Today, Wednesday 29th March 2017 see’s the latest landmark in UK history, as we have invoked Article 50 and have officially told the rest of Europe that we want to start negotiations to leave the European Union (EU).
Never before in recent history has a single document been so important in terms of its impact on all of our lives. Be that on those of us who were born in the UK, or not. Never before does a single document have the power to unite us as a collective population, or tear us apart.
As we start on this monumental new journey of separation, we need more than ever before to really join together and become one. To embrace each and every one of our fellow work colleagues, neighbours and friends like never before. Whatever our nationally, we all live and work in the UK - contributing in some way to making it the powerful, economic powerhouse that it is.
This should not be forgotten. In fact this should be the one ruling thought in all of our minds over the coming days, weeks and months. We are all in this together. Without each other we would not be as strong. We are all equally important whether we were born here or whether we came to live and work here two years ago. We are all unique and special. We all have critical skills and abilities, without which, the UK would be so much weaker.
From nurses and doctors, to builders, lettuce pickers and factory packers, we all play a crucial part in the economic success of the UK. The NHS, social care, construction, food, hospitality, and almost every other industry that makes up our economy, would collapse without foreign colleagues making the decision to come and work and live in the UK over the years.
Sadly since the decision to leave the EU, many of our fellow work colleagues have felt isolated, unworthy and unwanted. This has to be the worst outcome about the decision to leave. Many have felt so negatively impacted by the decision that they have either made the conscious decision to leave the UK in the next couple of years, or have actually voted with their feet and already left and gone back to their native country.
This has huge potential implications on our workforce - on their skills and abilities and frankly on their total numbers. Industries such as the NHS who are already struggling to recruit enough skilled medical staff from within the UK and abroad, cannot afford to lose any further large numbers of potentially ‘unwelcomed’ staff due to a mass exodus out of the country. Quite frankly, the service as a whole would implode!
Times have to really change! Mindsets and actions have to really be changed and quickly!
Now that we have formally put the wheels in motion to leave the EU we have to genuinely look at how we communicate and engage with our staff. We have to start to pull together, to unite, to create closer knitted teams and organisations. And more than anything, we have to learn the art of effective staff communication.
No longer should it be acceptable to treat people as a number. Staff should feel equally important and valued, and should be treated as such. Our communication and engagement channels need to be looked at with a fresh pair of eyes. Are they effective? Are they fit for purpose? Are we engaging with everyone equally and in a timely manner? Are we communicating in ways that our staff prefer – be that face to face, walking the shop floor, or electronically through text, email, newsletter or social media messages? (Ideally the answer would be yes to a combination of all of these channels in a layered approach). Do we have opportunities for two-way communications to naturally flow between levels of staff within the organisation? Are we able to get a sense check on the levels of morale within the business? And, are we able to capture the valuable thoughts and ideas that are being generated from our workforce to ultimately enable us to improve the quality of the products and services that we provide to our customers?
Effective communication and engagement form the bed rock of strong employee morale and motivation, which in turn lead to enhanced productivity and greater economic success. All of which are going to be crucial over the next couple of years as the UK undertakes the un-trodden road to exiting the EU.
All managers and employers have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that now more than ever before they are effectively engaging with their staff. That they help and guide people as valued equals down the new road that we have put ourselves on.
Everyone has to stand together united and strong to ensure that the UK comes out of the negotiations in two years time as the genuine new international economic powerhouse that it strives to be. We all have an important part to play and we need to ensure that we enact our roles to the best of our abilities.
I for sure will be helping companies enhance their employee communications to help them reap the fantastic rewards that it provides. If you would like some hints and tips as to how you too could improve your internal communications give me a call and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.