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Talent Acquisition: The Role of HR in a Brexit Transition Period


Political upheaval, stock market uncertainty and a petition for a second referendum are just some of the consequences of last week’s Brexit vote. But for the majority of employers, life continues as normal – for the time being at least. As the dust attempts to settle, what can HR do to manage this interim period and strengthen talent acquisition strategies?

Reactions are mixed. A post Brexit poll carried out between 24th to 26th June by the Institute of Directors found that around a quarter of businesses expect to freeze hiring but 32% will continue with hiring plans. 5% state that they will make redundancies following the vote. Meanwhile, although HSBC has threatened to move 1,000 staff to Paris if the UK leaves the single market, just over 70% of IOD members confirmed that they will not move operations out of the UK.

The situation is exacerbated as the majority of UK businesses didn’t have a contingency plan in place in the event of Brexit. HR has a vital role to play during this transition. Here are some of the areas where its overall approach can promote stability during a challenging time.

Communication and reassurance:
The CIPD reports that thousands of migrant workers have signed up to take part in a proposed day of ‘workplace action’ on 4th July to try and secure legal protection for their employment status. During this uncertain time, HR can take the initiative by reassuring vulnerable workers with ongoing communication and engagement with all of its employees. Jonathan Beech, Managing Director of Migrate UK warns of potential pressure if the hiring of EU workers becomes ‘extremely selective’. The status of migrant workers from outside the EU is not affected by Brexit.