Wednesday 13th March 2019

Change is inevitable, Growth is optional…

The Brexit deadline is closing in.

Should it go without a hitch, the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union at 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019 and the million pound question is “Have we at last reached THE END of this Brexit back and forth?”

[Spoiler alert]

Nope.

(But wouldn’t it be nice?!)

If the past couple months are anything to go by, the hard truth is that the circus is still here to stay. For many Brits, whether having voted to leave or remain, Brexit has come to feel like a national headache and the jury’s still out as to whether the end of March will bring with it any relief.

That said, no matter the speed it progresses, change is inevitable. Come March 30th, what does it mean for businesses like yours? Whilst the scale of change is still being debated, it’s important that we make use of the facts that we do know.

For business owners, a quick checklist of must-dos. You still:

  • Need to pay your staff on time
  • Keep Pension contributions accurate, complying with 6 April’s increase
  • Ensure Health & Wellbeing standards are met for uncertain times
  • Keep the employee experience tiding over well

 

What Brexit means for UK employers

Though there’s still a chance of the March deadline being pushed back (should all the UK parliament and EU members agree) it for now remains the key date outlined in British law whilst negotiations continue to play out.

Honing in on the impact of Brexit on small businesses, a survey carried out by the teams at Sage & YouGov shines a light on the levels of confidence business owners have in preparing for what’s to come.

Asking UK employers how prepared they feel, the figures show:

“Getting your business prepared for Brexit is not the easiest of tasks,” states CEO Paul Bresnihan, “especially whilst negotiations are back and forth. No one can say for sure how this whole business is going to play out, but even though official changes are yet to be defined the opportunity for growth is there for business leaders who choose to take it. When the time comes, any business stuck in auto-pilot runs the risk of being left behind.”

Our advice to small businesses is to put together a checklist of action points. As with any potential big changes, the rule is first not to panic. On the one hand, you don’t want to be losing sleep, worrying that what’s to come is on its way to trip you up and the reverse, you don’t want to be snoozing through the news, thinking your business is immune to any policy changes. Both approaches are unhealthy, and ultimately bad news for your company. Instead, in the coming weeks station yourself in the middle, cautious but calm, informed and level-headed. Likewise, your business too.

 

A pre-Brexit checklist

By creating a checklist of action points, you can clear up some space in your calendar for any changes that Brexit may bring your way. You want to have it clear in your mind, what’s needed and what isn’t. We’ve done it for Growth Partners, basically outlining the key areas of the business that will undoubtedly remain unaffected by any Brexit developments, making sure they’re up-to-scratch, and then asterisking** the areas we need to keep extra tabs on.

Now is the time to take full stock of your company by making an inventory of your processes.

Come March 29th and with it any surprises, it will be ideal if your schedule is as clear as possible so that you can focus your energy on what’s new and what’s key info for your company to action. By reviewing your checklist of processes in advance, you will be in a good position to do this.

Come the morning of March 30th, post-Brexit (maybe), you still need to make sure your staff are being paid accurately and on time. Therefore now’s the right time to review your payroll process, checking it complies with GDPR regulations and HMRC code.

March 30th, a week prior to the Pensions contribution increase, you need to be making sure your employees are in the loop with upcoming pension changes, and that their auto-enrolment scheme reflects this. For more info, click for our free handbook.

Come March 30th, if Brexit has indeed gone ahead, you don’t want to be tied up with any employee tiffs or troubles that could’ve been resolved sooner. You don’t want to be scratching your head over staff turnover issues, sickness concerns, low office morale or any other past worry. 

Though the fact still remains, there is no great use in stressing over the unknown until the terms of Brexit have been fully laid out, it’s a sensible move to make sure your schedule is clear to allow time to make any relevant adjustments when the time comes. You must prepare as best as you can, making sure your processes are stable and your employees tiding over well, focused on delivery an excellent service to your customers.