Skip links

National Specialty Retailer

Industry :
Products :
Tax Withholding Forms

The Situation

When you’re a specialty retailer that prides itself on selling experiences to customers, the experience must first start with your employees. Yet, the HR team was challenged to welcome more than 50,000 annual new hires across 3,500 store locations relying on a labor-intensive, paper-based onboarding process. The retailer juggled nearly 100 different onboarding compliance forms across its five store brands—at a production cost of $250,000 annually—all while trying to avoid possible compliance and tax issues.

The onboarding process placed the burden on store managers to organize paper onboarding packets verifying each packet included the correct forms based on the employee’s locality and position. The retailer estimates store managers spent 90 minutes preparing for each new employee orientation, which in a busy retail holiday season wasn’t practical.

To make matters more challenging, after new employees completed W-4 forms, the store manager would call the HR call center to manually record tax updates, leading to potential errors. The storage of completed tax and employment forms was not consistent, and HR lacked visibility into whether forms were completed properly. It was clear that a new process to streamline onboarding was needed.


The Solution

Initially working with CIC Plus to enable its new online W-4 tax withholding process, the specialty retailer quickly realized during implementation the benefits CIC Plus could provide for their overall onboarding process. The nearly one hundred compliance forms were simplified into 35 online forms—all available from one location for employees. Today, the CIC Plus portal automatically delivers all required onboarding forms based on the employee’s store, locality and job level.


 “CIC Plus completely transformed the way we manage employee onboarding. With CIC Plus, we’re now able to target the appropriate forms down to the individual employee, saving valuable time and ensuring compliance. From a compliance perspective, we moved from significant risk to full visibility.”

– HR Manager, Compliance & Reporting


The Results

The benefits extended well beyond the initial W-4 process to truly help streamline onboarding and enhance the new employee experience. Specifically:

  • Store managers no longer serve as compliance partners prepping and assisting new hires to complete the onboarding paperwork. Instead they can focus on store operations and employee development. The difference was felt right away by store managers.
  • HR and Payroll gained immediate visibility to employee compliance, which helped reduce the potential for risk and liability.
  • The anytime-anywhere access to online tools and intelligent-based forms greatly improved the employee experience. The easy-to-use portal enables employees to self-manage the onboarding process quickly and securely.
  • As new regulations or company compliance requirements emerge, the retailer can quickly introduce new forms for employees to complete throughout the retailer’s large store footprint.

Given the impact of the onboarding transformation in the U.S., the specialty retailer is now looking to expand the program to its stores in Canada. It’s an experience both HR and employees will welcome.