10 Crucial Onboarding Forms for New Hires [+ 4 Templates]

Explore our guide to 10 essential onboarding forms with templates. Simplify the hiring process, ensure smooth transitions, and set up new hires for success.

Get the Feathery newsletter

Get the best of Feathery. Once a month. Directly to your inbox.

Welcoming new talent into an organization is an exciting yet critical process. Streamlined onboarding not only ensures a smooth transition for the newcomer but also lays the groundwork for their future success within the company. 

A vital component of this process is the utilization of proper onboarding forms. These documents facilitate efficient communication, set clear expectations, and gather essential information from new hires. 

Whether you're a startup seeking to professionalize your hiring process or an established firm looking to enhance your onboarding, this guide will walk you through 10 indispensable onboarding forms, complemented by handy templates to get you started. 

But first things first: let’s talk a bit about onboarding and its benefits.

What's onboarding?

Onboarding is a crucial process for every organization that ensures new employees have a smooth transition into their roles. It involves providing them with the necessary information, tools, and support to integrate into the company culture and become productive members of the team.

During the onboarding process, new employees are introduced to the company's policies, procedures, and expectations. They are provided with an employee handbook that outlines important information such as company values, dress code, working hours, and any other policies and guidelines. This handbook serves as a reference guide for employees to understand the company's standards and helps them navigate through their roles effectively.

Onboarding also involves completing various forms and paperwork. These forms may include direct deposit forms, W-4 forms for tax withholding, and W-9 forms for independent contractors. New employees may also need to provide their Social Security numbers, identification documents, and other government forms such as the I-9 form, to verify their eligibility to work in the country.

Additionally, onboarding forms may include agreements such as non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and employment contracts. These documents protect the interests of both the company and the employee by setting expectations regarding intellectual property, confidentiality, and duration of employment.

The onboarding process also includes informing new hires about available benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, life insurance, and disability insurance. Employees may need to complete additional forms to enroll in these benefits or make changes to their existing coverage.

Onboarding is not only about paperwork but also about introducing new employees to their colleagues, assigning them a buddy or mentor, and familiarizing them with the company culture. This can be done through team-building activities, orientation sessions, and one-on-one meetings with managers and key stakeholders.

An effective onboarding process is essential for the success of both the company and the new employee. It ensures that new hires feel welcomed, supported, and equipped with the necessary resources to thrive in their new roles. Organizations must invest time and effort in creating comprehensive onboarding programs to set a strong foundation for their employees' success.

Benefits of onboarding forms

Onboarding forms play a vital role in the effective integration of new employees into a company. These forms not only ensure compliance with legal and administrative requirements but also offer several benefits to both employers and employees.

One of the main benefits of onboarding forms is that they streamline the hiring process. By providing all the necessary information and documentation upfront, employers can save time and effort in collecting and organizing these details later on. This allows HR personnel to focus on other important tasks during the onboarding process.

Moreover, onboarding forms help establish clear communication between employers and new employees. By providing forms such as employee handbooks, direct deposit forms, and tax withholding forms, employers can clearly communicate their expectations, policies, and procedures. 

This ensures that new employees understand the company's values, guidelines, and processes from the very beginning, reducing any confusion or ambiguity.

Onboarding forms also assist in compliance with legal requirements. Forms like the I-9 form help verify an employee's eligibility to work in the country, ensuring compliance with immigration laws. Other agreements such as non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements protect a company's intellectual property and sensitive information, safeguarding its interests.

Furthermore, onboarding forms facilitate the enrollment of new employees in benefit programs. Forms related to health insurance, retirement plans, life insurance, and disability insurance help employees make informed decisions about their coverage. 

Completing these forms early on ensures that employees have access to these benefits as soon as possible and can make any necessary changes or adjustments as needed.

In addition to these practical benefits, onboarding forms also contribute to the overall employee experience. By providing all the required paperwork in an organized and efficient manner, new employees feel welcomed and supported. 

This positive first impression can lead to higher employee engagement, job satisfaction, and a faster acclimation to the company culture.

Types of onboarding forms

Now, let’s discuss some common types of onboarding forms employers use to ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding experience.

1. Employee handbook

An employee handbook is an essential tool for effectively communicating company policies, expectations, and guidelines to new employees. It covers topics such as code of conduct, dress code, vacation policies, and disciplinary procedures. 

