Brexit: How To Prepare Positively For The Future
The old English adage ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has never been more relevant then now as the UK stands up to its knees in uncertainty in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. Now that some of the initial debris has settled, we are grabbing our tools and emerging to navigate our way through the muddy Post-Brexit waters. So what next?
First and foremost, it is time to re-focus the lens on a changing economic landscape and adjust to any future changes that may occur. Right now, 90% is still unknown however let’s leave behind the ‘if’s, buts, and maybes’ as the nature of the global mobility sector in itself means that we are constantly evolving and adjusting to global economic changes.
To help you prepare positively for the future, below we focus on the proactive essential steps that are needed for your Post-Brexit First-Aid response:
Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more.
Employees who are due on assignment Post-Brexit may be filled with concern and doubt in the heat of the Brexit decision. Current EU workers may also be worried about their rights and status. Recent polls have highlighted however that there is little if no change as a result of Brexit on recruitment, employee mobility, household goods moving, social security, and immigration status. It is important to diffuse any panic and keep the lines of communication open to reassure employees that it is business as usual and offer support to ensure they are clear on their status in the UK and what they can do to protect their families. Setting a positive tone is essential for workforce confidence.
Internal communication: Global businesses must now prepare through diligent workforce planning for overseas assignments to and from the UK. Liaise with multiple parties including both internal/external legal teams to discuss specific employee circumstances and seek advice on possible implications of Brexit on immigration and assignments.
Engage with your relocation management/moving supplier to manage expectations and gain up-to-date information on the impact of Brexit on international moves into and out of the UK. Currently, there are no changes to household goods shipments but, this may change depending on the negotiation terms agreed to once Great Britain officially exits the EU.
Protect your employees as a business priority.
Currently, UK companies are making registration applications to ensure the rights of their EU employees and their families are recognised after Brexit.
Anyone living in the UK for five (5) years or more can apply for permanent residency. It is strongly advised that eligible EU workers apply now.
Assess your Global Mobility Programme
It is now more important than ever to be decisive and have a robust, well-structured global mobility programme in place which incorporates a layer of currency protection to mitigate any risks associated with the pendulum like currency swings.
- Review the programme and add currency protection in the form of regular (quarterly) COLA updates and currency reconciliations to offset the risk of any windfalls or loses in pay dependent on policy (home vs. host vs. split pay).
- Change pay approaches if need be, it is likely that corporations will need to make some adjustments to their programme in this area.
- Monitor and track any tax increases.
Careful consideration must however be executed here bearing in mind that the duration of fluctuations is currently uncertain.
It is essential to keep abreast and informed of the facts, data, and potential ramifications of Brexit on future assignments through literature published by associations such as Worldwide ERC and global mobility professional services’ firms in the coming months.
The great paradox of Brexit is that what remains clear is uncertainty. Until Great Britain’s formal resignation from the EU in the form of Article 50 is invoked and the UK decides what sort of relationship it wants with the EU, it is not known what the exact implications exiting the EU will have on global mobility.
However, with calm and well-considered planning and decision making, you can navigate any restrictions placed on global mobility by Brexit. After all, the UK has a long history of surviving economic U-turns. This will be no different! And unlike a natural disaster, we have the gift of time to prepare ourselves for any changes to global assignments.
Submitted by Natalie Chapman, Senior Global Business Development Manager, Arpin International Group UK