Hiring a new candidate is one of the most important decisions an HR professional makes—and it’s one you’ll have to make over and over again in your career. While the dynamics of who you’re looking for and how you hire may change over time, the process itself stays pretty consistent.
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Learning how to hire an employee in Florida sets the tone for a great early experience, plus it ensures you stay legal and compliant. Hiring is so much more than required paperwork—it’s also building connections with candidates, getting them excited to join the team, and making sure they have all the tools and resources they need to start on a high note.
In this guide, we’re covering everything from Florida new hire paperwork to HR best practices to deliver a strong Day 1 experience. Let’s dive in!
Florida New Hire Paperwork
Every employee in Florida must fill out a short stack of legal forms. These forms are fairly consistent across other states and include:
I-9 employee eligibility form
W-4 for federal tax purposes
DCW1 worker’s compensation form (blank copy)
Disability self-identification form (for businesses that work with government entities)
Last year, the state of Florida implemented its own I-9 verification system. It is also now mandatory for employers to retain copies of the I-9 form (you might have already been doing this, but now, it’s part of maintaining Florida onboarding compliance).
In addition to the Florida new hire paperwork above, employers may want to present their own forms and policies during the onboarding process. Examples include but are not limited to:
Employee handbook acknowledgment
Policies on travel, PTO, dress code, sick leave, etc.
Drug testing and background check consent forms
Video surveillance policy
Non-disclosures and non-competes
Wage deductions (e.g., for keys, uniforms, supplies, etc.)
Some companies prefer to hand over all of these forms on the employee’s start date. Others may use HR software tools to prepare a paperwork packet before the employee’s first day.
HR Task List Before Day 1
Welcoming your new hire with a mountain of paperwork and a smile doesn’t encourage much confidence on Day 1. This is your chance to make a positive first impression! Even though they’ll be expecting paperwork as part of the process, they also need to get a feel for your company. That’s where a strong Florida employee onboarding process can make all the difference.
Here are a few priorities for HRs before the new hire’s arrival.
Set Up Payroll
If your payroll system allows, go ahead and set up your new hire. They can clock in upon arrival and start integrating into your timekeeping practices as soon as possible. This also gives you one less task to handle as you create their new employee file and satisfy reporting and tax requirements.
Create a New Hire Packet
Employee handbooks, acknowledgments, policies, announcements, benefits—new hires are swamped with information on their first day. HRs can make this process easier by organizing all of the fine details into a single packet. Prepare the packet ahead of time so you don’t have to spend valuable Day 1 time printing forms or chasing down information.
Collect Access Cards, Passwords, and Codes
If your employee will be working on-site, make sure they have access to the right facilities. This might include a passcode to enter the office, key cards for shared parts of the building, or other codes for the various systems and software tools they’ll need to use.
Prepare the New Hire’s Team
Your new hire’s manager was probably involved in the hiring decision and knows they’re coming. But it’s a good idea to let them know when you have a firm start date. Share the good news with the rest of the team so they can get excited and start planning. Get them involved in preparing the new hire’s workspace. And if possible, let them reach out to introduce themselves to the employee to start building familiarity.
Choose a Mentor
A mentor can serve as your new hire’s point of contact for any questions. They can help your new hire become acclimated in the workplace, engage them with the company culture, and help instill confidence throughout onboarding and beyond.
Introduce the New Hire
There’s no warmer welcome for a new hire than having everyone in your company anticipating them. Send out a company-wide email introducing the new employee, including their name, job title, and a little background info.
Day 1 Onboarding Tips
Your new hire shows up for their first day of work and is ready to begin! Now is the time to help them feel welcome and stay excited for what’s to come. Here are a few tips to make their first day a success:
Offer an Office Tour
Office tours are fairly standard parts of onboarding and orientation. But don’t treat it as a formality. This can be a valuable part of the experience, as it exposes the new hire to the various moving parts of your company and all the people working behind the scenes. Use this opportunity to help your new hire connect with other employees. Make it fun by sharing information about the company, or even gamify this part if you are onboarding several employees at once.
Take Them to a VIP Lunch
After the monotony of paperwork and other first-day formalities, a lunch break can be a great time to break down the walls and get to know your new hire on a different level. Organize a first-day lunch and invite some of the higher-ups to join the fun. Skip the work talk and make this lunch all about getting to know the new employees. Show you care about them as a person and how glad you are that they’re part of your team.
Check in at the End of the Day
Before your new employee leaves at the end of the day, check in with them to see if they have any questions, concerns, or feedback. Chances are, you’ll have handed them off to a team leader or manager at some point and won’t know what the rest of their first-day experience was like. Take their feedback seriously and use it to improve your onboarding experiences for the next round.
How to Comply with FL State Employment Standards
While many HRs would rather focus their time and energy on the people part of their job, they also have to handle some legal compliance. Part of remaining a compliant workplace is displaying the required employment posters.
In Florida, federal and state-required posters include:
Florida’s Minimum Wage poster (Side Note: Florida’s minimum wage is slated to increase by $1.00 per year until September 2026, when it will reach $15.00 per hour. This increase will require a new poster to be displayed each year throughout these increases.)
Equal Opportunity is the Law poster
Job Safety and Health poster
For more information on required federal and state posters or to obtain copies of these posters, visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.
Florida Payroll & Tax Reporting Processes
Similar to other states, Florida has a specific process to follow when reporting new hires. This process applies to all new hires, rehires, and those returning to work after a leave of absence (e.g., FMLA).
Florida employers must report the new hire within 20 days of the employee’s start date. Reports can be mailed to:
Florida New Hire Reporting Center
P.O. Box 6500
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6500
Additionally, you can fax your new hire information (form W4) to (888) 854-4762 or report online at https://servicesforemployers.floridarevenue.com/Pages/home.aspx.
Even though the state of Florida collects no state income tax, Florida employers are still required to process and deposit federal income taxes on behalf of their employees, as well as Medicare and social security. Each company must determine whether they need to follow the monthly or semi-weekly deposit schedules. The IRS determines when employment taxes are due, which you can check here.
To make tax payments on behalf of your employees, you can use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Late payments may incur a penalty of up to 15%.
The good news: A lot of the legal and compliance aspects of hiring and onboarding are already in place for you if you’re working in an established HR department. However, it’s good for all HR professionals to know how your hiring and onboarding processes should work so that you can be proactive in ensuring nothing is overlooked. And if you are building a company or HR department from the ground up, you’ll be all the more familiar with what’s required of you in the hiring and onboarding phases.
How GoCo Transforms Your Florida Hiring & Onboarding
As much as you might love playing matchmaker between your organization and prospective employees, compliance is also a huge part of your job. And though all of the above information is correct at the time of this writing, seasoned HR pros know that requirements and legal processes are always subject to change.
That’s why GoCo’s all-inclusive HR software is designed to be your second brain when it comes to hiring and onboarding compliance. We take the sting out of payroll, taxes, reporting, employment forms, and all the other moving parts of the process so you can focus more on the people aspect. We’ve taken care to tailor our platform to state-specific HR needs so that you can remain compliant when hiring employees on-site and across state lines.
Our Magic Docs feature makes onboarding a breeze. Simply create your hiring forms one time, customize them for each employee with just a few clicks, then send them to employees via email for completion. Track their progress along the way to know who’s filled them out and who you need to reach out to, then keep their digital copies for easy reporting and referencing. Your new hires can spend less time doing typical Day 1 duties and dive right into the role they were hired to do.
For compliance you don’t have to think twice about, GoCo is your partner in all things HR. To learn more about faster, better, worry-free hiring and onboarding, get in touch today!
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