Staff left in dark over employers’ Brexit plans

Prime Minister Theresa May arrives back in London after making a statement on Brexit in Strasbourg.
Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

As MPs prepare to vote again on Theresa May’s Brexit deal after she says she agreed “legally binding” change from the EU, new research has shown that just 11% of employees say their organisation has clearly communicated its Brexit plans to staff.

According to the study, Brexit: Age of Uncertainty, 33% of employees expect a freeze in pay or promotions after the UK leaves the EU, and 54% say Brexit will put extra pressure on the workforce.

Furthermore, only 38% of respondents are confident their organisation will survive Brexit, and just 21% say their company is ready to make it a success. Importantly, 45% say a no-deal Brexit will have an adverse impact on their company.

One quarter of workers (26%) say Brexit is a taboo topic to discuss with management while half (53%) believe they should have a say in their company’s stance towards Brexit. And 42% of UK workers want more clarity on how Brexit will impact their role.

David Duffy, general manager of Right Management, which commissioned the study, said: “It’s important to keep in mind that Brexit is a process, not an event. These might be uncertain times, but the best businesses will use Brexit as an opportunity to examine and reassess talent strategies.

“This includes ensuring they have the right programmes in place to address skills gaps, build leadership pipelines and foster a culture that invests in employees’ careers,” comments David Duffy, general manager, Right Management. “Regardless of external market conditions, every employee needs a sense of direction and security.”

The report recommends four key actions for organisations during periods of uncertainty, such as Brexit. These are:

  • Invest in people’s careers – from embedding career conversations into performance management to developing careers maps and rethinking career management strategies
  • Develop a coaching culture – identify the right coaching needs to support development planning and business goals simultaneously
  • Assess talent needs – plan to create a career focused culture that sustains success through your employees
  • Turn employees into leaders – use data-driven insight to develop and measure leadership effectiveness and ensure the right people, with the right skills, are in place to lead the organisation through period of uncertainty.

Duffy added: “Periods of change, like Brexit, test both company and personal resilience. Rather than inadvertently drive talent elsewhere, management teams need to proactively engage with their workforce to positively align their career and talent strategies with business objectives.”

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