Jelf colleagues have spent much of this week on the road delivering presentations to a diverse range of businesses and different professional audiences. This immediate exposure to the business world post the EU Referendum has provided them with a rather incisive snapshot as to the national mood of the business community.
In the main the employers we have spoken to are rather stunned by the decision of the UK electorate to leave the EU. Yet the bigger concern appears to be the political schism (and resultant lack of national leadership) which has arisen in the two main Westminster parties as a direct result of the vote. There is a genuine sense of unease that at present the UK has no plan regarding the important “what next?” question post the Referendum.
That said, it was slightly more encouraging to find that so many employers appear to have taken swift action of their own in response to the Brexit decision. Several that we have spoken to had already issued internal briefings on the subject, and others had announced edicts to ensure that any discretionary business spend is strictly controlled whilst the national hiatus continues.
The bottom line is that UK Plc accepts – and probably expects – a slow down in the national economic fortunes in the immediate aftermath of the Referendum. Prudent employers are already trimming their sails accordingly, and this early response to the new (and as yet unknown) economic challenges ahead is welcome and suggests that employers have learned some important lessons from the last major downturn (the Credit Crunch).
There was however a genuine view that it is “business as usual”, and that important and necessary projects and spends would continue for the moment.
Where does all this leave HR and Employee Benefits?
As ever, it is about ensuring that the benefits package in place is competitive, relevant to employees, well communicated and (above all) that every facet of the offering is maximised to provide a return on investment (ROI) to the sponsoring employer. A quick search back through the archives of this blog will provide much information on such topics, as will a conversation with your usual Jelf consultant.
Interesting times lie ahead, and the winners may be those that react quickly and decisively to the business challenges inherent in the Brexit decision.
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