New Hire Documents You’ll Need for Onboarding [Downloadable Checklist]

Notepad sitting on a table with a pen sitting on top of the notepad. Title - Onboarding Checklist (with large checkmark)

When hiring a new employee it’s easy to forget some of the little things. As the employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure all bases are covered, including documentation. These new hire documents are often time sensitive and will need to be signed and returned as soon as possible.

Download and print our checklist every time you onboard a new hire. Read our descriptions below and learn why each document is so important. Keep in mind, some of these suggestions are based on an (if applicable) status.

W-4 and I-9

These forms must be filled out on the new hire’s first day. Specifically, the I-9 must be completed and returned within 3 days of start date. If not, when your business is audited, you could receive fines for this slip-up. A good rule of thumb is to say “no employees can start work until these forms are finished and returned”.

Direct Deposit

Employees love to get paid! If you pay by direct deposit you need the employee’s bank information and a voided check. Do this promptly so it doesn’t disrupt payroll processing.


Your new hire will need a benefits overview as well as the necessary forms to apply for coverage. Inform them of any enrollment deadlines and talk about the coverage. Benefits can be a great selling point to a new employee so you should make sure they understand it and will want to use it.


First things first, give them a copy of the offer letter and job description. They might already have copies of this, but it’s a good reference point and should be filed at their desk.

Emergency Contact

Have a form specifically for the new employee to provide an emergency contact. If an accident occurs and the employee is injured you will need this information on hand.


Does your business have an Alternate Dispute Resolution program? If so, all employees need to sign the acknowledgement form immediately upon hire.

Employee Handbook

Every company needs to have an up-to-date employee handbook. New employees also need to sign a form stating they read and understood the terms. In the handbook make sure you cover all topics including:

  • Workplace ViolenceGroup of papers held together with a binder clip. A large checkmark is appended over the top of the image.
  • Discrimination
  • Attendance/Schedule
  • Holidays/PTO Information
  • Conduct/Correction
  • Overtime/Breaks
  • Dress Code
  • Drug/Alcohol Testing
  • Company Property/Equipment
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Open Door/Problem Solving
  • Confidentiality
  • Visitors
  • Email/Social Media/Network
  • Travel

Instruction Manuals

Included in the handbook, you should provide detailed instructions or “manuals” for things such as the following:

  • Phones
  • Computer
  • Email (or any communication systems)
  • Timekeeping
  • Office Norms (supplies, mail, facilities)

Employee Engagement Starts on Day 1

Read our onboarding basics article for more information, Retention Starts on Day 1 – An Onboarding Checklist.

Make your new hire comfortable right off the bat by preparing these documents ahead of time. The first day is crazy, but you can make a smoother transition by planning ahead. Download the New Hire Documents Checklist and use it every time you’re onboarding employees.


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