms require the social security numbers of beneficiaries and dependents. 
  • Sometimes employees want to consult with tax accountants about the number of deductions to claim on a W-2.
  • Folks appreciate the ability to discuss 401k contributions and other financial considerations with spouses or significant others.
  • The choice of a health insurance plan is one that deserves time and attention.

Your employees will appreciate the opportunity to fill out these and other forms at home at their own pace. Allowing this kind of time also means your HR folks will spend less time handholding on an employee’s first day. A significant advantage of digital platforms is they allow individuals to complete their onboarding “paperwork” on their own device on their own schedule. 

Put the Paper Away

It’s time to put the paper away and make your onboarding process flexible and easy with digital solutions. 

Patience, patience, patience: Lastly, be patient with your new hires. The top four positive stressful events (is there really such a thing as positive stress?) are: buying a home, getting married, having children, and starting a new job. New college graduates rely on their parents to help complete the new hire paperwork. HR professionals live and breathe the important onboarding forms every day. They know the difference between a W-4, a W-9, and a Form I-9, and they have the Form I-9 List A, B, and C document requirements memorized. Your new bright-eyed candidate may have never completed these forms in their life. Always look at things from their perspective, and remember there is no such thing as a stupid question!

Sterling offers compliant, paperless onboarding so HR teams can breathe easier while providing new hires an awesome hiring experience. Employees decide within their first year to stay with a company. Therefore it is critical candidates have a positive experience through the many steps of the hiring process. Learn how to transform the final hiring step, onboarding, from a cumbersome process to one that engages talent from the beginning by downloading Your Complete Guide to Onboarding From Decision to Day One.

Don’t Be Non-Compliant

To ease the onboarding process, organizations and HR need to consider the growing regulatory environment that we are in today and the mountains of required documentation. There are plenty of ways to be out of compliance, government or corporate. Below are just a few possible problems:

Use an out-of-date form or miss a form altogether.

Overlook an employee walking away with vital intellectual property without a non-compete on file

Fail to meet the requests of an Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit and suffer fines

So what is an HR professional to do? Plenty! The three onboarding paperwork tips listed below will help an HR team reduce the amount of paper clutter their files as well as improve the job seeker’s candidate experience.

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