by Roderick McInnes0
Business Planning Post-Brexit – Next Steps
Back in February when David Cameron set a date for the EU referendum no one could have predicated the turmoil our country would be thrown into with a Brexit vote. Although many business leaders, economists, and commentators warned of the likely repercussions – varying from a short period of uncertainty to forecasts of economic collapse – it appears that no plans have been made to take the country forward post-Brexit.
As our politicians now position themselves for at least one leadership battle (at the time of writing Jeremy Corbyn has not been officially challenged, although who knows might have happened in the last ten minutes), businesses are left playing a wait and see game.
Business Leaders Need To Be Planning For The Future Post-Brexit
I think it is fair to say that it is not just the political elite who has not quite thought Brexit through. Many business leaders have been caught by surprise by this vote and now need to reassess their business plans with Brexit in mind. With months of political uncertainty ahead, and no date set on when Article 50 will be triggered, I do not believe businesses can afford this inertia.
Leaving the EU presents businesses with a whole raft of different factors that need to be addressed. Even without knowing at this point what our exit will actually look like, I think it is time to start making plans to ensure our businesses not only survive the turmoil but also continues to innovate and drive forward.
The following three key issues need to be addressed today:
Organisations who recruit EU workers will need to shore up their talent pipeline. Although EU workers have been advised that they will not have to return home if already working and resident in the UK, it is likely that some will want to return because of the Brexit vote. This is a particular challenge for the technology sector that relies heavily on EU workers to fill talent shortages, and the service industries where EU workers are cheaper than UK employees. HR Directors should now consider how they will replace employees in the long and short term, and if necessary develop new talent pipelines.
- Trade with Europe
Many in the EU would like to make an example of the UK to deter other members leaving and therefore we cannot be certain that our Government will be able to negotiate a favourable trade agreement. In the interim, businesses need to explore other options, both for procurement and supply chain, but also for non-EU cross-border trade. Contingency plans need to be drawn up now so that businesses have other options available if access to the single market is denied.
I sincerely hope that a collective cross in a box will not have undone the growth we have experienced in recent years, having come out of the recession. However we know that in times of uncertainty the default can be to strip back business and focus on core strengths rather than looking for growth. Yet at the minimum it will be two years before we leave the EU and we must remember that for organisations in other countries (EU and non-EU), it will be business as normal. UK organisations need to ensure they do not fall by the wayside during this transition.
In a crisis situation, which many people are calling Brexit, it is important to get the expertise on board to assess and advise, and to make strategic decisions and implement them for the future. I cannot think of a more opportune time to invest in this expertise for your business to ensure that a post-Brexit future is rosy.
Now is the time to take action to put contingency plans in place, or devise new strategies for a new UK business environment. Let the politicians get on with redefining the political landscape, whilst business leaders press ahead and show that UK plc. is open for business.