A Willis Towers Watson survey looks at the impact of Brexit two months on.

EU flag

According to a recent Willis Towers Watson survey, the majority of companies (56%) are continuing to ‘wait and see’ before taking any action to prepare for Brexit. This is despite two-thirds (66%) of employers believing their business in the UK will be significantly affected by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).

The report looked at the impact of Brexit two months on and found that almost four-fifths (78%) of companies have begun a broad consideration of the implications of Brexit. More than half (60%) have also conducted an assessment of what it means for key areas. However, so far only 24% have carried out a detailed impact assessment and only a third (33%) have done any scenario planning. When considering sectors, the most scenario planning was seen in financial services (45%) and the least in technology, media and telecoms (20%).

Richard Veal, director of Willis Towers Watson’s Talent and Rewards practice GB, said: “The results show that UK business is concerned about the effects of Brexit, but uncertainty appears to be hindering many companies taking immediate action. It is important that companies think about what the next steps should be and get into a more action-oriented state of mind.”

The report goes on to show that UK businesses’ biggest concern is the impact of Brexit on the workforce (76%), followed by organisational change (51%), total rewards (49%) and engagement and communication (49%).

Looking at organisational change in more depth, the survey found that half of companies (50%) are thinking of reassessing their current operating model and organisational structure, while just under half (47%) are looking at the HR implications of business disruptions or delays to corporate transactions.

Veal added: “Minimising the impact on the workforce seems the obvious area of attention and it should be the area of immediate concern. The ability of a business to understand the number of workers affected and how it impacts the business will be crucial to any organisation going forward.

“The data implies that many businesses are not assessing the effect Brexit will have on their business structure. This is particularly noticeable in the HR space where the research shows less than half of businesses are creating a specific HR Brexit team, suggesting that HR may be lagging behind other business areas in terms of readiness.”