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Sector Insights HR directors, Brexit

by Amanda Johnston

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Important Proactive Steps HR Directors Should Take Post Brexit

Without a doubt the EU referendum result has left companies and organisations around the country wondering what to do next. Do we wait until a new Prime Minister triggers Article 50, or do we keep calm and carry on?

Uncertainty is never good for business; Q4 and Q1 have been difficult months for many organisations in the run up to the EU referendum with decisions and programmes put on hold for after the vote. Now we have uncertainty caused by the Brexit result, combined with parliamentary disruption, and still no clear plan.

Brexit steps for business leaders

However, in my recent discussions with CEOs and HR Directors, I am sensing that the initial surprise of a Brexit vote is now being replaced by a desire for action. Yet with no clear timetable or plan of action from our political leaders, what steps can HR Directors take to ensure they are moving forwards?

HR Directors: 3 Post-Brexit Steps

  1. Protect The Profitability Of The Business

Staffing is one of the most costly areas of a business and therefore this must be aligned with the organisation’s strategy post Brexit. The impact of the vote may result in a downturn in revenues, a need to focus on specific parts of the business, or the opportunity to pursue a new direction. HR must be sensitive to these changes and help design and support any transformation; experienced HR Directors are an integral part of change programmes. The HR Director will also need to support senior managers and employees during post Brexit change, through employee engagement and clear communications helping employees understand why changes are being made.

  1. Engage And Retain Best Talent

Uncertainty has a very unsettling impact on staff, particularly when they are concerned that their jobs may not be secure. It is imperative that HR Directors identify their best staff, especially those that are key to driving new business strategies forward, and retain them. Employee engagement and retention strategies will already be part of the HR role, but now is most definitely the time to revisit and rethink these in light of the Brexit vote. Part of this process should be to consider the personal impact of Brexit on key members of staff, particularly those from EU states and employees based in European offices.

  1. Review Talent Pipelines

A key issue for many HR Directors will be how to manage their talent pipeline, especially if historically a percentage of employees are recruited from the EU. While we do not know what the Brexit decision means to EU migrants currently employed in the UK, now is a good time to assess your recruitment requirement and where that talent can be found. This process should also explore ways to retain your current team, provide training to develop and up skill employees, and also look at other resource options such as outsourcing.

Finally, perhaps the most important step you can take today, is to get some expert support and advice. Interim HR Directors are uniquely positioned to support organisations during change; and Brexit is certainly already forcing change on business and employees. Interim HR Directors have expertise that comes from exposure to a wide range of challenges faced by organisations and HR departments, and an ability to draw on this experience to find solutions in the best interest of those companies they work with.

I have created a checklist of actions HR teams should take today. These are the actions HR interims recommend to manage post-Brexit threats and seize the opportunities that this vote presents. Click on the link below for your copy.

Brexit, HR checklist







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About the Author

Amanda Johnston

Amanda joins Alium Partners with an extensive track record as a Senior HR professional and experience on “both sides of the table”. A true HR generalist, Amanda has a comprehensive background in a range of different organisations including acquisitions, re-structuring, delivering rapid growth and working with specialist HR teams (Reward, Recruitment, and HRIS).



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