By providing employees with access to the employee handbook during the onboarding process, employers ensure that there is clarity and consistency in communicating their values and expectations.

2. Tax forms

Tax forms, such as the W-4 form and state withholding forms, are crucial for ensuring accurate withholding of federal and state income taxes from employees' salaries. 

These forms provide employers with necessary information like the employee's social security number, marital status, and allowances claimed. By completing these forms during the onboarding process, employers can ensure that employees' tax withholdings are set up correctly from the start.

3. Employment contract

An employment contract is a formal agreement between the employer and the employee, outlining the terms and conditions of employment. This document details important information such as job title, compensation, benefits, and probationary period, if applicable. 

By having employees review and sign the employment contract during the onboarding process, employers can ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations.

4. Benefit enrollment forms

Benefit enrollment forms are used to enroll new employees in various benefit programs offered by the company. These can include health insurance, retirement plans, life insurance, and disability insurance. 

By completing these forms early on in the onboarding process, employees can make informed decisions about their coverage and start enjoying these benefits as soon as they become eligible.

5. Non-disclosure agreements

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are essential for protecting a company's intellectual property and sensitive information.

These agreements prohibit employees from sharing confidential information with outside parties without proper authorization. By having new employees sign NDAs during the onboarding process, employers can safeguard their trade secrets and ensure the security of their valuable assets.

6. I-9 form

The I-9 form is used to verify an employee's eligibility to work in the United States. It requires the employee to provide documentation, such as a social security card or passport, to establish their identity and employment authorization. 

By completing the I-9 form within the first three business days of the employee's start date, employers can ensure compliance with immigration laws.

7. Direct deposit forms

Direct deposit forms are an essential part of the employee onboarding process. These forms allow employees to authorize their employers to deposit their wages directly into their chosen bank account, eliminating the need for physical paychecks

With the convenience and efficiency that direct deposit offers, it's no wonder that an increasing number of companies are adopting this method of payment.

Direct deposit forms typically require employees to provide their bank account details, including the bank name, account number, and routing number. 

It's crucial for employees to double-check these details to ensure that their wages are deposited accurately and without any delays. Any errors in the information provided can result in payment issues and unnecessary complications.

By opting for direct deposit, employees can enjoy the following benefits:

  • It eliminates the need to physically deposit paychecks in person
    This can save employees valuable time and effort. With direct deposit, employees can have peace of mind knowing that their wages will be in their accounts on payday, even if they are unable to physically go to a bank.
  • It reduces the risk of lost, stolen, or misplaced paychecks
    Employees no longer have to worry about misplacing or damaging their paper checks, as their wages are automatically deposited into their bank accounts. This also provides a level of security, as the risk of theft or fraud associated with physical paychecks is significantly minimized.

From an employer's perspective, direct deposit offers numerous advantages as well.

  • It streamlines the payroll process
    Direct deposit reduces paperwork and administrative tasks. Employers no longer need to print and distribute paper checks to their employees, saving on printing costs and reducing the chances of errors in distributing pay.
  • Helps promote a more eco-friendly workplace
    Direct deposit can reduce paper waste significantly

How to set up a direct deposit? 

Employees are typically required to complete a direct deposit authorization form provided by their employer. This form will usually require employees to provide their personal information, such as their name, address, and Social Security number. 

Employees will also need to provide their bank account details, as mentioned earlier, ensuring that the employer has the necessary information to deposit funds correctly.

Employers should provide clear instructions and guidance on how to complete the direct deposit form, ensuring that employees have a seamless experience during the onboarding process. 

It's important for employees to fill out the form accurately and verify the information provided before submitting it to their employer.

8. Social security forms

Social Security forms play a vital role in the onboarding process for new employees. These forms are mandatory and require employees to provide their Social Security number, which is a unique identifier used by the Social Security Administration to track individuals' earnings and administer benefits.


One of the most common Social Security forms is the W-4 form, also known as the Employee's Withholding Certificate. This form is used to determine the amount of federal income tax that should be withheld from an employee's paycheck. 

It requires employees to declare their filing status, such as single or married, and specify any additional withholding allowances. Accurately completing this form is crucial to ensure that the correct amount of taxes is withheld, avoiding any surprises at tax time.


Another important Social Security form is the SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card. This form is typically used when hiring a new employee who does not already have a Social Security number. 

