Brexit is coming. As is often the case with change, we don’t know what’s going to happen or what it will look like, but we do know that *something’s* going to happen.
During every change you’ve got a choice when it comes to how you treat your people....
Engage with them early, get their feedback, listen to their ideas and concerns - see them as a way to find competitive advantage in the situation.
Or don’t, and they'll become mired in a fog of worry and, with a lack of information, they’ll create their own versions of the truth. As a result, they’ll slowly become more disengaged and your company and your customers suffer the consequences!
There's benefit in having engaged employees
There’s proven benefit in focusing on employee engagement - organisations with highly engaged employees enjoy
(Sources :Engage4Success, CMI, Gallup)
As with all big changes, the uncertainty around Brexit is an opportunity to increase employee engagement levels and strengthen your company’s culture.
But only if you handle it well and put your people front and centre.
After all, your people ARE your company. They’re the ones who run the production line, develop new products and services, make sales calls, meet your customers, chase outstanding invoices - all the things that make your company a success or not.
So how do you ensure that you maintain (and even increase) their engagement levels when you’re on a change journey like Brexit?
Focus on Employee Engagement during change
If you look to Engage for Success, the task force set up by the British Government in 2009 to look at the impact of engagement in the UK economy, they identified four key enablers for engaging organisations.
A strong, emotionally compelling narrative - where have we come from, where do we want to go and how are we going to get there. This is a powerful piece of writing, a call to arms to bring your people together under a single banner, the North Star that helps each of them to understand the role they play in the company’s success.
Engaging managers who focus on their people and give them scope, treat them as individuals and coach and stretch them. They're human and inspiring and have an ability to bring the corporate narrative to life for their teams.
Employee voice - create ways for staff to raise concerns and issues and to talk about how they feel. Yes, you can use online suggestion boxes, run CEO lunches and skip-level meetings, and create online digital channels but often, the most effective way to listen, is for leaders to simply talk to their staff.
Organisational integrity - put simply, ‘do what you say you’ll do’. I’ve worked with lots of organizations each of which has great organisational values that underpin its vision. Unfortunately, every time someone acts in a way that isn’t aligned with those values, it undermines organisational integrity. And if that poor behavior isn’t addressed, you simply undermine it further.
So big change doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Handled well, there’s significant potential opportunity.
You just need to ensure that your people are on board.