Brexit HR strategy: preparing for the unknown

A survey conducted by the CIPD in summer 2016 found that a mere six per cent of employees had a plan for securing their company’s non-UK workforce, with 69 per cent stating that their company did not have a post-Brexit plan. 

The rights and status of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU as a result of the referendum have not changed. Until Article 50 negotiations have been concluded we can only speculate as to what to expect. 

In the meantime we suggest that all organisations should know how many people in their workforce are from the EU. Review the right to work documents you have on file for all your employees and for any missing information, ask employees to provide evidence. 

Amongst all the possible changes that will derive from starting to operate outside the EU, what we do know is that the potential reduction in migration will cause profound difficulties for certain sectors.

The sectors that will experience the most immediate effect on recruitment are those with a disproportionate reliance on EU nationals. Employers need to consider that the UK is likely to grant entry to skilled workers through the introduction of a flexible points based system for working permits. However, the burden of this may act as a deterrent to workers who could freely work in an EU member state.

Making better decisions about recruitment and retention

Thinking about your recruitment strategy and understanding why your most talented employers work for you will help in choosing the right recruitment techniques for your organisation.

When it comes to retaining staff considering these three questions for learning and development are key to future decision making:

1. Do you have a succession plan in place? 
2. Are you taking advantage of government internship and apprenticeship schemes? 
3. Do you need to re-evaluate your recruitment budget and consider more short term contracts to cover busier periods?

All these questions need to be considered now so that employers have a sound HR strategy as and when decisions on EU migration are enforced.

If you would welcome a discussion to explore possible future impacts or expanding your HR strategy to factor in Brexit changes please contact Steve Sweetlove or your usual RSM contact.