Attending a recent Brexit business briefing with a group of legal specialists highlighted, once again, just how much uncertainty there is around our impending transition to become a non-EU state.
These specialists came from a range of fields, from large national and international companies to financial institutions and governments. But even amongst the continual doubt, they were able to offer some interesting insights.
When considering the areas most likely to be affected by Brexit, the discussions focused on the transfer of good and the recruitment challenges in industries where there is an over reliance on EU workers. The latter is likely to be something requiring bespoke solutions, and may need specific rules and policies for different sectors. Considering how much the hospitality industry relies on EU workers, our country’s vast array of restaurants, entertainment options and hotels can ill-afford the massive drop in staff.
But what can businesses actually do? With so many details to be ironed out around the status of EU workers and trade agreements, businesses can do little more than scenario plan in regards to these issues. But one practical step that companies can take when preparing for Brexit is reviewing and future proofing their contracts.
It’s imperative for businesses to conduct a full audit of all contracts and, when doing this, companies should go through the full list of third suppliers their business works with. And if you do identify significant weaknesses in contracts, decide if you need to start renegotiating now or whether you can afford to wait.
Another key point around contracts is a Brexit clause – all companies should look to include a clause that addresses how things will be dealt with in the eventuality of the different possible scenarios we could face. This is where scenario planning can have tangible business results, and allow your organisation to prepare for the uncertainty. Considering all of the work to be done, it’s also key to appoint someone, or even a whole team, who is responsible for this Brexit preparedness.
While a difficult endeavour, preparation and planning will always win out and is the best way businesses can protect themselves in the age of Brexit.