Home

About Us

Membership

Professional Development

Knowledge Hub

Events

Awards

Careers

Home
IoIC
 
 
 
Search
As the only professional body dedicated to internal communication in the UK, we exist to help organisations and people succeed through promoting internal communication of the highest standard.

The phrase ‘there is no certainty but uncertainty’ really rings true in this post-Brexit period. Theresa May’s recent comments that she “will not provide a running commentary on every twist and turn of the negotiation”only adds to the difficulty for companies to plan ahead. The British Chamber of Commerce’s announcement this week ‘slashing its forecasts for domestic growth’ in 2017 adds further to the uncertainty. We are in unchartered territory and there is no guidebook for what has worked in the past.

The implications of Brexit are so far reaching – the decisions that will be made touch every part of our lives – personal, family, career, right down to our very identity. How do leaders steer the ship through times of uncertainty on so many levels? How do they create unity where there is division? Create positivity where there is anxiety? We explore how the role of strong internal communications is vital to avoid post-Brexit paralysis.

The impact of uncertainty and worry
Uncertainty breeds anxiety. When people’s work life, family life and even national identity come under threat, all the pillars of stability in their life start to look shaky. Some are already facing very real impacts of Brexit, for example the announcement in August from Royal Mail that thousands of employees could have their pension schemes cut due to the deterioration of the financial markets following the Brexit vote.

Coaching Positive Performance’ identifies the six mental effects of worry as hyper vigilance, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, overplaying risk, pessimism and becoming problem focused instead of solution focused. What do these all have in common? They are all productivity and engagement killers.

How to use internal communications to kick-start engagement and manage uncertainty
There are four key ways in which leaders can protect productivity by using internal communications to help cultivate a culture of trust and openness during these post-Brexit uncertain times.

1. Open, honest dialogue
First and foremost leaders must listen to their employees, providing forums for open discussion. Employees must be given the opportunity to have open and honest dialogue on issues that emerge around Brexit. Leaders must be visible and accessible even when they don’t know the answers. Recognising that no one knows the answers just yet is much more powerful than simply avoiding the questions. A communication vacuum will only feed uncertainty and the negative behaviours associated with it.

2. Reassurance
Leaders need to develop a strong narrative and regularly reinforce it to employees – ‘we have contingency plans, we are strong enough to weather the storm’. Employees must feel as if they are part of the decision making process and will be kept informed. This needs to be backed up with agile planning of communications to cope with the inevitable peaks and troughs in activity around Brexit news. This will serve to help instil a sense of calm and stability that employees should then be able to carry over to their interactions outside of the business.

3. Build capability in line managers and employees
Line managers need to be able to show understanding of the personal worries of individuals and be given tools to help with the ‘how will it affect me?’ questions. For example for EU nationals in the UK, UK nationals in the EU, those with a partner from the EU etc. Until employees are reassured on these questions they won’t be able to focus on the broader picture. Line managers will need support with this very challenging and emotionally charged task. Extra training and tools for line managers will be key.
CEB highlight their research showing that ‘improving employee capability to cope with change is the most effective way to sustain performance through a period of uncertainty’. A focus on training for coping with change along with helping employees to focus on their day-to-day tasks that they do have control over will be important as we move through this current phase.

4. Recognise diversity
It is critical that leaders recognise and understand the diversity of employees’ attitudes towards Brexit. Leaders should cultivate and vigilantly maintain an environment of tolerance and inclusivity within the organisation.
 
How to lead in times of uncertainty

Leaders are equally vulnerable to the effects of uncertainty. The natural tendency is to retreat to a position of inaction, to turn inwards and batten down the hatches. Employees look to leaders for reassurance and therefore the leadership must live and breathe the values that they want the employees to buy into. If employees perceive the leadership to be inactive, risk averse and disengaged this can lead to a crippling state of post-Brexit paralysis.
 
If leaders focus on the internal communication techniques identified here: 
· generating open, honest dialogue,
· reassuring employees and agile planning,
· building line manager and employee capabilities,
· recognising diversity;
it will go a long way towards providing a framework for action in an era of uncertainty where there really is no playbook to turn to.

 

Roz Harvey, managing director, Marrow Communications

  • IN YOUR CORNER? HOW TO BE AN ALLY TO COLLEAGUES
    Voice Online 1st December 2021 In the world we live in – a world that should be equal, but isn’t – being an ally is a moral imperative. This means going out of your way to actively support and advance marginalised individuals, communities or groups,....
 
Upcoming Events
There are no up-coming events
 
IOIC Blog
Internal Comms Insights 17th November 2021
Technology is a wonderful thing. It allows us to socially distance ourselves amidst a pandemic and log in to work from the comfort of our own homes. These days, you won't even have to change out of yo...
 
Join today
Access leading professional development programmes, exclusive content, events and networking opportunities
Renew membership
Renew today and continue to demonstrate your commitment to best practice internal communication
Group membership
Provide your team with the very best in professional development, knowledge and networking
Subscribe to Voice Mail
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Not a member? Subscribe to IoIC news & updates
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input

Latest Jobs

Our Sponsors

Room Booking

Thanks for staying with us! Please fill out the form below and our staff will be in contact with your shortly. The see all of our room options please visit the link below.
See All Rooms