Brexit and employee morale

There is much uncertainty in the economy as this blog is written. The pound is at or near a record low against the dollar and the Stock Market nudging towards a record high. The CIPD has been warning of the emotional effect that Brexit may have on employees and is advising HR departments how they should handle it all. Here are some of our thoughts on how to maintain morale:

Take time, don’t over-react

Britain is still in the EU and will be for at least two years. Adjustment will be required but there is time to plan and adjust. Article 50 (signalling the formal departure negotiations) has not even been triggered. Now may be the time to be evaluating the opportunities Brexit might offer.

Dire predictions usually prove to be false

In 1981 200 economists protested to the Times that Mrs Thatcher’s economic policy would be a disaster. In fact an economic recovery began immediately after the letter was published! The day in 1992 when Britain left the European Exchange Rate mechanism was dubbed “Black Wednesday” and, again, widely considered a disaster. Yet in 1993 there was a surge in economic growth that continued well into the noughties. Even through the most recent recession, employment has held up well and is at record levels. So when it comes to Brexit, there is every reason to adopt a positive view with employees. Doing so will help maintain their motivation.

Communicate with employees

Treading the line of realistic expectations is a delicate task. Over-optimism can lead to disillusion later. Nevertheless, it is crucial to counter any rumour mill which can create all kinds of negative ideas that then circulate, gaining momentum as they do so. Rational optimism should be the order of the day and permeate all communications with employees. Of course, employees’ concerns should not be ignored or rebuffed, they need to be heard and addressed. Insecurity often underpins employee concerns and honest communication of available information can provide the antidote.

Retain a sense of purpose

With rare exceptions (European language schools perhaps) the EU is a means to an end and not an end in itself. The aims of your organisation can almost certainly be pursued elsewhere, a “business as usual” notice sign may re-assure employees.

Remember why we are leaving the EU

The judgment (of the electorate) is that there are better opportunities outside of the bureaucracy of the EU. On balance large international companies wanted us to remain in the EU. However, the view of Isabel Oakeshott (Daily Mail columnist), at least, is that small businesses favoured leaving. So now is our time!

Training Courses

Click here to register for one of our Training Courses.