Hello! I'm looking to hire my first employee, but I'm very concerned about compliance and doing it legally. Is there a good HR SaaS or online payroll company that helps with compliance and the paperwork? Thanks!
Outsource everything. For HR, outsource to Trinet. It's cost effective and comes with everything you need, including the option to offer health care, etc.
Well, it sounds like you have the basic idea that HR is really about the mechanics of handling employees, not hiring. Once the employment offer has been made and accepted, there's really very little you need to do. Unless you're offering healthcare benefits, have regulatory compliance training required, or some other policies that need to be communicated, the process of onboarding a new employee is entirely custom and up to you.
Yes, if you're paying the employee wages (in the U.S.) you will need to complete some basic tax forms like W-4 and I-9. As it's your first employee other than yourself, you will probably not get much benefit from a payroll service, except in that you may have no experience calculating tax withholding. This can be often most easily solved by buying the add-on package from your accounting software company, like Quicken. The twenty-some bucks a month they charge is probably worthwhile if you don't know payroll accounting practices yourself. Quicken and software like it will usually walk you through the payroll forms and such that are part of employee handling, as well as hold the money you owe as employer contribution to tax withholding, and send it annually to the right agencies.
Otherwise, separate payroll and HR companies charge anywhere from $35-100 per employee per month to handle that administrative task. If you have a regular accountant (I hope you do), they can also set up the new employee in your accounting system so paying them properly won't be difficult. It can be one of their weekly, monthly, or supplemental tasks depending on how you currently use your accounting firm.
As far as best practices in interviewing, making an offer, and so on, there's a lot of information available online from professional HR associations and law offices that won't cost you anything to read. And it will help you avoid sticking your foot in your mouth with certain words or not implying an offer or saying something discriminatory or in not asking questions you can't ask.
It's a big step hiring your first employee and it should be as fun as it is nerve racking.
In summary, first ask your accountant to prepare what you need to add an employee and start a payroll. They'll know what's best for the system you're using today. And if for some reason you don't have an accountant, go straight to your accounting/billing software company to see what easy add-ons they can offer to handle this task.
There's very little that can't be fixed if it's wrong when you do accounting, though there are some time-limits on making them right. You CAN do it all yourself by hand if you read, read, read, but a little bit of software can make you feel a lot less nervous.
Don't have much to add other than congrats on getting to the point where you can make your first hire! I'm dreaming of that day.