Building effective leadership and management capability within Irish companies has never been more important given the likely challenges arising from Brexit
One of the areas the leadership team has to assess in light of Brexit is whether the company has the right mix of talent and skills to support future growth. Some restructuring might be necessary, for example, creating new senior roles such as heads of innovation or marketing.
Companies will need to look at the locations where staff are currently based and decide if any changes need to be made. If a market diversification strategy is being pursued in response to Brexit, for example, they may have to appoint people on the ground in new markets or set up new offices.
A flexible and adaptable workforce will be increasingly important as the Brexit story unfolds. People will need to be prepared to travel more often to meet customers and upskill to keep pace with technological advances and market developments.
Movement of people
The various EU Treaties which provide for the free movement of EU nationals between the Member States will cease to apply to the UK two years from the date the Article 50 notice is given by the UK Government, or an alternative agreed date.
After that time Irish businesses could be looking at, firstly, restrictions on temporary transfer of non-EU staff to the UK (and Northern Ireland) to deliver services and, secondly, restrictions on the employment of current and new non-UK staff in the UK.
The war for talent
There are already skills shortages in a number of areas in Ireland such as ICT and advanced manufacturing. Irish companies will need to place even greater emphasis on attracting top talent because of Brexit. It has brought about an increased need for differentiation, strategic thinking and enhanced competitiveness, which can only be delivered by having the best people in place.
In addition, Brexit may result in Irish companies facing difficulties in terms of recruiting new staff in the UK. It is advisable to be proactive in recruiting from the UK now if you have open positions.
Legislation emanating from the EU has strongly influenced UK employee protection legislation over the past 20 years or so. But this may change somewhat if the UK Government decides to do away with laws which are viewed as unnecessary red tape. Brexit may result in complications in employment contracts for people working in the UK.
Prepare for Brexit
Your business can start to prepare for Brexit by using the dedicated Brexit SME Scorecard tool, which freely available from Enterprise Ireland. The tool looks at a company’s business operations across six areas – Business Strategy, Operations, Sales and Marketing, Finance, Innovation and People Management. You can start the short questionnaire and come back to it at any time. Your results report will show the priority areas that your business should consider addressing and serve as a useful kick-off point to start preparing for Brexit with your business team.