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Electronic Onboarding: The Best Fit For New Hires

September 11th, 2023 | 3 min. read

By Mark Gresham

You’re opening a new business – congratulations! Also, how have you been sleeping? Have you had a single moment for yourself recently? Opening a new business comes with an ENDLESS task list to accomplish. You’re simultaneously excited, exhausted, and trying to get everything right before you open.  

One thing we’ve seen take new owners way more time and effort than it should is how to onboard new employees. You know those forms and paperwork you have to have them sign? Their personal and bank information? The signatures on your employee handbook? When done on paper, this is a tedious and drawn-out process for both employer and employee.  

That’s where a payroll provider comes in. Most providers offer some form of a streamlined onboarding and hiring service, often referred to as electronic onboarding. This service allows a new employee to fill out all needed documents and information online, allowing you to have it automatically filled in and saved to your company account, paperwork-free. 

So, what should you be collecting from employees when you first hire? How do you get electronic onboarding setup? When should you start working with a payroll company to be prepared to bring on employees with electronic onboarding? Keep reading to find out.  

What forms do I need my new employee to fill out? 

If you have not yet started working with a payroll provider, you must have your new employees fill out several forms on paper. These forms include:  

  • Form I-9: The Employment Eligibility Verification is used to verify the identity of all individuals hired for employment. Your employee must complete this form by their first day of employment. As the employer, you are responsible for filling out Section 2 of the form I-9 within three business days. You can find this form on USCIS website.  
  • Form W-4:  The form W-4 is an IRS tax form that is completed by the employee and tells the employer the correct amount of federal tax to withhold from the employee’s paycheck. You can find this on the IRS website or this pdf.  
  • Employee Register Form: Each payroll vendor should have some type of employee register form. This form covers all of the general information of that employee such as address, hire date, SSN, and some form of government identification. It will also include pay type, pay rate, and deductions or benefit information.  
  • Direct Deposit Information: While you might not be paying out your employees through direct deposit on their first pay date, it can’t hurt to go ahead and get their banking information if you know this will be the route in which they want to get paid in the future. This allows you to have everything needed when your payroll provider takes over. 

If you’re already talking with a payroll company but aren’t set up yet, ask them if they have a hiring packet with all of these forms. Most payroll providers have packets that include all the necessary forms for your new hires. 

Regardless of where you get your forms, if you have to have your employees fill out their information on paper, make sure to make copies. That way, when you do begin working with your payroll company, you can send over those documents for them to digitize and get entered into your employee system.  

When should I start working with a payroll company to be prepared to onboard new employees? 

For new businesses, most payroll providers will suggest that it is best to start the implementation process two weeks before you want to make your first hires. However, if you want to be set up earlier than that, you should have no problem working with your payroll provider to do so.  

During your implementation process, your payroll vendor should assign you a specialist that will guide you to your “go-live” date. Be sure to communicate with them that you are ready to hire an employee before your go-live date.  

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What are some other benefits of using electronic onboarding?  

Besides eliminating the need for paper forms, electronic onboarding can help you make sure you are secure and efficient with all of your employee data. At Whirks, our software allows you to personalize your onboarding experience with logos, company t-shirt orders, your handbook, and various other company links. This helps to personalize the onboarding experience for your new hires.  

Additionally, employee data is secure within the electronic onboarding systems – not just lying around in a filing cabinet. Customized user access allows you to control who can view whose data, ensuring that your employees are taken care of and can trust your systems.  

Hiring is a stressful part of owning a business, whether you’re a new owner or have been in business a long time. While there are many forms you are responsible for having your employees fill out, electronic onboarding can expedite the process and give you peace of mind that you’re collecting everything to stay in compliance.  

If you’re looking to learn more about how to hire well, here are 5 mistakes we’ve made with hiring that you should try to avoid!