Hiring/On-boarding Checklist

For entrepreneurs starting a new business, the focus often is on developing the products or services being offered by the business and, maybe, financing for getting (and keeping) the business off the ground. Yet, regardless of whether the business offers products or services, no business can succeed without people. Therefore, setting up proper intake systems for hiring at an early stage is critical in order to limit exposure to employment issues as the business grows. One easy way to do this is by using a hiring/on-boarding checklist like the one set out below. While this checklist is not intended to be a comprehensive list of issues that all businesses need to consider when hiring, it should provide at least some general guidelines for hiring and on-boarding new employees. Every state has different laws applicable to hiring and on-boarding, so be sure to check your applicable state’s laws.

Prior to hire:

  • Prepare job application (for Massachusetts employees, you cannot request criminal history information and must include a statement that requesting the candidate to undergo a lie detector test is unlawful).
  • Prepare employee handbook, including “at will” status, hours of work, absence policies, anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policies (be specific about no retaliation and requests for reasonable accommodations), drug and alcohol use, vacation accrual and use, overtime, use of electronic systems and no expectation of privacy on electronic systems (be specific about personal email accounts accessed through company computers), confidentiality, including data security for Massachusetts residents, personally-identifiable information, and travel expenses.
  • Post appropriate employment notices, such as about wage and hour laws, discrimination laws, family and medical leave laws, and health and safety laws, among others.
  • Determine whether employees are “at will” or will be employed for a specific term.
  • Set title and compensation for each employee.
  • Determine nonexempt/exempt status.
  • Prepare a job description for each position, including attendance requirements.
  • Set interview protocols, including interviewers, questions, and review of resume/qualifications.
  • Provide each candidate with a job description.
  • Set up timekeeping system for nonexempt employees.
  • Keep records of applicants/candidates interviewed and reasons for hiring/not hiring.

At the time of offer:

  • Prepare offer letters/employment agreements (where appropriate).
  • Provide noncompetition/nondisclosure agreement with offer letter and require return of signed agreement before candidate starts work.
  • Prepare package of benefits information.
  • Notify and obtain permission for post-offer, pre-employment background check, and/or drug testing.
  • Check references.

Upon hire:

  • Confirm identification and eligibility for employment in the US and complete I-9 form (within first three days of employment).
  • Report new employee information to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through New Hire Reporting.
  • Add employee to payroll, workers’ compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance.
  • Confirm withholdings from payroll, including for any court ordered wage garnishments, health insurance premiums, and 401K contributions.
  • Enroll employees in disability, life, and health insurance plans, if applicable.
  • Provide each employee with a handbook and review the policies with each employee, including “at will” status, hours of work, absence policies, anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policies (be specific about no retaliation and requests for reasonable accommodations), drug and alcohol use, vacation accrual and use, overtime, use of electronic systems and no expectation of privacy on electronic systems (be specific about personal email accounts accessed through company computers), confidentiality, including data security for Massachusetts residents, personally-identifiable information, and travel expenses. Obtain signed acknowledgement of the foregoing.
  • Set up a personnel file for each employee. Massachusetts has a specific law, M.G.L. c.149, §52C, that clarifies what should be maintained in a personnel file, what and when information must be shared with an employee, and how long the records should be kept.