Welcome Aboard! by Joey Hodges, MBABy Joey Hodges, MBA
AcceleratingCFO Consultant

We have found the perfect candidate. Our newest team member has accepted and is ready to start. Now what? It’s time to complete the onboarding documents, enroll our new team member, whom we will call Janet, in benefits, show Janet around the office, and get her started. This sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? While these steps seem simple, the way in which the steps are carried out will have an enormous impact on Janet’s success in the company.  It’s important that we get this right.

New-hire paperwork can be daunting; but as long as you stay organized, it shouldn’t be that difficult. This may seem so elemental; but you wouldn’t believe how many companies skip this step. Start with a folder, in a file cabinet or virtual, to keep all of Janet’s documents. Most mid-level and above positions should have a signed offer letter and employment agreement. These should be drafted by an attorney familiar with your area’s employment laws. Other new hire paperwork should include: resume and/or application, W-4 form and I-9 form. It is also a good idea to give Janet a copy of your company’s employee handbook (if you don’t have one, this should be added to your to-do list) and ask her to sign an acknowledgement of receipt. Your company may also have non-disclosure, non-compete or similar forms. To stay organized, it is a good idea to have a checklist in the folder. 

I-9 Form

The I-9 form specifically can be completed before the employee’s first day, but MUST be completed by 3 days after the start date. Officially, the company representative is required to review the original physical document when completing the employer’s section of the form. In today’s virtual employment world, there are a number of companies offering remote I-9 processing. And a reminder: if the employee presented a document with an expiration date, the I-9 form must be reverified before the document’s expiration date. If the employee cannot provide current employment authorization documents, they cannot continue to work.

Stop the paperwork here and be ready to review benefits with Janet in a separate meeting on another day. She is excited and overwhelmed at this point. It’s time to introduce Janet to the rest of the team and show her around the office. It’s great to incorporate another person on the team as a tour guide. Similarly, make arrangements for another person that Janet hasn’t met yet to take her to lunch. Janet’s comfortability will grow exponentially as she builds relationships with more people in the company. By the way, have the arrangements been made for Janet’s building, office, and IT access by now? Hope so!


Benefits are the most important part of the new hire process (to Janet at least). Yet, it is also the area that most mistakes are made during the onboarding process. Welcome to the acronym jungle: PPO, HMO, FSA, LTD, PTO, etc. There is a lot of information coming at Janet at one time. Someone needs to explain the benefits package with incredible detail. Janet should know her costs as well as buy-up options. More than ever before, companies are pointing employees to a web page telling them to just sign up. No matter how smart we think our new team members are, especially with the excitement of starting a new job, they don’t take the time to read through the panoply of information on the website. More often than not, new hires postpone doing their due diligence until the enrollment period ends or they haphazardly enroll only to find out they are not signing up for the benefits they think they are or their contribution is way more than they expected. Time spent here will more than be recouped later on when Janet has problems with her benefits.

The hiring process should be all about the new team member — making Janet feel welcome and empowered while complying with documentation requirements. Make sure Janet knows you are always available should she have any concerns or questions. Many companies schedule a task to follow up with new employees about once a month for a few months to make sure there are no issues with pay or benefits. Welcome Aboard, Janet!

Take-away: Happy and empowered employees become long-term employees. For questions about how AcceleratingCFO can support your internal HR functions, please reach out to Joey at joey@acceleratingcfo.com.

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