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Picking up the Brexit pieces for your organisation is nothing more than change management in action. So says Jane Sparrow, author and founder of The Culture Builders.

 “Now the shock has hit and diffused, people have gone into scenario planning mode,” she explains.
“The role of internal communicators is to keep steady and calm and be involved in the scenario planning conversations so they can be ready to communicate and influence. Our job is to deflate the balloon of anxiety and panic.”
She relates how at one business she works with, “The CEO got up and said ‘Calm down, don’t worry. Our vision hasn’t changed, our business hasn’t changed, we have lots to be proud of. Brexit will be a long-term change, so it’s business as usual’. That kind of message will need to continue.
“Comms people need to approach this like any other change project – there will be negative and positive aspects and it could get emotional at times.”
Jane says, like any other change programme, what’s needed is to:
·      Keep a steady course
·      Help equip managers so they can communicate and prevent their people from getting panicked and anxious.
·      Keep up the dial on messages like ‘this is where we’re going, this is what we stand for, this is what we are, this is what we’re proud of’.
·      Share as much as you can as soon as you can
·      Make sure the leaders are visible.
“Keeping track of the peaks and troughs of anxiety is important,” she adds. “But, now the emotion has started to calm, people have realised we will make it work. Businesses have to make it work.”
Given that most business leaders and communicators appear to have been in the Remain camp, Jane added another tip for internal communicators – “Divorce how you feel about Brexit from how your company needs to react about Brexit, otherwise you may give the comms a negative feel.
“We need to remain neutral – we will make it work. When information comes through, we will deal with it. Until then, it’s business as usual.
“In the meantime, internal communicators must work with leaders to reassure EU citizens working in the UK that they’re still valued and that will need to continue as speculation undoubtedly starts in the coming months.
“The last thing we want is the talent moving out of our businesses because they’re anxious, so much of the comms has to be about helping people feel valued.”
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