Brexit checklist for IR professionals
This article was produced in association with ELITE Connect. It was originally published on the ELITE Connect platform.
The aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote last month sees much uncertainty within the investment community from the perspective of current shareholders, potential investors and companies themselves. Here, Reg Hoare, managing director of MHP Communications, outlines the top 10 positioning and priority questions IROs should be answering in order to minimize negative impacts.
1. What’s your corporate position on Brexit, and are all your spokespeople briefed?
Every interview, speech, blog or tweet should be an opportunity for your organization to position itself. But each one is also a risk: do your representatives know what they can and can’t say?
2. What do your key media channels know about your position, and what do their journalists think about it?
Column inches, airtime and blog space to fill in a vacuum means speculation. Do the media that matter most to you understand your position, or are you leaving them to just guess what to write and say?
3. What do your investors need to hear?
There’s so much commentary around Brexit right now. Are you keeping your investors informed and onside, or are they getting their news and views from elsewhere?
4. Do your key political and government stakeholders know your position and understand what you need?
Virtually every sector will be affected by the legislative and regulatory changes Brexit brings. Do your stakeholders in government and the wider political arena know what you’ll need from a post-Brexit world?
5. Have you reassured your clients and customers during these uncertain times?
The easiest decision for clients and customers is to delay spending until the outlook is more certain. Are you out there reassuring them, and does every customer or client-facing member of staff know what he or she should be saying?
6. What are you telling staff?
You need your staff to feel secure and motivated to deliver for you. What are people talking about in and out of the office, and is the uncertainty harming their performance?
7. What do you need from Brexit negotiations?
The future of transatlantic trade, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, tariffs, the European single market and the free movement of people are all up for grabs. Do you know what the risks and opportunities are, and how to engage to get the best out of the negotiations?
8. Which of the laws and regulations that affect your organization will the UK take back from Brussels, and which would you like to change?
Forty years’ worth of European law and regulations have to be worked through and returned to the UK. Which of those affect you, and which could be changed to improve the environment in which you do business?
9. What’s your plan for communicating any major business changes?
You might need to reshape your business, whether that’s moving people, operations or HQ. Have you planned how you’ll communicate this to internal and external audiences, and how it’s going to be received and acted upon?
10. Do you know what the likely scenarios are, and have you planned for all of them?
The best way to manage risk is to anticipate and plan for what comes next. Have you undertaken your scenario planning, and does your senior team understand the risks and opportunities each scenario would create?