In business, people are your greatest asset.
With around 2.1 million EU nationals working in the UK, there is a high probability your business employs at least one.
The referendum result has already surfaced profound implications for businesses and their workforce. Employers have told us that fluctuations in the exchange rate, and the uncertainty surrounding the rights of workers to remain, has resulted in some EU employees feeling unsettled and even leaving the UK.
While there is no certainty around the future of the UK's immigration system, businesses should plan for the following:
- An end to the free movement of people between UK and EU
- Increased government focus and regulation on employer workforce relations
- Continued exchange rate fluctuations
Things to consider
Retaining and recruiting the skills you need
Minimising skills gaps and remaining attractive to international talent despite the depreciation in the pound will be key to a successful transition. To achieve this you should consider how to:
- develop and review remuneration packages, benefits and incentive schemes with an increased focus on non-cash benefits
- provide assistance with citizenship applications and work-permits
- review talent and workforce plans – considering options for less access to EU workers.
While we do not know what the future holds, you can prepare for any eventuality by reviewing your current employment processes to:
- identify opportunities to streamline procedures and implement efficiencies e.g. expenses policy, salary sacrifice and company car arrangements.
- ensure your workforce are prepared to deal with incoming changes and have the capacity to manage increased administrative requirements
- analyse the make-up of your current mobile population and understand the impact of increasing costs of international assignments.
The importance of leadership
During uncertain times clear leadership is vital to business success. Organisations should focus on:
- creating a robust and effective engagement plan with employees to maintain their focus on the business fundamentals
- ensuring leadership have a clear vision and purpose aligned to key strategic goals.
Developing domestic talent
Given the uncertainty ahead, businesses should explore alternative solutions to sourcing labour. The Apprenticeship Levy, which comes into force in April 2017, provides an opportunity for English employers to develop the skill sets of their current workforce.
Organisations should utilise funds to train their future workforce, resolve the skills gap and retain talent whilst minimising the tax cost.
Automation provides business with an opportunity to both reduce reliance on low-skilled labour and invest for the future.
With the UK only slightly ahead of the global average when it comes the use of robotics, there is plenty of room for growth.