CIPD offers advice for firms preparing for Brexit

The CIPD is advising businesses and HR to think about the future and lay the groundwork for future workforce planning post-2019 through risk analysis, considering the recruitment proposition and ensuring capability.

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With Article 50 now triggered and the terms of the negotiations to be ratified by EU leaders at the end of April 2017, the professional body for HR and people development is outlining the issues employers might like to consider ahead of a binding Brexit agreement scheduled for two years’ time.“The triggering of Article 50 marks the start of a process that we expect to have significant implications for our immigration policy and access to EU migrant workers, as well as other possible changes to our employment legislation and frameworks,“ said CIPD chief executive, Peter Cheese, yesterday.“It may take years to fully understand the implications of Brexit for the UK but it’s also important to recognise that this is just one of many forces shaping the future world of work. Now more than ever, we need government and businesses to put people and skills development at the heart of their thinking.”

Preparing HR foundations for Brexit

Acknowledging the acceptance yesterday by president of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, of UK prime minister Theresa May’s letter triggering negotiations around the UK leaving the EU, the CIPD says Brexit is a good opportunity to “lay the groundwork for future workforce planning now.”Recent CIPD research shows a significant fall in the number of migrant workers to the UK, as well as an upswing in the number of EU workers looking to leave the country, with likely significant implications for UK productivity and competitiveness.

Read more from Relocate on Britain's exit from the European Union:

Workforce planning

To manage the changes ahead and to prepare for the future, the CIPD is recommending HR takes the lead with workforce planning tied to business strategies.The CIPD’s research identifies that the hospitality, agriculture, retail, health and social work, construction and manufacturing sectors are most likely to be impacted by any changes to EU workers’ right to work in the UK.Employers in these sectors are therefore most likely to benefit from assessing how easy it is to hire internally and externally into these roles and make plans accordingly.

Employee value proposition

With skills in short supply, the CIPD also recommends companies might like to consider their recruitment proposition. This involves assessing how current employees see the company, how the external market sees the company as an employer and how the leadership team sees the development of the company to see if they align. This is a key issue as the workforce ages and the number of younger workers entering the labour market declines.

Brexit management capability

In addition to the skills and talent agenda, this afternoon UK Brexit secretary David Davis addressed parliament on the contents of the Great Repeal Bill. EU laws on workers’ rights are among those that will be transposed to a rewritten UK statute, possibly to be amended or scrapped later.The government's aim in the short-term is for businesses to be able to carry on as usual in line with the “certainty and stability” message at the heart of these initial negotiation stages.However, in the longer term there is likely to be uncertainty, particularly with this summer's Taylor Review into modern working practices. This could see moves to update employee relationships and bring its own legislative changes.The CIPD is therefore advising companies and HR professionals to ensure resources are available to plan and deliver changes around employment law and the employment relationship.

For more news and analysis on Brexit and the impact on HR, see the current spring issue of Relocate magazine. Download it here.

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