Brexit: Employment Implications for SMEs

Election results day is never the most productive, with employee’s minds on everything but their To Do list.  Today may be a record of disruption, with the entire workforce considering the implications of the Leave vote for the country, their families and their jobs.

In my view there are three immediate priorities for those with the HR or people management responsibility in SMEs.

1 – Communicate with employees.  Immediately and openly.  If you can give reassurances regarding the resilience of your plans and finances then do, but certainly don’t wait until you have this to start the conversation.  Let them know that you’ll be keeping them updated as implications for your organisation become clear.

2 – If you employ non-UK nationals, an extra note of reassurance about the contribution that they bring wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  It seems likely that there will be some system of protection for EU nationals already working in the UK, so there should be no reason for immediate concern regarding job security.

3 – Dust off your people plan and consider which activities could potentially be impacted.  Recruitment, management structures, development investments and key processes could all need some course-correction over the coming months as time frames and next steps are understood. For many organisations the focus will be resilience during this period of uncertainty.  As the wider implications to the economy and your own organisational context become clear, it will be helpful to have reaffirmed your priorities.

I’ve also been asked about the implications for Employment Law.  In the longer term it is a safe bet that TUPE, agency workers regulations and holiday legislation may be top of the list for review.  We are a long way from any laws going in the shredder though.

When considering the employment impacts, the general health of the economy and building organisational resilience is much more significant than legislation.

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