It requires individuals to provide personal information such as their name, date of birth, place of birth, and parents' names. This form is then submitted to the Social Security Administration to request a new or replacement Social Security card.

Making sure the forms are completed correctly

Employers must ensure that employees complete Social Security forms accurately and provide all the required information. 

Incomplete or incorrect forms can delay the processing of important records and may cause issues with payroll and benefits administration. Employers often provide clear instructions and guidance to employees to help them properly fill out these forms and avoid any errors.

It's important to note that while Social Security forms are essential for payroll and taxation purposes, they also play a crucial role in ensuring that employees are eligible for Social Security benefits in the future. 

These benefits include retirement income, disability benefits, survivor benefits, and Medicare healthcare coverage. By collecting accurate information on Social Security forms, employers help establish a record of the employee's earnings, which is used to calculate future benefits.

9. Non-compete agreements

Non-compete agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, are legally binding contracts that prevent employees from engaging in competitive activities with their former employers for a certain period of time after leaving the company. 

These agreements are designed to protect a company's trade secrets, confidential information, and customer relationships.

Non-compete agreements typically contain clauses that restrict employees from working for a competing company in the same industry or geographic area, soliciting clients or employees from their previous employer, or starting a competing business. 

The aim is to prevent employees from using the knowledge and experience gained from their previous employment to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

These agreements are commonly used by companies that heavily rely on innovation, proprietary information, or specialized expertise. Industries such as technology, research and development, and pharmaceuticals often require employees to sign non-compete agreements to protect their valuable intellectual property.

A controversial topic

Non-compete agreements are a contentious topic, as they can limit an individual's ability to seek new employment opportunities. Critics argue that these agreements can stifle competition and hinder an individual's career growth by preventing them from working in their chosen field.

On the other hand, proponents of non-compete agreements argue that they're necessary to protect investments made in employee training and development and to safeguard a company's competitive advantage.

The enforceability of non-compete agreements varies by jurisdiction. Some states have stricter laws that limit the scope and duration of these agreements, while others may enforce them more favorably for employers.

It is essential for both employers and employees to understand the specific regulations and legal considerations surrounding non-compete agreements in their respective jurisdictions.

When considering whether to include a non-compete agreement in an employment contract, employers should carefully evaluate the necessity and reasonableness of the restrictions. 

They should ensure that the agreement strikes a balance between protecting their legitimate business interests and not unreasonably restraining an employee's right to earn a living.

For employees, it is critical to carefully review and negotiate the terms of a non-compete agreement before signing. Understanding the specific limitations and implications of the agreement can help individuals make informed decisions about their careers and future job prospects.

10. Retirement plans

As employees enter into the workforce, it's important for them to start thinking about their long-term financial stability. One crucial aspect to consider is retirement planning. 

A retirement plan is an essential tool that allows individuals to save and invest, ensuring they can enjoy a comfortable retirement when the time comes.

Retirement plans come in various forms, with the most common being employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. These plans offer employees an opportunity to contribute a portion of their income towards retirement on a pre-tax basis. Employers may also offer matching contributions, further boosting employees' retirement savings.

Tax advantages

The beauty of retirement plans lies in their tax advantages. Contributions made to these plans are tax-deferred, meaning individuals don't pay taxes on that money until they withdraw it during retirement. This helps employees lower their taxable income while simultaneously building their retirement nest egg.

One significant advantage of employer-sponsored plans is automatic payroll deductions. This convenient feature allows employees to save for retirement effortlessly, as a percentage of their paycheck is automatically deducted and invested into their retirement account. 

This "set it and forget it" approach can be a great way to consistently grow savings over time.

Additionally, retirement plans often provide a variety of investment options to suit different risk tolerances and time horizons. Employees can choose from a range of funds, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, allowing them to tailor their investments to match their financial goals.

It's important to understand the available investment options and seek guidance from financial professionals if needed.

Employer matching 

Another key consideration with retirement plans is employer matching. Some employers offer a matching contribution based on the employee's contributions, up to a certain percentage of their salary. 

This is essentially free money and can significantly boost one's retirement savings. Employees should take full advantage of employer matches to maximize their retirement benefits.


As retirement approaches, employees can also explore additional retirement planning avenues. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are available to anyone, regardless of employment status, and offer further tax advantages

Traditional IRAs allow for tax-deferred contributions, similar to employer-sponsored plans, while Roth IRAs offer tax-free withdrawals during retirement.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting retirement plans is key to ensuring continued progress towards one's retirement goals.

