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Brexit - How to reassure concerned staff

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Following the vote to leave the European Union last month, the initial period of unrest between those who voted in and those who voted out appears to have calmed slightly.

Despite the backlash on social media and strong feelings which spilled over into many people’s working lives, now it seems that in true British spirit, people are getting on with things the best they can.

However, concerns still remain among employees about what happens next, especially those who work for companies which trade a lot with the EU and others which rely on staff coming in from other EU countries.

Many still have worries about their futures both professionally and personally, with regard to the security of their jobs moving forward, as well as the impact on factors such as house prices and the value of the sterling.

Initially, to deal with the result of the referendum, many organisations sent out a reactive message to employees reassuring them that nothing would change for now. Others reminded staff of the policies on behaviour in the workplace, in order to try and avoid any unrest that might occur. However, was this enough to truly bring peace of mind to employees?

In previous posts, the Wade Macdonald MD Dominic Wade said: “We have been left with a constitutional conundrum. The decision has created a great deal of uncertainty and it will take time to get some clarity on where we stand. This lack of clarity is unhelpful to the business community.

“We have been in a period of growth since the economy got back on its feet and then to destabilise it in such a way was perhaps not the wisest choice for the UK. I think in time, however, when we get greater clarity and the UK knows where it is going regarding trading partnerships etc then stability will return.”

The period of uncertainty and nervousness, hiring freezes, redundancies and overall turmoil within commerce and industry looks set to continue until Article 50 is evoked, a deal on withdrawal negotiated and legal grounds for a future relationship with the EU established, which could, in fact, take some time.

And as things change and new announcements are made in the coming years, how can employers continue to reassure employees and keep their trust?

With unpredictable times ahead, companies can put in place a series of measures to resolve issues when they occur.

One way is by trying not to make sweeping changes quickly, as this can cause panic and undue concern. Employers should also avoid making things complicated by giving out too much information – communications should only reflect the current situation and avoid predictions of what the future holds.

Another positive step for the time being is for employers to stay up to date with changes when they happen and ensure that the company can give response to its employees quickly to avoid any scaremongering that might occur. Line managers should be fully equipped with this information, so that they can answer the inevitable questions that follow change.

Some experts also suggest that regular question and answer sessions should be held as new information emerges, in order that staff don’t feel kept in the dark.

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