As a product manager working in vertical SaaS, you often need to consider compliance and regulations when building your product. One of the most important forms in the HR/workforce management space is the USCIS I-9. In accordance with government regulations, employers must complete an I-9 for every new employee. In this post, we'll cover:
- Requirements to produce compliant I-9s.
- The benefits of automating the process of completing them.
- Creating an efficient process for completing I-9 forms
- Recommended solutions for filling, signing, and storing I-9s.
With the right knowledge and tools, product teams can easily integrate compliant I-9 forms into onboarding workflows in just one sprint cycle.
The I-9 form is an essential document for employers in the United States and must be completed for every new employee. Regardless of whether employees are full or part-time, the I-9 form is necessary for verifying employee identities and employment authorization. Here are a few key requirements that ensure forms are compliant:
- Both the employee and employer must complete the form within three days of the employee's start date.
- Employees must provide valid identification such as a driver’s license, social security card, or passport to prove identity and eligibility to work in the US. Employers must review and verify the validity of the documents.
- Both parties must sign the form with a legally binding signature.
- For current employees, the completed form must be kept on file for three years. If employment ends before three years, then the form must be kept on file for one year after employment ends.
Failure to comply with these requirements could result in significant fines and penalties from the government. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help create a largely automated process for completing I-9 forms accurately and guaranteeing compliance with minimal overhead.
For employers, requesting and processing onboarding documents like the I-9 is error-prone and time consuming. Creating a data-driven, automated I-9 experience reduces the administrative overhead involved with more traditional paper and PDF-based forms. Instead of managing a standardized process, skilled team members can focus on important tasks that aren't fit for automation, like welcoming new employees! Furthermore, integrating your I-9 workflow with data and cloud storage systems takes care of the regulations around document maintenance and data integrity.
Overall, automating the I-9 form filling process helps employers develop efficient workflows that ensure compliance with government regulations while streamlining their administrative processes and improving employee experience.
To speed up time-to-launch and reduce the drain on precious engineering resources, you should leverage automation tools for the core pieces of your I-9 (or overarching new hire onboarding) workflow.
There are 3 specific components where leveraging outside tooling is likely more efficient and robust than building your own:
- Webform tools that enable structured data capture. Built in validation can guarantee data is collected in a consistent way and can easily be shared with other systems. Many of these webform solutions are also mobile-friendly out-of-the-box, which can help increase completion rates.
- E-signature solutions are available to help complete the onboarding process securely and remotely, eliminating any need for physical signatures or documents to be emailed back and forth. An embeddable e-signature can be customized to match the look and feel of your app, creating a more seamless experience for your users.
- Pre-built form templates can speed up development time for your workflow, whether it includes data capture or just sending data to the I-9 form.
Product managers should take full advantage of these automation tools to launch a compliant I-9 workflow as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Rather than just a compliance headache, the I-9 form presents an opportunity to create operational efficiency and improve user experience. By understanding the full requirements to abide by government regulations before designing your process and leveraging existing tools for the main parts of your workflow, you can quickly build a largely automated end-to-end experience.
While there are a variety of tools out there, the Anvil Platform offers solutions that cover all aspects of new hire onboarding flows. With Anvil Workflows, API-accessible Webforms can be used to quickly and accurately collect data from new hires and paired with Etch e-sign for secure electronic document signing capabilities. Anvil also offers templates for many employment forms, including the I-9, as well as a pre-built Workflow that can be copied for free into any Anvil account.