The New Hire Checklist

If you’re anything like me, upon founding a company, you might imagine hiring an employee to look something like this.

  1. Recruit
  2. Extend offer
  3. Employee begins working in exchange for money and equity

If you’ve spent some time thinking about this, you might realize there’s a bit more too it. Recruitment requires several stages, and well-designed interviews. Offers need to be designed, not merely handed out by a script. Perhaps you remember filling out an I-9 form at your last job, and have a vague sense that you might need to require something like that.

There’s a lot to expand on in each of those bullet points, but I’d like to speak in particular about point number 3 today. Because, as I’ve learned, it’s far more complex than I’ve made it sound.

In fact, my current new hire checklist has over 20 items on it.

I thought it might be useful to share these points, for those who, like me, struggled to find many resources providing a great deal of detail on what’s required.

Please note that a) I only have experience doing this for a MA company, b) this list may not be a complete representation of everything Modulate does or your company will need to do, and c) this is not legal advice.

With that understood, let’s begin.

Company Documentation

You’ll need to have legal documents outlining the terms of an employee’s work with your company. Offer letters are a basic tool, but you might have a more complex document outlining concerns such as confidentiality as well. You’ll also likely need an employee handbook as well, in order to provide information to the new employee about things like HR and harassment policies within the company.

Company Access

The new employee will need access to company facilities. They’ll need email, as well as any other communication tools you use such as Slack. If they are engineers, they may need git repository access, production access, and log access. If they’re analysts, they might need access to analytics. In other positions, they’ll need access to other tools. Make sure to keep a list of these tools by position, as it will help keep things much more seamless on the employee’s first day.

Legal and Tax Docs

Any employee needs to complete an I-9 form with their employer, sharing information regarding their work status. If the employer chooses, they can use services like EVerify to authenticate this information, though there are strict guides for using these tools to ensure they are not used in a discriminatory way.

Beyond this, you’ll need the employee added to your payroll system, which will require you collect tax and payment information from them so you can effectively deliver their wages while withholding appropriately. You’ll also need to register the employee with MA DOR, for which there is an online portal – though you’ll need to make sure your company has an account ahead of time.

Finally, don’t forget there are insurance requirements you must meet for each employee you bring on board. For instance, you must have an appropriate worker’s compensation plan, which each employee can be covered under. You may also be adding the new employee to your health, dental, vision, or life insurance plans, either when they join or a short while after.

Equipment

Finally, make sure your employees have what they need to do their job! This means a desk, a chair, and a computer at bare minimum; but you’ll also want to think about things like a direct phone number, business cards, office equipment, etc.


Luckily, many tools exist to help facilitate these efforts – for instance, payroll services will often help you with tax requirements. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand the full range of tasks you’ll need to complete in order to bring your employee on board effectively – and this is before you even start thinking about onboarding them to do their specific job! My biggest fear going through this process was that I was missing something – hopefully this post serves as a useful reference for those with the same concern.

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