If you look at some of the most successful small, medium and even enterprise businesses, they tend to have one thing in common—a well-oiled human resources department.

With a human resources department comes HR paperwork. And while some people believe that paperwork is boring and unnecessary, this couldn't be further from the truth. Well, it can be boring, but it is necessary.

For both large and small businesses, the human resource department is one of the most important areas of the company. The function of managing people is not as easy as it seems, and it’s so much more than just processing the salaries of the staff every month and handling the business policies that are floating around.

Human resources is an essential department because they are central to developing the company strategy. They are your link between you and upper management, and the people who work below you in the trenches.

On top of all that, they’re also usually the people tasked with getting the entire company to fill out all the necessary paperwork most of us would otherwise overlook.

But if you’re just getting started in HR or have to build out your company’s HR efforts from scratch, one of the problems you’ll undoubtedly run into is just figuring out where to start. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

The Headache of HR Paperwork

Most people don’t enjoy filling out paperwork. And if you work in HR, you know that getting employees to actually complete their paperwork isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

In fact, research shows HR teams spend around 8% of their week on administrative work, and that doesn’t include the time spent reminding employees to fill out the paperwork.

But it’s a necessary part of every business, so it has to get done. The type of HR paperwork that needs to be completed can differ company to company. Remember, a human resource department isn’t just a referee for disputes between employees. They are there to help you with:

  • Budget control
  • Conflict resolution
  • Training and development
  • Business sustainability
  • Payroll
  • Improving the performance of your staff
  • Dealing with employee satisfaction

Each of these tasks often comes with paperwork that has to be completed by someone within the company. And the HR department is typically the team in charge of not only getting it filled out, but making sure employees understand what they’re signing.

Needless to say, that’s a lot to take on.

But there’s a bright side: The bulk of HR paperwork for employees is handled during the onboarding process, which is what we’re going to focus on in this guide.

What HR Paperwork Is Required for Onboarding New Employees?

Making a job offer to someone is wonderful for them, but this is where your real work begins for you. The first week of a new job is one of the busiest times, because you are getting someone new into the business and getting them as informed as possible about your policies and procedures.

Whilst they are being propelled into training, they also have a stack of paperwork to get through.

It’s a good idea to keep the first day as a “settling in” day—a time to introduce your new team member to the rest of the people in the organization. But the HR paperwork has to get done in a timely way.

There is a slog of documents that you need to hand out during that first week and some of it is time-sensitive. Below, you’ll find the (huge) comprehensive list of HR paperwork that you need for your new hire.

Offer Letter

Most of the time, this is given out via post or attached to an email just before a new hire’s first day. This has to be printed out and attached to the employee’s file as well as sent to the employee.

The offer letter should detail salary information, benefits, pension information and the job itself. It should also have details about the hours of work, location of employment and who their direct team and managers are. It’s a detailed letter, so take your time to include the necessary information.


An employee contract is possibly the most important piece of the HR paperwork puzzle. It has to include the details in the offer letter, but in a way that’s thicker.

For example, where it mentions salary, discuss how often this is paid plus any bonuses and taxes that have to be paid on it.

Where the offer letter mentions a pension on offer, detail how that pension is paid for as well as how it’s paid out. The contract should also detail the terms of the employment including termination and grievance procedures.

Orientation Checklist

All employees that are jumping onboard should be given a list of things that will be happening in their first week.

This should include a timetable of what training is being held and where, along with a plan of action of breaking the ice with each team in the business. Here’s a helpful list from Workable to steer you in the right direction.

Financial Information

This is quite important; your new hire wants to know how and when they’ll be paid so that they can plan their own finances. You should ensure to add in direct deposit forms - don’t be surprised if this is the first paperwork that you get back!

IT Information

If you’ve ever been the new guy, you’ll know exactly how hard it is to pluck up the courage to ask IT questions and the passwords required to log into the new systems.

Including a page about what logins are for which systems and how to use the computers and machinery is a lifesaver for a new person on the job. It’s the cheat sheet to end all cheat sheets.

A Bit About You

You’ve gone through how awesome you are during the interview, but your new employee needs to be initiated into your mission and values. This means including some history about your company, the culture and the structure of staff.

If you want to be REALLY kind, you could add in a page of faces to names so that your new hire get familiar with who they’ll be working with and learn their names. Talking about how departments all link together can also be helpful for them to understand why you do things the way that you do them and how.

The Employee Handbook

It’s a document that is stuffed with policies and procedures, and it’s something that every single new person has to read through to be able to understand how things work in your business.

Include a form with the handbook for your new hire to sign and acknowledge so that you can be sure that they’ve read the handbook properly. Keep the signed form in their file so that you can reference it if you need to.

Building Information

This document should include parking information, security information, building entry codes and the fire procedures, too.

Emergency Contacts

If something happens to your new employee while they’re at work, you need to know who to call. While it’s a worst-case-scenario type of document it’s always to be prepared. Make sure every employee has completed an emergency contact form, and routinely check to make sure the information is up-to-date (typically about once a year).

Contingency Plans

A business always has to have health and safety procedures along with disaster planning. While it’s something that everyone hopes doesn’t happen, disaster plans have to be made and adhered to.

Your staff has to understand what they should do if a disaster happens and where they should be.

Goal Planning

Lastly, your new hire has to be clear on what the plan is for their future. You want them to be successful, so make sure that you have detailed how you plan to further their career and what your expectations are from them to make that happen. Your employee needs to feel valued, and this is a great way to do it.

The Easiest (And Quickest) Way to Get HR Paperwork Completed

We just gave you a pretty lengthy list of HR paperwork that should be completed by new hires. But there’s plenty more, such as when you update company policies and have to have everyone resign, or whenever any other important changes happen.

This process is difficult and tedious enough as it is. And it’s made even more difficult if your company is still doing it all on paper.

The best way to make sure employees complete HR paperwork quickly is to make it digital. With tools like Eversign and all the HR software available, there’s really no reason for employees to have to print, scan and copy documents anymore.

The best part about using a tool like Eversign is you’ll have copies of all your employee’s paperwork saved online, so if it ever needs to be updated or if they want a copy, it’s simple and easy to find. Plus, you can use saved templates to streamline the process.

HR Paperwork Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

The information that you include in your employee welcome pack has to be up to date with the law and should align with whether your new hire is permanent or temporary.

Once these documents have been read and signed, your new hire can settle into their place in the company securely.

Your HR processes should be clear and mapped out so that they are understood by everyone in the business. HR paperwork is pretty much the most important records that your business could keep, so make sure it’s kept properly, scanned and stored online as well as in paper files. It doesn’t have to be boring, but it will always be meaty!