How Prepared are you? Episode One: Migration


Looking at the challenges facing business over the next five years is staggering.

In order to retain, grow and develop those businesses and remain profitable most will need to consider:

  • The impact of a reducing resource pool of new workers due to Brexit
  • An increasing ageing workforce unable or unwilling to retire
  • A changing demographic with different working practices and learning styles
  • An ever more dynamic shift to make the most of digital technology and innovation
  • The need to be more agile and adaptable to constant change

And these are just some of the common ones!

In our new blog series we explore some of these challenges, the impact they could have, and what can be done to meet them head on.

And we challenge you to ask yourself: How Prepared Are You?

Migration – An inevitable challenge (and opportunity)

migrationA recently leaked government report has indicated that once Brexit has taken place, companies that rely on workers from other European countries could be faced with massive (some have called it catastrophic) disruption to their workforces.

Under the draft plan firms would have to look locally to recruit their workers, unless they could prove an “economic need” to employ EU citizens. The government has made it clear that they intend to reduce overall migration in the coming years, in particular low and middle skilled/paid workers are to be targeted.

Once Brexit has taken place, companies that rely on workers from other European countries could be faced with massive disruption to their workforces.

Some industries stand to be impacted more than others, with those in construction, lower paid health work, and agricultural jobs particularly feeling the brunt. For example in the NHS alone there are believed to be as many as 60,000 EU workers, with industry experts claiming that any reduction to this number would pose a significant threat to the effectiveness of the service.

However, it is unlikely that any industry will escape the impact that the reduction in migration will bring. Organisations will have a lot to consider in light of the potential changes.

They may well have to deal with a significant shift of personnel either leaving or joining the organisation. This in turn will bring up many considerations:

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  • How and where will we recruit our new staff from?
  • How prepared are we to deal with staff shortages, temporary or permanent?
  • How are we going to handle the transfer of existing knowledge from staff leaving to new arrivals?
  • How are we going to support our remaining staff through the transition period?
  • How will our mission, vision and values need to be adjusted in order to reflect and embrace the change?
  • How will the ‘personality’ of our organisation differ as a result of the change?
  • Do our people have the skills, knowledge and attitude to survive the change?

It looks inevitable that every organisation will face disruption in light of Brexit, with changes being felt not only in the volume of workers but also across the culture and diversity of the organisation.

Succeeding in times of change

Enforced change brings challenges and can be destructive if companies are:

  • not prepared to understand the need for change
  • have not planned how to deal with the transition period
  • have no strategy around how to move efficiently and effectively towards their goals and ambitions

However, change also brings opportunity and it is those organisations that have had the foresight to plan and prepare for the inevitable that are better placed to deal with the consequences of change and seize the opportunities presented.

Change also brings opportunity for those organisations that have had the foresight to plan and prepare for the inevitable.

But in order to seize these opportunities, organisations need to be prepared to embrace not only the obvious changes that will occur, but also anticipate the ripple effect across the business.  As mentioned earlier, there will be a lot of areas potentially impacted by this one shift in our national workforce, and in order to make the most of this enforced transition, a holistic approach needs to be adopted: one that looks at people, processes and systems as one interconnected unit, rather than independent parts of the machine.

The technical term for this approach is Organisational Development, which at a fundamental level is about organisations being able to weather the storm of change and be better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that will inevitably present themselves.

By utilising the expertise of those who have an ability to see the larger impact of a scenario such as Brexit, and who can suggest ways of avoiding difficulties, and enhancing opportunities, organisations can ensure that all areas of impact created by any period of transition have been addressed; ensuring that the whole organisation is prepared and capable to handle the challenges and opportunities the future may bring.