“How HR Can Prepare for Brexit's Impact”


“The United Kingdom's recent vote to leave the European Union (EU) could have implications for global organizations and their HR teams and could potentially affect recruiting, hiring and employer branding for those organizations.

“In a historic referendum in June, the British public voted to withdraw from the 28-member bloc; supporters for withdrawal saw it as the only way to maintain U.K. sovereignty over EU regulations and to reduce high levels of immigration that resulted because of the EU's principle of free movement of labor…

“…Ben Wilkins, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, expects the vote to have ‘significant implications’ for businesses and their workforces that will range from immigration to global mobility to pay, pensions and social security.

“‘In the immediate aftermath of the result, employers will need to concentrate on keeping abreast of the changes, reviewing the implications for their workforce and then communicating with their employees,’ he said in a news release. 

“…There are steps that [Jennifer] Baillie Stewart said HR and their organizations can take to be prepared once Article 50 is triggered and the U.K. begins its separation from the EU: 

  • “Conduct an audit of your workforce to assess which employees, if any, could be subject to the new laws. If any employees have lived in the U.K. for at least six years, they are eligible for British citizenship, which can have tax implications for the individual and the employer. 
  • “…Drill down to see what options are available and what guidance employers can provide to their employees.
  • …Communicate with employees, even if there is no new news. An absence of communication can lead to rumors, lowered morale and disengagement.
  • …Plan for a longer lead time to get new employees on board if your organization wants to recruit large blocs of employees.
  • …Create a task force to help bring together skill sets for the organization's industry, with HR as a key member of the task force. The task force can act in an advisory capacity to the organization's leaders and help with communication.

“‘Immigration is not simple,’ Baillie Stewart emphasized, ‘and it will take time for solutions to be developed and implemented. The U.K. still wants to be open for business and thrive as an economy, and it's going to be in a transition period over the next two years.’”

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