Hiring Checklist: How To Prepare For Your First Employee

hiring checklist how to prepare first employee hired

An all too common bottleneck in small businesses is that founders or owners don't expand their team even when the workload calls for it. Bringing on an employee lets the owner delegate non-critical tasks and focus on profitable activities only the owner can manage. Of course, bringing on your first employee can prove daunting. That's why we've put together this short hiring checklist to help you navigate the process. 

Tax Forms 

The major tax form every employee must fill out is the W4 form. The information on this form determines the amount you withhold from the employees pay for federal taxes, such as Medicare and FICA. Always make sure you use the most recent version of the form since it gets updated to reflect current regulations. 

If you run your business in a state, county, or city that collects income tax, you'll also need your new employee to fill out the relevant local tax forms. 

Direct Deposit Form 

The vast majority of employers and employees prefer direct deposit for pay. It's generally faster, easier, and more secure than a traditional paper check. As a first-time employer, learning the ins and outs of direct deposit when you only have one employee is the right time. 

The downside of direct deposit is that employers traditionally included a pay stub with the paycheck. Fortunately, you can avoid printing off a pay stub every other week with the simple expedient of a pay stub generator. The program generates a digital copy that you send your employee. 

Code Of Conduct 

Even if you only employ one person right now, you may hire more people down the road. This is the time you should lay out a basic code of conduct. At the very least, the code of conduct should include your expectations about the following: 

• Treatment of company property 
• Treatment of customers 
• Sexual harassment policy 

Make it clear that the rules apply to you as much as to your employee. After that, do your best to model the behavior you expect. 

Set Up The Employee Workspace 

Even if you only have room for a desk in a corner with a laptop on it, get the area set up ahead of time. Make sure you clean the space and provide basic office essentials, such as pens, paper, and a stapler. 

If the employee will need access to login-protected software, create credentials that they can use to access the system. 

Cover General Policies 

On the first day, cover any safety or security procedures you employ. Discuss how often you plan on conducting performance reviews and any performance requirements for raises. If you plan on offering insurance or other benefits, this is the time explain them and field any questions the employee might raise. 

Parting Thoughts On Your Hiring Checklist 

A hiring checklist lets you break down the sometimes nebulous process of onboarding a new hire into manageable and crucial activities. Areas you should focus on include tax forms, company policies, and payroll. 

Now that you have a working hiring checklist for expanding your team, want some tips for expanding your business? 

Check out our post on growing your small business!

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