Over the span of a year, American businesses collectively do hundreds if not millions of new hires that can be facilitated by HR onboarding software. This digital software helps overwhelmed employers and human resources departments simplify the Form I-9 component of the hiring process and provides an added measure of confidence in being compliant with government regulations.
The passage of the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 yielded a legal document, better known as the Form I-9, created to establish an individual’s identity and employment eligibility for working in the United States. Completion of this form is required of all employees who began working in 1987 and beyond.
Certain departments of the United States’ Homeland Security Department may conduct announced or unannounced Form I-9 audits at a business. Some audits may come with one- or two-days warning and others may come with no notice at all. During an audit, those businesses who are found not to be Form I-9 compliant can receive costly fines. Depending on the type of violation, businesses could be issued hefty fines, suffer a loss of workforce, or even the loss of a business license.
With the stakes so high, many businesses are doing everything they can to be compliant and prepared, often with the help of HR onboarding software.
What is HR onboarding software?
HR onboarding software, sometimes referred to as digital I-9 software, is designed to simplify and digitize the Form I-9 process. It assists employers with everything from preparation checklists to highlighting common errors to staying on top of Form I-9 deadlines that could potentially affect a company’s ability to be compliant. The software is an added resource in navigating the Form I-9 procedure that may provide employers with a more comprehensive peace of mind when it comes to preparing for potential audits.
HR Onboarding Software and the Form I-9
The Form I-9 may seem simple to navigate but can be more complex than it appears, especially when multiplied by numerous new hires for a business. Particularly because of the fast-paced deadlines associated with different sections of the Form I-9, it can be all too easy to make mistakes. HR onboarding software was created to help minimize common Form I-9 mistakes such as those below:
- Form Inconsistencies. Missing and inaccurate Form I-9s can be reason for a company to be found not compliant. With HR onboarding software, missing forms become less of an issue when information is digitized and paperless. The software can also be instrumental in catching blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures on the form, mistakes of which can negatively impact a company’s Form I-9 audit.
- Different sections of the Form I-9 have specific timelines for completion that can be easy for employers to miss when swamped with day to day responsibilities. Digital I-9 software is designed to provide helpful reminders to employers about upcoming deadlines.
- Document Tracking. The Form I-9 requires employees to provide one or more identification documents to the employer. It is the employer’s responsibility to verify all collected documents. HR onboarding software assists companies in tracking document collection.
- Documentation Follow Up. If an employee’s documentation is set to expire during the course of their employment, it can be grounds for compliance issues if no measures have been taken to attain new proof of eligibility prior to the documents’ expiration. The software can aid employers with timely reminders about soon to be expired documents for employees.
Why use onboarding software?
HR onboarding software can be an asset when it comes to catching common Form I-9 mistakes like the ones listed above, but its benefits go far beyond that feature. The user-friendly software is designed to help streamline the Form I-9 process from start to finish to help businesses be compliant and maintain that status.
Depending on the provider, software programs may vary slightly in design, but employers can generally expect some of the following:
- Digital System. By using digital Form I-9 software, employers can have access to a paperless solution. While cutting down on the number of papers associated with new hires is often desirable, it is usually even more so for employers who are juggling hiring at a company with multiple locations.
- Preparation Checklists. The amount of information required on a Form I-9 on an employee’s first day of work can be overwhelming. To help employees be better prepared, many HR onboarding software programs provide an advance peek at what information will be required. Employers should also have access to a checklist that helps keep the Form I-9 process moving forward with specific action items.
- Form Assistance. The Form I-9 is a complex document that requires a number of information fields and signature lines to be completed. HR onboarding software can help employers catch human errors on the form such as blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures. It can also provide prompts to employers regarding expiring documents that require action to avoid compliance issues.
- E-Verify Interface. Companies enrolled in the E-Verify program will appreciate the way it interacts with HR onboarding software. The two should work well together, allowing for the system to auto-populate, send important alerts, and flag open cases.
- Flexible Reporting and Audit Support. One of the features of HR onboarding software used by diligent management is flexible reporting. This component of the program lets employers access reports at any time to assess compliance. In the case of an official audit, the software company should be able to provide auditors with details about specific operations and an audit trail as well as a mass printing of a business’ Form I-9 records and attachments.
The stakes for not being I-9 compliant can be costly, and that is why businesses are increasingly turning to HR onboarding software to help them navigate the pitfalls of staying compliant with an increased peace of mind.