The Importance of HR in Uncertain Times
For some of those who watched the news roll in last Friday morning (24th June), the unanticipated events brought with them a sensation of elation and triumph. For others, the referendum results brought about feelings of anxiety and worry.
Placing personal views on the merits and demerits of Brexit aside, what we can be certain of is that we are currently in a period of great uncertainty and increased risk of financial shock.
No one knows for certain whether or not the results of the referendum (and the following decisions of the major UK political parties) will lead to a recession. However, calmness, not hysteria, is the best weapon against uncertainty.
In the meantime, what we need to ensure is that businesses, both large and small, are prepared for the inevitable changes — whatever those changes might be.
Undoubtedy, there is a period of change ahead, and it is important to remember how your HR consultant or HR advisory service can help you through difficult transitions.
Set aside personal views
First, it is important to set aside personal views regarding the outcome of the referendum. It’s tempting to let our emotions rule the day, but it’s far better to make rational decisions best on the facts at hand.
A recession seems more likely than not at this stage. While we can hope that it may not come to that, savvy business leaders will have a plan in place for that eventuality. If we’ve learned one thing from Brexit, it’s that leaders need to have a plan in place before a crisis actually takes place.
Determine and mitigate the possible risks
During periods of financial uncertainty, there’s less money to go around. Jobs are put at risk and earning capacity is often reduced significantly. We know that these sort of changes ideally need to be planned and consulted upon with the help of HR experts. This type of change, however harsh, is not something that can be rushed into.
You need to make sure that your HR advisory service helps you establish key people, key roles and put in place retention and engagement mechanisms to maintain the financial viability of your business.
Although it might be difficult to see it this way at the moment, while the shock waves continue to reverberate around us, all organisations should look upon this potential disruption as a period of enormous opportunity.
Take time to consider what is at the core of your business: What objectives lay at the core of your business? How can you best protect your clients and your employees? Once you’ve considered these points, clear out anything that gets in the way of providing a great product or service.
Keep on top of potential changes in employment legislation
Don’t ignore the potential change of employment legislation that will occur if the UK ever enacts Article 50 and begins the formal withdrawal process. The structure of our relationship with the European Union is such that a range of laws and regulations that pertain to HR may be subject to change. Laws and regulations that can be directly or indirectly linked to the UK’s membership of the EU include:
- The Working Time Directive
- The protection of personal data
- Maternity and paternity rights
- Collective redundancy procedures
It is impossible to predict the changes to any employment legislation until we know the shape of the Brexit negotiations. It is probable that there will be small changes to specific areas of existing legislation which have been less popular with UK employers, such as the Agency Workers Regulations, collective redundancy consultations and aspects of the Working Time Directive etc etc.
No matter what change the following months bring, for the moment, the most important thing is to concentrate on ensuring that your business has the skills and resources that it needs in order to not only survive this uncertainty but thrive in it.