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Stephanie Morgan Sustaining employee engagement through the uncertainty of Brexit

Since the UK’s decision to leave European Union in 2016, the whole country has been flung into a state of uncertainty, which only seems to be accelerating as we near the leave date in just a few months’ time.

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It’s likely that your organisation and your people are feeling impacted, as a CIPD survey reveals that many employees in the UK are feeling vulnerable about their job security as a direct result of the uncertainty of Brexit.

It really is no wonder that people are feeling uneasy about the future of their jobs, and perhaps even in some cases the stability of the business. This, in part, is due to the lack of clear and sometimes reliable information on Brexit. The only thing we do know, is that we’re all facing uncertainty.

I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering about Brexit and L&D, and I keep circling back to the same place – how can L&D support the business during this time of uncertainty. And for me, it’s comes down to making sure the people within the business are feeling motivated and are able to remain engaged and productive in their day-to-day work, despite what’s going on outside of the business.

Here are a few areas we could focus on to help keep spirits up, engagement high and motivation flowing:


1. Encourage honest communication

Taking a strategic approach to how the business communicates with its people is an essential part of maintaining engagement through uncertainty. At the very least, it will create a sense of comradeship and unity throughout the organisation. Keeping your people in the dark when it comes to strategies, plans and challenges can add fuel to the fire during times of change.

Learning professionals can take the initiative to support their business leaders in delivering open and honest communication with their people, whether that’s as simple as being available to answer questions honestly or holding regular forums to encourage an open dialogue.


2. Visible leadership

A reoccurring issue for many organisations is a disconnect between leaders and their people. This really is a red flag during times of uncertainty, as it can result in a lack of the knowledge, drive and enthusiasm that leaders need to tap into to successfully navigate the business through change.

The good news is L&D can make a big difference here. You just need to help your leaders be more visible. Having strong leaders who are visible, trustworthy and transparent is a recipe for motivation, inspiring confidence and creating employee engagement. It’s all about presence.


3. Equip your line managers

Line managers have a huge part to play when it comes to employee engagement, and this is only amplified in uncertain times. It’s essential that L&D help equip their line managers with key skills they can use to keep their team(s) engaged.

Empathy is a good place for L&D to start. An empathetic line manager will be able to use their emotional intelligence to support their people in a way that works for the individual, ultimately helping them to meet their personal goals at the same as making the organisation successful. It’s a sure way to help your people feel supported during times of instability.


4. Create a culture of continuous learning

A culture of continuous learning leads to powerful benefits for the business, from increasing productivity and efficiency to improving morale and employee satisfaction. This is something we all strive for in L&D, but the case for continuous learning during times of uncertainty gets much stronger.

If your people have the ability to constantly learn, they will be able to cope better with uncertainty, as they have the tools they need to adapt to change. If you aren’t sure where to start, we recently put on a webinar about creating a learning culture, and you can watch the recording here.

Who knows how Brexit will pan out, but one thing we can be certain of is that learning will play a key part in the future, and our learning strategies are imperative to business success. So, a motivated, engaged and enthusiastic workforce who are willing to learn and support the growth of the business are a sure investment, regardless of the impact of Brexit.

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Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.

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