Change | How should HR be supporting staff in the run up to Brexit?

How should HR be supporting staff in the run up to Brexit?

The entire business community is facing economic and political turmoil as a result of Brexit: employees are also likely to be worrying about how impending change might impact them. In such uncertain times, the support offered by HR can make a positive difference.

Although there is still little clarity about what Brexit will mean for businesses and for employees, HR can take a proactive stance. Clearly individual employees will have specific concerns, so initially HR should take steps to establish what these are. An HR software survey tool is a good way to address this.

Once the results are gathered, assess these three areas:

  1. Job security (which applies to all staff)

  2. Specific concerns expressed by EU nationals on the payroll

  3. Other wider concerns beyond the influence of the business

Firstly, every UK business with European customers or supply chains are facing some serious challenges. Even if you have identified potential problems and worked on strategies to mitigate risks, the reality (when Brexit happens) is still likely to cause disruption and result in unforeseen impacts, costs or issues. Your workforce will be acutely aware of this and will be worried about their job security.

Are your staff worried about job security post-Brexit? What should HR do?

Firstly, keep communicating and make it easy for employees to express their worries. HR can utilise company-wide communication tools to keep everyone updated as the situation evolves. It’s also good to encourage senior leaders team to engage too – specifically they can offer reassurance and explain how the business is working to protect against potential risks. This is a practical way to foster solidarity and a team spirit in the face of uncertainty.

Next, consider your European staff. They have been given little concrete information from the UK Government about what will happen to their working and residency status, or the actions they need to take to protect themselves.

Do you have EU nationals in the workforce? What should HR do?

It’s important to identify who falls into this category (a good HR system will do this for you). Even without definitive answers to their questions, you can still listen to their concerns and perhaps help with applying to the EU Settlement Scheme for example.

Lastly, don’t forget that individual employees may have wider concerns prompted by Brexit such as their partner’s job or residency status; financial problems which are compounded when job insecurity is added; or even wider issues such as continued access to medical drugs for themselves or family members after Brexit. Any of these things could affect their mental health and effectiveness at work.

What else is worrying employees regarding Brexit? What can HR do?

Most importantly, make sure that your staff are not left feeling alone. If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or a wellbeing strategy for example, remind everyone of the support available to them. Employee helplines can be a lifeline for counselling or legal guidance too.

Next steps

  • Identify those staff most likely to be worried

  • Communicate the company strategy for Brexit

  • Promote the support available to all

  • Protect the business in the event of key staff members leaving (succession planning)

Discover more about our HR software by downloading one of our HR product brochures. Or why not even book a demo of The Access People Management Suite today? You can use it to target EU citizens on your payroll, identify which EU employees have settled or pre-settled status, when that was granted and when their EU identity card expires – all useful information to help you offer the right support.


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The Access Group

The Access Group is a leading provider of integrated business management software. Our portfolio spans ERP, finance, HR, Payroll, Recruitment, warehousing, business intelligence, professional service automation and manufacturing. Our on-going commitment to excellence, customers and employees, has also placed us among the UK’s top employers.

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