Life circumstances and financial situations may change, necessitating adjustments to contributions or investment strategies. It's essential to stay informed about the performance of investment funds and consult with financial advisors when necessary.

Bonus form: new hire questionnaire

The new hire questionnaire is a foundational element of the onboarding process. Designed to capture vital information from incoming employees, it aids organizations in understanding the backgrounds, preferences, and aspirations of their new members. 

By gathering details ranging from basic personal data to insights about their work style and expectations, this form ensures a more tailored and efficient integration into the team.

It's not just a logistical step; it's a proactive measure to pave the way for enhanced communication, role clarity, and immediate alignment with the company's culture and objectives. 

Building bridges: What to include in a new hire questionnaire 

Additionally, this questionnaire can serve as a bridge between HR teams, managers, and the new hire. By identifying any special requirements, training needs, or potential challenges upfront, the organization can preemptively address concerns and create a supportive environment. 

Feedback from these questionnaires can also be instrumental in refining the overall onboarding experience, highlighting areas of improvement and showcasing what the company is doing right. 

With the right questions, companies can set the tone for a collaborative and productive relationship from day one.

Here's a list of questions that can be included in a new hire questionnaire:

Basic personal details:

  • Full Name
  • Preferred Name or Nickname
  • Contact Information (Phone & Email)

Previous experience:

  • What were your main responsibilities in your last job?
  • What software or tools are you proficient in that relate to your new role?

Work preferences:

  • Do you have a preferred working style? (e.g., collaborative, independent)
  • Are there specific times during the day when you're most productive?

Learning and development:

  • What areas would you like to further develop or receive training in?
  • Are there any certifications or courses you're interested in pursuing?

Logistical details:

  • Do you have any special requirements or accommodations needed for your workstation or work environment?
  • Are there any tools, software, or resources you need to start effectively?

Company integration:

  • How do you prefer to receive feedback?
  • What information or resources would help you feel more integrated into our team?

Goals and aspirations:

  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • How can the company support you in achieving these goals?

Work-life balance:

  • Do you have any commitments or hobbies outside of work that may affect your availability?
  • What are your preferred working hours?

Feedback and expectations:

  • What are your initial impressions of our company and team?
  • Are there any immediate concerns or expectations you'd like to share?

Cultural fit and team dynamics:

  • What type of work environment do you thrive in?
  • How do you handle conflicts or disagreements in the workplace?

These questions are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the new hire, allowing the organization to tailor their onboarding and integration accordingly. However, feel free to modify or expand them based on your company's specific needs and culture.

Ready to try Feathery?

Feathery is a highly customizable and scalable form builder, making it an ideal choice for devs and product teams.

4 Form templates: onboarding made easy with Feathery

At Feathery, we make onboarding new employees easier than ever. Our customizable templates help take the stress out of paperwork and provide an easy way to ensure all your important documents are filled out and stored safely.

We offer a variety of pre-made templates, from standard employment contracts to employee handbooks, so you can get everything taken care of quickly and easily. 

Here are 4 onboarding templates you can use:

1. SaaS onboarding form

Get the template: SaaS Onboarding Flow form

2. Signup and onboarding form with Stripe payment

Try it yourself: Signup & Onboarding Flow (Stripe) form

3. Signup and onboarding form with Robinhood payment

Get the form template: Signup & Onboarding (Robinhood) form

4. Simple onboarding form

Create a free form: Simple Onboarding Flow form

Make better onboarding forms

With our intuitive drag-and-drop feature, creating and sending documents is faster and easier than ever. Plus, our secure document storage ensures that all your important files are kept safe and organized. So make sure to take advantage of Feathery's onboarding templates the next time you're hiring new employees.

One of the most important elements of onboarding new employees is providing them with all the information they need to succeed in their new role.

Companies should make sure to gather all relevant documents, such as job descriptions, company policies and procedures, and safety training materials, before the employee's first day.

It’s also important to review any applicable laws or regulations that may affect the employee's position, such as workers' compensation or labor laws.

In addition, employers should provide employees with information about their benefits package and other important company information, such as contact information for HR personnel.

By taking the time to provide all of these documents during the onboarding process, employers can ensure that their employees start off on the right foot and have a successful transition to their new role.

Ready to try intuitive software for building bespoke onboarding forms? Create a free Feathery form.