What Documents Should I Include in a New Hire Package?

What can a new hire package do for your small business? A well-designed package helps new employees learn about your company, ensures you’re in compliance with employment and labor laws, and even protects you against wrongful termination lawsuits should the relationship not work out.

So what goes into a good new hire package? Here are some documents to consider including:

Welcome Letter: A short welcome letter from you, the business owner, sets the tone for the relationship and reflects your company’s culture. Be sure it doesn’t contain any promises as to terms or conditions of employment.

Confidentiality/Proprietary and Trade Secret Information Agreement: Offers of employment should be conditioned on the new hire signing and returning the confidentiality agreement no later than the first day of employment.

Consent and Disclosures for Background Checks/Drug Testing: If your company conducts background checks or drug testing, and you haven’t already delivered the paperwork with required disclosures and for signature, include them here.

Information Security Policies: Your policy should include statements that the company reserves the right to monitor and access any employee communications, and that communications using company property or over company-provided systems are not private.

Sexual Harassment Policy: Some states require you to give a specific state brochure or comparable policy on sexual harassment to all new hires (and annually after that). Consider including a separate acknowledgement form the new hire must sign and return stating they read, understand, and will comply with the policy.

Code of Ethics/Business Conduct:  Include this information in the new hire package along with an acknowledgment form similar to the one regarding sexual harassment policy.

Benefits: If the new hire is eligible for benefits like health care coverage, a 401(k), and the like, you can include summary plan descriptions and enrollment paperwork.

Required Forms and Brochures:  Forms required by law or may include tax documents (W-4s, etc.), Immigration Form I9, employee contact information, emergency contact information, “Designated Persons” forms under some states’ sick leave laws, and agency-mandated brochures about workers compensation, state disability programs, paid family leave programs, and so on. Include a checklist so the new hire knows which documents to sign and return.

New Employee Orientation: Let the employee know about your orientation program if you have one.

Employee Handbook: If you still print a hard copy of your employee handbook (which is a good idea even if it is available online), include one in the new hire package with an acknowledgement for the new hire to sign and return on the first day.

Injury, Illness, and Prevention Program (IIPP): All employers are required by OSHA to have an IIPP and to train employees on its contents. If so, include it in the package with an acknowledgment of receipt to sign and return.

Diversity Policies or Programs: Not all employers have separate diversity policies or programs but if you do, include it in the new hire package.

Driving Polices and Requirements: If the job requires driving, include all applicable driving policies, requirements, forms, insurance information, etc.

Payroll Documents: If your company uses direct deposit, include the enrollment forms in the new hire package with instructions on where to return it on the first day of work.

Work with your attorney to develop a new hire package that works for you.

Barrie Gross is former Vice President and Senior Corporate Counsel (Employment Law) for an international Fortune 1000 company and is a regular contributor to AllBusiness.com. She is the founder of Barrie Gross Consulting, a human resources training and consulting firm dedicated to assisting companies to manage and develop their human capital. Visit www.barriegrossconsulting.com to learn more about Barrie and the services BGC provides.

Note: The information here does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you have a legal issue or wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult an attorney in your area concerning your particular situation and facts. Nothing presented on this site or in this article establishes or should be construed as establishing an attorney-client or confidential relationship between you and Barrie Gross. This article is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments or be complete.