When you’re onboarding employees acquired in a merger, buyout, or restructuring, getting all the data from that workforce transferred into your existing HRIS database is a challenge. However, if there are hundreds or thousands of employees, having them all fill out new paperwork may be simply not feasible.
Giving employees a chance to simply review their information and confirm that it is correct is a better option. Consider the possibility of loading acquired worker data into your onboarding program. Then, you can have employees perform a quick review and sign off on all their information as correct. This can be especially helpful with forms such as the W4 where a merger or acquisition might affect an employee’s withholding choices.
I9s are a whole different story. The accuracy of these critical forms should actually be performed as part of the due diligence before closing. Why? First, the successor company will become liable for any errors, omissions and expirations on I9 forms for acquired employees. This can be extremely costly. Issues with the entire I9 administration process of the absorbed company should be uncovered and addressed via a thorough audit.
Second, employees who are in the U.S. on a non-immigrant worker visa may become automatically ineligible to work if their employer of record no longer exists. As the new employer, you take on responsibility for determining portability of visa status and completing new petitions for these workers.
What about all the rest of the “new” employees? Can you or should you require them to fill out new I9s? This really depends on the exact nature of the transaction by which you are acquiring them and is a question for an HR/M&A attorney. However, what you shouldn’t do is ask only some of your new employees and not others to fill out the I9 based on ethnicity or their choice of permissible documents on their original I9. That’s a good way to get sued.
Other Important Forms
The forms that your acquired workers absolutely must fill out are your company policy acknowledgements. These documents solidify the legal relationship between your organization and each “new to you” employee. You should require workers to sign agreements to abide by your policies regarding confidentiality, use of technology, anti-harassment, etc. That way, they can’t later claim that they didn’t know the rules and “Things were done differently at the old company”.
Make onboarding acquired employees less time consuming by presenting them with a fast and easy online wizard that walks them through each step. Our Universal Onboarding solution can provide the efficiency you need for processing new hires, rehires, and acquired employees and is fully customizable to meet your unique business rules.