Everyday Inclusion, Briefing

One firm that we spoke to about Brexit earlier this year said teams had long been burning the midnight oil to compile a couple of strategic ‘manuals’, one for each way the referendum vote might go. They fully expected to bin one of them – and as the vote came in,

of course that’s the one they were thanking their lucky stars for. There’s a moral in that story somewhere. If this year has taught

businesses anything, it should be the value of scenario planning – to expect the unexpected is more than mere rhetoric.

And there is evidence that rms in 2016 are taking risk management seriously indeed. PwC’s latest Annual Law Firms Survey – just out – nds only 13% of rms have peformed an assessment speci cally for compliance with the EU’s General DataProtectionRegulation–butthenumber with an internal audit function has shot up from 40% to 56%. A total of 91% of rms are either very con dent or just plain con dent in their disaster recovery plans, too (not that I’m suggesting a vote to Brexit would necessarily feature in those).

But the biggest risk story in this year’s PwC survey seems to lie in a different section of the report entirely.

Firms have a severe case of spare capacity. In the top 10, headcount is up by 8% – but chargeable hours are down 3%. Among the top 26-50, there are 6% more bums on seats – but utilisation with that extra fat is at. It’s workforce planning and resourcing, says PwC, where rms really need to be investing to pro t through the precarious. Firms have made headlines for freezing or delaying salary reviews in the aftermath of the vote, but they really can’t delay thinking about matters such as how they can resource work across borders more ef ciently, breed new skill overlaps, incentivise productivity and create more collaborative business partnerships.

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