Will Brexit impact the workers I have in my business from the European Union?

Will Brexit impact the workers I have in my business from the European Union?

My business employs a number of permanent employees as well as seasonal workers from the European Union. I am concerned about the impact Brexit will have on my ability to retain and attract these workers. What steps can I be taking now to avoid a future issue?

The first step is to make sure that you have a good understanding of where potential areas of risk lie for your business. The best way of doing this is to carry out a full audit of both your permanent staff and of the processes you follow and the agencies you use for the recruitment and provision of temporary workers. If many of your seasonal workers are EU nationals it is worth speaking to the agency about whether they still have a good bank of workers available to them currently and what their longer-term strategy is should it become more difficult for seasonal workers to come to work temporarily in the UK.

Turning to your permanent employees, ensuring that you have engaged, motivated employees who recognise that they have an employer who cares about their wellbeing is often crucial to their retention. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as by ensuring that your work place is genuinely one that is free from discrimination or harassment in any form, providing foreign nationals with information and support as the steps individuals and families will need to take to obtain “settled status” become clearer as well as more holistic strategies for promoting engagement and wellbeing throughout the workforce.

It is also worthwhile spending time thinking about alternative types of workers you could look to introduce to your business in future. For example, if your business has not traditionally engaged apprentices (or has only done so in small numbers), the current national focus on apprenticeships and the recent introduction of the apprenticeship levy means that there is now plenty of information readily available on how apprenticeships can help your business and plenty of potential opportunities for those looking to hire apprentices to explore.

Whilst there is still a significant level of uncertainty as to what the full impact of Brexit will be, using the time now to plan ahead and identify the risks will place your business in a much stronger position in future.