With the UK heading back to the negotiating table, and Jeremy Hunt hinting that ‘extra time’ may be needed to finalise the details of Brexit, it looks like the uncertainty caused by Brexit isn’t going anywhere any time soon . And that’s important for HR leaders for a few reasons:
First, the uncertainty Brexit is creating among business is enormous. Firms ranging from global giants to small firms have been feeling the effects, with restructuring, organisational change, and relocation all on the agenda.
In the worst cases, slowing business caused by the uncertainty is causing some organisations to cut back on employees and shrink their business to survive.
On top of this, HR leaders are preparing to deal with any changes in employment law that may come as we depart the EU’s common rulebook. Having a plan for any employees working in the UK who are EU nationals (or UK nationals working in the EU) is also essential.
At Connor we’ve been asking our social community for their thoughts how prepared their organisations are for Brexit. The results – and our thoughts on them – are below.
When it comes to governance, most organisations, it seems, are way behind. Three quarters of respondents said their organisations have no person or group with responsibility for mitigating the risks of Brexit for their organisations. With that in mind it’s perhaps not surprising that 47% said their organisations weren’t communicating anything with employees about their plans and approach to Brexit.
Both are missed opportunities. An effective governance body focusing on Brexit will enable an organisation to adapt to the changes Brexit brings without losing pace or focus.
Communicating plans clearly and effectively with employees will also help keep productivity and morale high by banishing fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Find out more on this topic in our in-depth blog post, “Governance, decision making and communication”.
Though this result may come as no surprise to most of us, the implications are worth discussing for HR leaders.
Given that we know most people haven’t seen any communications from their organisation about Brexit plans, then it’s possible that your organisation is perfectly able to cope with the upheaval – but that readiness hasn’t been communicated to the organisation.
Of course, if your organisation doesn’t possess the necessary flexibility and agility, this is a priority for the business to deal with. A good first step, as above, would be to appoint a person or group to assess the situation and recommend next steps.
As a side note, if respondents believe that their organisations are unprepared for the changes Brexit will bring, it’s worth asking – is the organisation prepared for any level of change at all? If not, this activity becomes doubly useful by making the organisation agile enough to deal with any change, not just Brexit.
When it comes to solving the challenges Brexit poses, support can come from many sources. It’s encouraging to see that our respondents plan to use as many of those sources as possible. Given how unpredictable Brexit and its impacts have and will continue to be, a balance of guidance from experts, trade insights, and your peers working in the thick of things will likely yield the best results.
We plan to continue publishing our thoughts on how Brexit will impact organisations and what they can do to get ahead of the curve in subsequent posts; but of course in the meantime we are on hand to help any organisation that needs support in thinking about and planning Brexit impact mitigation.
We would love to offer a free introductory consultation to start your organisation's thinking on this. To take advantage of this, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01491 414 010.