Employee communications and a no-deal Brexit

8 August, 2019
Employee communications and a no-deal Brexit

Preparing employees for a “no-deal” Brexit

Regardless of your views on the rights and wrongs of the situation, it’s clear that a “no-deal” Brexit is likely to have a big impact on the way organisations in the UK operate. As the clock ticks down to 31st October, it is looking increasingly likely that the UK will be leaving the EU without a formal agreement of future relations. Whether it’s changes to your supply chain, how to deal with customers and suppliers in the EU or issues with the movement of your workforce across borders, it’s clear that many UK organisations will be affected. Of course, a no-deal Brexit may bring opportunities and upsides for your organisation too.

In all of these scenarios, it’s critically important that businesses start to plan for how they will take advantages of the opportunities and mitigate the risks of a no-deal Brexit. Some estimates believe that 8 in 10 UK organisations are prepared for a no-deal Brexit. However, the business lobby group, the CBI have said that they believe that the majority of UK businesses are not ready for such a scenario.

A key part of any organisation’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit should be to communicate its plans and preparations to its workforce. Getting plans out of the boardroom and in front of the people who are going to have to implement them is critical for a smooth transition. This can be difficult given the complex and interrelated nature of the issues involved. It is unlikely that a linear slide presentation given to a conference room full of employees will be able to relay the big picture perspective that employees will need. Furthermore, it will be important that any communication process allows employees to clarify the impact and to ask questions to assist their understanding.


Communicating no-deal Brexit plans to employees

At The Big Picture People, we believe that any process to communicate the organisation’s plans for a no-deal Brexit to its employees should include the following elements:

  • A visual representation of the narrative you want to communicate to your employees. Visualisation is an extremely powerful way to convey the complexity and interrelated nature of relationships affected by something like a no-deal Brexit.
  • A small-group process where teams and individuals can internalise the messages and seek to explore the implications for how they will work.
  • A two-way conversation that is leader-led. The importance of leadership visibility at a time when employees may be feeling anxious and concerned is critically important. Demonstrating leadership credibility and explaining the reasoning behind strategic choices will build confidence and mobilise action.
  • An interactive and engaging process. The importance of maintaining engagement through a communication process that may include “dry” and technical elements is important to ensure understanding and follow-through. Building in learner-led activities that enable employees to discover implications and connections for themselves is a powerful way to do this.
  • A process that is consistent, repeatable and time-efficient. It is vital that employees get the same messages and are led to the same conclusions across your organisation so your no-deal Brexit plans are consistently understood and delivered.


How The Big Picture People can help you to communicate your no-deal Brexit plans

For 20 years, The Big Picture People have been working with senior leaders and organisational specialists to help them share their organisation’s big picture. Whether their goal is to communicate an organisational or functional story, we know how to bring our clients’ visions, values, goals, strategies and priorities to life across large populations.

We have a tried and tested process for turning complex organisational narrative into a compact, repeatable communication toolkit that can be rolled out efficiently and effectively across the organisation. This experience makes us ideal partners in assisting you with your internal communications planning for a no-deal Brexit scenario.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you to communicate your no-deal Brexit plans to your employees and other stakeholders, get in touch with us.

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