As a brand, it’s crucial that your workforce believes in (and lives out) your corporate values. This not only makes teamwork more achievable, it ensures that you’ll have a band of passionate brand advocates who are eager to spread the word about your brand.
You can ask all kinds of questions during a job interview. You can comb the candidate’s CV. You can search for someone whose qualifications and skills fit your needs. However, none of this matters if the candidate does not subscribe to your brand’s value system.
For instance, one of your brand’s corporate values may be excitement. You strive to keep all employees and clients enthusiastic by maintaining a healthy wonderment about what’s next. You believe in transferring positive energy from administration, through the workforce and to the customers. This all contributes to a brand culture that is not only unique, but is something that will be easy for the right people to believe in and replicate, every day.
Hire the wrong people (i.e. people who don’t believe there’s a place for excitement at work), and this chain is not only disrupted, the contradiction will be felt by your clients (and as a result, your bottom line).
The “wrong people” aren’t necessarily poor employees—they’re just wrong for your brand.
Finding the team members who will live your brand’s values is no easy task. Even before the Referendum to leave the EU was voted on, when brands in Britain had a large pool of candidates to choose from, it was difficult. Now, employing brand advocates will potentially become more difficult. It could also become more profitable.
Let’s take a closer look at what we’re dealing with.
Employing Brand Advocates after Brexit
The UK currently employs 2.15 million EU nationals. This means that, on average, if a UK employer has 45 employees, about 3 of them are from the EU. Those who have been working in the UK the longest are expected to be able to stay; however, there are a number of possible scenarios for the others:
- Low-skilled and newer expatriates may be required to leave the UK,
- EU citizens already working in the UK will be permitted to stay, with no new employees being hired from the EU, and/or
- EU workers in the UK will feel unwelcome and choose to repatriate.
This list of possibilities will surely change as time marches through post-Brexit Britain. Employers may experience difficulties in filling positions, and if the current political unrest expands to include distaste for hiring workers from overseas, there could be a shortage of quality new-hires for those businesses that conform to public opinion.
One step that brands may take in response to all of this is to set up shop in countries outside Europe. This, of course, will require intensive research on a case-by-case, brand-by-brand basis, with taxation and regulatory considerations made for each.
One thing I believe is for certain: We won’t be seeing a lot of hiring and firing decisions being made until UK employers are certain what this post-Brexit atmosphere will mean for their businesses. Here’s the variable, though: if it is determined that exports will flourish, as some have predicted with the fall of sterling, then more employees will be needed to supply that export demand.
From where will those candidates come?
How will businesses navigate a new hiring landscape—one that is not only more widespread, but more uncertain in regard to work ethic, cultural ideals and value matching?
If you’re a business owner, these questions have surely crossed your mind. Maybe they’re keeping you up at night.
One thing is for sure: not every possibility in this selection of scenarios is negative. In fact, there are a lot of positive things that could come from this. Here are just a few of them:
- During the onset of any potential changes, it will seem that your pool of employment candidates has shrunk. Upon further inspection, you’re sure to realise that you now have, literally, an entire world of candidates to choose from.
- We live in the digital age, where businesses use telepresence and employees telecommute—even when in-person meetings and onsite work are feasible options. These opportunities for digital communication mean that an employee can live across the street or on the other side of the world from your office. The communication doesn’t have to be all that different.
- All of the negative talk surrounding post-Brexit Britain assumes that every business owner is happy with his or her current workforce. Sammy and I talk to lots of business owners every day, and we have come to learn that many have made rash hiring decisions (sometimes out of necessity) and aren’t thrilled with their current teams. Their brands aren’t supported and they’re experiencing a shortage of brand advocates. This turning point in history could be your chance—your chance to create a turnover rich with incoming talent that subscribes to your brand’s way of thinking.
It’s natural to feel some level of uncertainty in post-Brexit Britain; however, any negativity should be short-lived because the opportunities available to you as an entrepreneur or business owner are abundant.
Take this time, whilst the competition has its head in the Brexit sand, to scout for new employment candidates. Research countries, cultures and groups that tend to share your corporate values and look for avenues through which to mine the talent that’s contained there. Pay attention to required skills, and always use any candidate’s potential to become an eager brand advocate as a job requirement—remembering that any true brand advocate will be your brand’s first introduction to their city, their country, their culture. And who knows? That new-hire could be your brand’s bridge to global influence.
Are you ready to learn more about how to take full advantage of every opportunity offered by Brexit? Then join the Brand Britain community. We also invite you to check out the live events on our website, so you can put your brand on the fast-track to global growth.
 Institute for Employment Studies