While we are all still waiting for the Brexit negotiations to be finalised, there have been frantic behind-the-scenes consultations by big business, regarding potential moves from the UK, once the deal has been brokered.
Lloyd’s of London confirmed they will open a subsidiary office in Brussels by January 2019, while other financial giants are looking to do the same, in a bid to ensure they retain EU custom after Brexit.
However, it isn’t just big business looking to make the move. Even medium sized companies are opening a European headquarters, relocating to Europe completely, or setting up additional European companies.
Although the final terms still haven’t been decided, formal withdrawal of the UK from the EU will take place in 2019, so to help those businesses considering moving after Brexit we have compiled a list of tips, designed to ensure a smooth transition for staff, customers, and the company.
Many of these tips will involve working with language specialists, cultural awareness trainers, legal experts, and so on, so it is worth spending some time finding the best providers of these services before you make any transition.
1. Difference in Member States
Europe is not a standardised block, but instead, is a collection of unique countries, each with different languages, cultures, and values.
Be aware that each country will also have its own laws, regulations, and standards for businesses, employment, and so on, which must be observed, alongside those that are set by the EU.
Understanding the legal and economic concerns for each specific country can take time, and expert advice. Invest time in finding a company that can advise you on cultural difference, translation issues, localisation matters, and legal aspects, before making any move.
A primary concern facing most businesses proposing a move to an EU country, is which location to choose.
There are national, regional, and international factors to consider before deciding upon a location, such as, considering if the country you move to has a skilled workforce in your sector, is the infrastructure in place to support your business, and are your existing staff prepared for all aspects of living and working in a foreign country.
There are some financial incentives being offered by some governments, and the EU itself, for relocating or expanding your business into the EU.
Some European cities have even made direct appeals to British companies in a bid to encourage the move.
Dublin, is one city that offers many benefits to UK businesses. Ireland will be the only majority English-speaking country in the EU, meaning language is not likely to be an issue.
There have also been some incentives offered by the Irish government such as, an extension of relief for foreign investors relocating staff to Ireland, and a low corporate tax rate.
Investigate all options thoroughly, checking what regulations might change, how language difference will affect operations, and what local infrastructure is in place to support your business at all levels.
3. Local Experts
You are likely to need a local law firm to support you in completing the required paperwork such as, new company registration, and also the services of a translation team to assist with translating official documents from English to your target language.
The UK’s Department for International Trade has offices in many Eastern European countries, in a bid to increase, and aid, trade, so they are well placed to assist with any move.
Chambers of Commerce can provide networks of reputable companies that can support you in the transition phase, and offer advice.
Ask for recommendations from other companies that have made similar moves, and request examples of previous work where appropriate.
Local experts can assist with regulations, but you might find it necessary to translate specific documents that relate to your business, as this will give you a thorough understanding, and ensure your compliance. Retaining the services of a quality translation provider, before you make the move, will ensure you can access the language correctly, and that there are no mistakes made in official documents, and that you are following the appropriate legislations.
Once your business has made the move and has begun operating from a new base, it is likely you will need to provide training to new staff.
This might involve, not only aspects of the day-to-day running of your business, but also cultural awareness (for international links to other offices within your firm, and interactions between existing English staff, and your new local employees).
Ensuring all new employees understand your company ethos, brand values, operating procedures, and work techniques, can require a huge amount of translation, or interpretation, depending upon your method of delivery. Having a professional translation team on hand to negotiate language barriers within training is vital.
5. Relocation Issues and Employees
Moving home is one of the top ten most stressful events we have to face. The effect of relocation on employees can be huge, especially if they have to learn a new language, sell their home, relocate their family, or if they are unhappy about the move.
Employee enthusiasm, and productivity, is linked to happiness, satisfaction, and appreciation. If they feel they are undervalued, or are highly stressed as a result of the move, they are not likely to perform to the best of their abilities.
Cross cultural training can help when relocating staff, and will ensure they are prepared for the move in advance. Working with people from other countries can be difficult and frustrating at times, because of different cultural backgrounds and accepted business norms.
We are all conditioned by our culture – understanding and appreciating it breaks down barriers and opens new prospects for your business.
Expert trainers can help you to discover cross cultural, communicational and operational differences, and by offering team building, time management, cross-sector difference, and language training, you can help to ensure your employees are ready for relocation.