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Brexit impact on the workforce: HR implications

Brexit is the word we are all probably sick of at this point. It is also, however, at the center of an undeniably fascinating and disruptive time in UK and EU politics. For businesses, the implications could prove devastating if they're not prepared, particularly from an HR standpoint.

So, what can be done to mitigate the impact of Brexit on your workforce and what roles and Brexit HR strategies should they be tackling?

Positive mindset - There are bound to be difficulties that arise as a result of however Brexit is or is not sorted out, but it's HR's job to spin Brexit into a potential opportunity. Develop a proactive communications strategy to promote the values of your business and a more transparent and inclusive atmosphere.

Be proactive with EU workers - If free movement ends, any foreign EU workers in your employ are bound to start panicking about their futures. Be proactive in helping them to understand how Brexit will affect their status at the business and give them all the help they need in remaining in the UK. Settled status residents shouldn't have an issue, but helping those who have yet to apply should be your first priority.

Look to the here and now - We are currently living through a period of great economic instability and volatility. Look at how this is affecting the everyday facets of your business and your employees' finances - their pensions, incentive targets and bonus pools. You might need to consider increasing bonus pools to incentivize employees to work through a tough period. You'll also want to consider helping EU employees with more practical concerns such as applications for residency.

Bring in a transformation director - In times of turmoil (and regardless of your political opinions, it cannot be denied that Brexit is proving to be a tumultuous experience) change and transformation are often required. Because sometimes, the only way out is through and if you're stuck in your ways, that's far less likely to happen. Hiring a transformation director who is schooled in guiding businesses through major transitions will help you navigate the violent Brexit waves without falling overboard.

Look ahead - Ultimately, we cannot say with absolute certainty how Brexit will affect UK businesses going forward, we can only speculate. It also doesn't help that the story is changing every day, to the extent that it's perfectly within the realms of possibility that we won't end up leaving after all. Still, it's impotent for all HR teams to look ahead and plan for every possibility - how will the impact of a no-deal affect your talent pipeline? Whatever the weather going forward, HR will play an absolutely crucial role in implementing a solid and dependable Brexit strategy that will help the company to steer through just about anything to be thrown up in the next few months.

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