There are tools available now to attract talent from outside of the EU;
Look into acqui-hiring (buying a company for the sole purpose of recruiting some or all of its staff) to boost hiring efforts;
Know that we still have at least two years of business as usual;
Address the added risk of ‘fright flight’ by giving longer notice periods and working on retention strategies
KEEP CALM AND KEEP HIRING!
1: Look into attracting talent from outside of the EU
Take a look at the Tech Nation Visa Scheme.
The Tech Nation Visa Scheme, for the uninitiated, was specifically designed to allow tech companies to hire non-EU talent quickly by fast tracking the visa application process. To do this, Tech City brokered a deal with the Home Office. Most of the form filling has been condensed into a neat package - all they ask is that the applicant can demonstrate being ‘Exceptional’ (experienced hire) or can demonstrate ‘Exceptional Promise’ (junior hire). Note: this is open to business talent as well as developer talent and there are multiple routes for entry - criteria here.
2. Look into acqui-hires to hire en-masse quickly (if you can)
The acqui-hiring phenomenon was / is a key weapon in a startup’s arsenal, especially in Silicon Valley, but it hasn’t gained much traction over here to date. However, depending on the size of your war chest at the end of the recent funding boom, it might be worth looking into acquiring smaller companies, with impressive teams (usually founding engineering teams). Examples from Silicon Valley suggest that this method can be a highly effective way of hiring proven, high performing teams quickly.
3. Article 50 triggers a two year process
And after that it will be business as usual as far as we are told. This means that anyone working / living here who is from the EU can stay and continue to work.
4. Bolster employee retention strategies
Naturally, foreign nationals working in your team may be feeling somewhat concerned with the turn towards a ‘Hard Brexit’. It goes without saying that retention strategies should be top of mind. There are many ways to approach retention. We like to think in terms of long, medium and short term strategies. Here are a few to get you started,
Notice Periods. Make sure your key hires are on decent notice periods - at least 3 months. Most candidates in the UK won't be on less than one month so set yourself up for success and make sure you're covered to fill the gap if someone, does in the end, decide to leave.
Team Happiness. Make sure you have a good sense of how the team is feeling and, most importantly, understand trends. This allows you to be on the front foot and proactive in dealing with potential difficulties. Options include (amongst others),
Employee Engagement. Keeping your talent engaged, on task and ultimately challenged is the key to long term success and strong retention metrics. Here is a good guide to get you started thinking about tactics to address employee engagement.
5. The UK is still considered one of the most attractive places for top talent - in the world.
In the recently published 2017 Global Talent Competitive Index (INSEAD), the UK was named the third best place in the world for talent. The report cites the UK as having an education system that meets the needs of the economy, employment policies that favour flexibility, mobility and entrepreneurship and stakeholders who are well-connected in business and government. It's not all bad news but now is certainly the time to prepare and bolster your toolkit ahead of the forthcoming retreat from the EU.