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Haines Watts Kettering Phone icon 01536 483513

As we head towards a period of Brexit-induced uncertainty, SMEs should remain calm as change won’t happen overnight.

How are SMEs, which rely on a supply of quality people with the skills and experience to help their organisation thrive, coping with the countdown to the UK’s separation from the European Union (EU)? While UK firms’ employment of EU nationals has slowed since the referendum vote last summer, the practice remains popular for both employers and EU candidates.

But over the next few months, it will become increasingly important to protect and engage talent and avoid discrimination creeping into HR practices. There’s a risk that employers will assume there is a looming shortage of talent and begin changing their recruitment decision-making.

Uncertainty of change

The EU referendum vote outcome generated shockwaves – the value of the pound dropped, as did investor confidence – but that was short lived.

In truth, companies are still recruiting and unemployment remains at about 4.8%, compared to the International Labour Organisation’s estimated 2017 global rate of 5.7%. So, confidence remains.

It’s true that the government is planning to control immigration, and visa sponsorship is attracting further costs. But we have seen a desire by the government to guarantee the rights of foreign workers.

No point labouring over Brexit

SMEs have always faced the expense and uncertainty of regulatory change. But they should also have robust recruitment practices in place, and remain more flexible than larger corporates. This helps them to address change as it happens. So, stay focused on finding the best talent that your business can afford. Brexit is unlikely to erode employment rights dramatically, so keep communicating with your workforce about the separation, and review your talent strategy regularly.

Want to know more? Call us on 01536 483513 or email

About the author

Alexandra Garner

Alex is director of HW Human Resources, a division of Haines Watts providing a hands-on HR service to support the complex nature of employee management and people strategy.

Alex leads a team of established HR experts who provide an end to end HR service from HR basics and compliance right through to innovative, leading edge and business focused HR strategic solutions, giving our clients the benefit of a breadth of HR knowledge and peace of mind.

Alex is a pragmatic HR professional with over 16 years’ experience, starting her career in recruitment through to her current role as strategic business partner. She holds an excellent track record for developing people strategies that align with a company’s overall business goals and has worked across multiple sectors including leisure, retail, IT, telecoms and professional services.

Alex is a firm believer that any HR change or project, regardless of size, must contribute to the future success of your business. Helping businesses to grow their teams and make the right decisions around their people is key to their success and the HR team at Haines Watts pride themselves on being able to deliver what can be a jargon-filled business area with clarity and efficiency.

Alex is a high-energy individual who seeks to achieve goals in every aspect of her life. Personal interests include weight training and snowboarding as well as a keen interest in food and wine.

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