Recruiting the right talent post-Brexit is a major concern for UK businesses. With reports of European Union (EU) citizens returning home in their masses, workforce planning and labour supply is a top priority. Brexit planning cannot be carried out in a vacuum and it is necessary to consider wider workforce issues such as the economy, generational forces, atypical work, the effects of technology (including AI and the digital economy) and last but not least globalisation. Employers need to take a holistic view of their workforce and plan now to ensure a labour shortfall does not impact on their future business.
The following are our five tips on workforce planning pre-Brexit:
1. Audit your workforce and update records.
Carry out a risk assessment to determine the impact of Brexit on your labour supply. How many EU nationals do you have working for you? Do you have any UK employees working in the EU? Identify those who will need to regularise their immigration/settlement status in the future (EU and non-EU nationals).
Even if you do not rely on EU nationals, consider the impact of Brexit on the wider labour market which could have a knock on effect on your own talent pool.
2. Recruit and retain.
Ensure your business is the preferred place to work. Reward schemes, career progression, loyalty bonuses and strong values are all key to achieving this. Recruiting and retaining the best talent takes serious investment and employee engagement must certainly not be overlooked, particularly when labour supply is a concern.
Realise the full potential of your workforce. Ensure efficiencies are in place and performance is maximised through robust and fair performance management. Provide as much job security as you can.
Consider diversifying your recruitment strategy to ensure you make the most of the talent pool available. How strong is your social media presence? Do you have a social media recruitment strategy? Making use of sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be an inexpensive way of recruiting labour.
3. Assistance for EU nationals.
There is much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, however it is within every employer's control to provide their workforce with the comfort that they will do everything they can to support the individual through the process.
4. Succession planning.
What strategies can be implemented to deal with the labour supply shortage?
5. Brexit ready.
Businesses should prepare and plan ahead.
Now is the time for workforce planning and reviewing the potential impact of Brexit. If you haven't already done so consider appointing an employee focused Brexit working group. Having a team of people who are responsible for managing the impact of Brexit on the business is advisable. Not only can they help filter information to the business on key immigration announcements, they can also help prepare the business for any changes to employment legislation which may be on the horizon.
One theme which came out of our Brexit Blueprint: Labour Supply events is that businesses should "control the controllable". Although this phrase can be used in many contexts, its significance in a pre-Brexit environment is paramount. The UK Government has the unenviable task of negotiating a deal with the EU and this transitional period inevitably creates a large amount of uncertainty. Like it or not UK businesses cannot change the status quo. What businesses can do is engage with their people to ensure labour supply is not a significant issue and the business is not left exposed.Employees are known to be a businesses' key asset, employee engagement has never been more fundamental. Businesses that are able to innovate, adapt and engage their people will find themselves in an advantageous position post-Brexit. By carrying out workforce planning now businesses can ensure they remain in control rather than having to deal with a potential labour shortage crisis further down the line.