HR checklist: Questions for your first day of work

LAST REVIEWED Apr 05 2019 8 MIN READ

By The Human Interest Team

You’re starting a new job—congratulations! 🙂

(If you’re about to leave your current job, we would recommend this checklist instead: HR Checklist for Your Last Day of Work.)

Hopefully, your company and manager have made you feel welcome and provided the information you need to put your talents to work. While you may be excited and eager to jump in, keep in mind that it takes at least a few months to settle into a new routine, meet your colleagues, and understand your role within the organization.

Before you’re swamped with meetings and a list of projects to keep you busy, there are some essential new hire tasks you should take care of as soon as possible during your transition to your new job. If you miss an important deadline related to your new employee status, you may have to wait as long as a year to sign up for what your company has to offer.

Use this HR checklist for the first day of work; make sure you’re set up to reap the rewards of everything your new employer provides for employees:

Sign up for insurance benefits

Review the health insurance and life insurance plans available from your new employer. Pay close attention to enrollment timelines and eligibility dates for when you are entitled to receive health insurance coverage. Complete any forms and submit your application now, to avoid any potential gaps in coverage as you transition to your new employer’s insurance plans.

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Find out what other perks are available

Depending on the size of your employer, there may be other perks available. Ask about:

  • Transit-related offerings (e.g., free bus pass, bicycle lockers, or carpool incentives).

  • Gym membership rebates

  • Coupon services

  • Tuition reimbursement

  • Childcare discounts

  • Adoption assistance

  • Stock options

  • Dry cleaning service

  • Flexible work options

Even if you’re not going to take advantage of these perks immediately, knowing about them now helps you plan for how you can use them in the future. And, while a dollar amount may not be associated with these perks, they can save you money and are often considered part of an employer’s overall benefits package.

Enroll in the 401(k) and rollover your existing 401(k)

Find out if your employer provides a 401(k) plan, and if they offer a company match. Even if your budget is extremely tight, it’s important to take advantage of the employer’s matching contribution and contribute enough money to receive the match. Ask about the timelines for eligibility and when you’re eligible to start contributing.

If you had a 401(k) at your former employer, get information about the retirement investments that your new company provides and whom you should contact to transfer your existing 401(k) investments to your account under your new employer’s plan.

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Complete payroll forms

I know completing paperwork is no picnic–even when it’s online. But, forms related to your pay are necessary:

  • Sign up for direct deposit to ensure your paycheck reaches you promptly. Note: this is a good time to double-check the amount of your salary, as well when and how you’ll receive payment.

  • Complete your Federal W-4 Form with appropriate information about your marital status and allowances for federal withholding tax.

  • Complete a State W-4 Form (if applicable) to identify allowances for state withholding tax.

  • Confirm your Form I-9 (employment eligibility verification) has been processed.

Trust me, when it comes time to receive your first paycheck from your new employer, you’ll be glad that you took the time to handle the payroll forms on the first day of work.

Get all of your schedule information

Right now you’re probably very excited about your new job. But, three months from now you might be ready for a day—or two—away from work. Ask your HR team and manager to provide for schedule information about:

  • The number of hours you’re expected to work

  • Expectations about arrival and departure time

  • The company’s overtime policy

  • Holidays the company observes

  • Paid time off balance and accrual (vacation, sick, and personal days)

Many HR managers have put onboarding programs in place for new employees in their organization. If that’s the case at your new company, chances are the items in this checklist will be covered as part of an onboarding program or by your manager. But you can’t rely on that being the case. As you begin your new job, be prepared to ask the questions you need to ask to ensure you’re making the most of what your employer offers.

When you start a new job, there’s a lot to remember—the location of your workstation, the names of your new colleagues, and the way to the nearest restroom! Don’t let the stress and overwhelm of a new job cause you to forget important new hire tasks. Forgetting to sign up for health care benefits or missing the 401(k) plan’s enrollment deadline can make a difference in your immediate, as well as your long-term, financial situation. Those are new hire mistakes no one wants to make.

Make it easy for yourself: handle these important details on your first day so that you begin the next phase of your career with everything in place.

We believe that everyone deserves access to a secure financial future, which is why we make it easy to provide a 401(k) to your employees. Human Interest offers a low-cost 401(k) with automated administration, built-in investment advising, and integration with leading payroll providers.

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