Why Brexit Makes Employee Engagement a Higher Priority

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

It’s no secret that both leave and remain voters were angry at the pre-referendum campaign promises, with some citing lies during the campaign as the reason, but how does this translate into figures?

After the referendum on the 23rd of June 2016, 44% of UK employees surveyed by the CIPD admitted to being ‘pessimistic’ about the future, and 22% felt less secure in their roles. Our own research shows that by February 2018 32% of UK employees were predicting that Brexit will negatively impact their current employment. With transition period for leaving the EU being agreed this week, the reality of Brexit is undeniable. We recently conducted a survey via social media, where we questioned what effect Brexit would have on the current job situation of respondents, and the results raise some interesting questions about how UK employees are feeling about Brexit. Only 2% of respondents actually felt that Brexit would have a positive impact on their current employment: nowhere near the 52% that voted for Brexit back in 2016. More worryingly, however, over a third of respondents had no idea what to expect from Brexit. FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) can all have a negative impact on employee productivity, so the level of uncertainty amongst UK employees must be addressed by employers if they want to address the current productivity problem. So, how can you keep your staff engaged in the midst of all this fear, uncertainty and doubt? Check out our engagement top tips below.

1. Increase Communication

Team leaders and managers are the most uncertain about their employment post Brexit, with 42% admitting they are unsure about how Brexit will affect their current employment. These are the middle men and women of the organisation, they need reassurance from their own managers that their role is secure, but they also must field questions from their own team about the effects of Brexit on their teams employment. So, make sure you provide them with the communication tools they need to keep your staff updated about the Brexit plans and procedures your company has in place. Senior leaders and managers can minimise employees' fears of job insecurity through open and effective communication. Transparency and open conversations between employees and management are the basis of building trust and, consequently, engagement. If you need more advice on communication strategies, then check out our communications page, or our recent article about how we helped Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust optimise their communication procedures.

2. Focus on Wellbeing

With 1 in 4 people suffering with a diagnosable mental health condition each year, mental wellbeing should already be at the top of every HR Team’s agenda. However, with the added stress of job insecurity surrounding Brexit, maybe your wellbeing initiatives could use a revisit. Financial and physical wellbeing should also feature heavily when you’re discussing wellbeing packages. These three key areas of wellbeing are so intrinsically linked it is often hard to increase one without affecting the others. Job insecurity can also lead to financial worries, and increased stress has been shown to lead to poorer physical health, so it is important to provide both financial and physical wellbeing initiatives during this transitional period.

3. Get Feedback

Eventually it all comes full circle and we’re back to communication. Pulse surveys, feedback forms or even grabbing a quick coffee with each team can help you to fine tune your engagement strategies, as well as showing staff that you are listening to their concerns. Showing your staff that you care about their wellbeing will not only help them become more engaged, you may find that it also improves happiness and productivity levels in your organisation too. Hungry for more stats? Check out the full breakdown of our survey here.

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