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How to prepare for Brexit: A summary of the 'Workforce Planning Post-Brexit Conference for Employers' by Katie Good, Trainee Solicitor, Fragomen

As the Brexit withdrawal process unfolds and the political and immigration landscape remains frustratingly unclear, it is imperative that UK businesses are proactive, creative and prepared. Awareness of the UK immigration framework, employer attraction, recruitment, compliance and retention strategies need to reflect this new approach.

The information-packed Workforce Planning Post Brexit Conference on 26 February, organised by BFI shared expert guidance and practical solutions to help HR professionals find an optimum way forward during these tumultuous times.

So what are the actionable points for HR professionals?

1. Understand the current and future immigration framework – HR professionals should encourage their current EU national employees to apply and register their status under the Settlement Scheme which is in the public pilot phase from 21 January 2019 and open to all from 30 March 2019. They should be aware of the ramifications of a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit in the context of immigration and how this will affect prospective employees commencing employment after 30 March 2019. They should also have an understanding of the immigration white paper which details the new single ‘skills-based’ system from January 2021, ending free movement and start their workforce planning model accordingly.

2. Create a successful internal recruitment process – HR professionals should ensure that this process is candidate led, crafting a strategy that puts candidates at the centre of the recruitment process and should endeavour to enhance the candidate’s experience. The process should be as fast and effective as possible with clear, friendly and regular communication.

3. Develop a workforce planning model – HR professionals should look to develop a workforce planning model in order to ensure that their organisation have the necessary skill and labour to continue delivering their business objectives. This can be achieved by understanding the external and internal environment, whilst taking into business imperatives and linking demand information with supply.

4. Understanding the legal and compliance obligations as an employer – UK law places a duty on all UK-based employers to prevent illegal working by carrying out document checks on all employees to confirm if a person has the right to work in the UK. HR professionals should ensure that they know their population and key impacted areas, devise innovative policies around the legal framework to ensure they are meeting their compliance obligations and monitor success.

5. Create attraction strategies for prospective employees – HR professionals should endeavour to provide work-life balance initiatives with flexible working being the norm rather than a benefit. They should also be able to demonstrate a commitment to health and wellbeing for their employees. Finally, they should look to introduce cultural and organisational change to future-proof the business and ensure that employees remain enthused and committed to the organisation.

Summary

It is clear that the conference provided attendees with invaluable and innovative advice to help them obtain a real advantage over competitors and ensure that they are prepared as possible, whatever the future may bring.

For future BFI Brexit events, please see www.bfi.co.uk