Reassuring your employees through Brexit anxiety

On the 29 March 2019, just under three years since Britain chose to leave the European Union, the UK is expected to leave the EU. Currently, more than seven in ten organisations have at least one employee from an EU or non-EU country.

Continuing uncertainty over the UK’s lengthy divorce process mean that British companies, who employ talent from across Europe, risk losing workers worried about the bearing Brexit may have on their lives. CIPD has reported that 48% of these employees have expressed insecurity about their jobs, and more significantly, that 26% of UK citizens have expressed job anxiety.

This level of insecurity is unsurprising given the national confusion surrounding the main principles of Brexit. The EU settlement scheme allows EU citizens to remain in the UK while enjoying the same rights they currently have under free movement if they obtain a ‘settled status’ or ‘pre-settled status’ document; crucial for firms wishing to retain key EU employees. Despite this, the majority of employers (55%) say that they know very little or nothing at all about it. We believe it is the job of employers to curb these fears and help EU nationals understand the impacts of Brexit before they have a significant impact on the wellbeing and productivity of their workforce. Here are our tips to calming your employees’ nerves and keeping your employees informed.

Knowledge is power

We believe knowledge is key to understanding the impact Brexit may have on your workforce. Being confident in how your company will tackle these issues will resonate with your employees. One significant way of ensuring your employees feel secure and valued is to communicate any planned action successfully. Effective communication is important for developing trust within an organisation and is shown to have significant influence on employee engagement, organisational culture and ultimately, productivity. This is only possible if senior members of organisations are aware of what the next steps are, if senior leaders fail to communicate with employees any potential repercussions of Brexit, rumours may fill the vacuum.

Have a clear organisational plan

According to Total Jobs, 61% of those surveyed said their employers have not been keeping them informed about any potential changes that might occur. One way of steering clear of this trend and stamping out employee uncertainty is by figuring out, as an organisation, the steps you should take in preparation for Brexit. This could be financial, emotional or practical support. Doing this will determine how best to utilise HR professionals. Becoming aware of how you can help employees and acting on any Brexit related doubts will ultimately improve employee wellbeing.

Dedicated support during Brexit

Dedicating your HR team to help employees prepare for Brexit can be invaluable to employee morale and overall confidence in their employer. Professionals at leading firms are using tools such as group meetings, social media, FAQs and drop in sessions to help curb employee fears. Activities like this can prove more helpful than a simple email, which can sometimes seem uncaring and result in more questions than it intended to answer. Ultimately, using methods similar to this will lead to the retention of key talent and lower labour turnover.

The importance of retaining talent cannot be underestimated. Last year’s, LinkedIn Recruiter Sentient survey found that 96% of HR professionals feel that leaving the EU will affect their hiring strategies and the availability of talent. With the attractiveness of UK jobs falling in the eyes of both British and international recruits, it is imperative that firms adopt the above policies to keep their internal expertise. If a company employs or plans to employ just one EU national, the absence of opposition and reduced appeal of UK jobs means a more competitive labour market for all employees.

Adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach puts you and your employees at a disadvantage. Employers need to be clear on company strategy and work with senior leadership and HR professionals to implement this throughout the business; ensuring employees are involved in the process along the way. If you feel your HR team is not equipped to deal with possible situations arising as a result of Brexit, we can help. Our HR consultancy team can offer guidance, advice and solutions tailored to your situation.

Please reach out to the Buzzacott HR Consultancy team or leave an enquiry below.


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