Insurance 7 April 2017

Four ways to reduce Brexit uncertainty and workplace anxiety

Brexit
Brexit uncertainty could cause havoc amongst small teams

Employee Brexit uncertainty  may have more of an impact now that Article 50 has been triggered. Here, consultant at The Oxford Group, Stephen Fortune, provides his tips to help small company owners limit the negative effects of an uncertain environment.

With Theresa May formally beginning the process for Brexit, smaller businesses are likely to feel the impacts of this change. Employees and employers alike are bound to be feeling very uncertain about the future.

Leaders must put their wellbeing first

Before looking to reassure employees, it is vital for leaders and managers to concentrate on their own wellbeing. Employers need to be in a stable condition both mentally and physically in order to help members of staff and bring everyone together.

Increased wellbeing with bring with it increased resilience to issues that may arise and will ensure they feel more relaxed and confident with what is to come.

Think positively

Although the natural response may be a negative one, and a flight or fight reaction will take over, it is important, in times of Brexit uncertainty, to remain positive.

Leaders of small businesses need to see Brexit uncertainty as an opportunity to grow and develop, rather than shy away from the opportunities that may arise. This is the ideal opportunity for small businesses who just need an opening in the market to make their break and develop beyond their competitors.

If leaders and managers remain positive, this also has a secondary impact on employees. If they notice their managers seeing the situation in a positive light, it is more likely to give members of staff the extra bit of motivation.

Although times might be tough, this doesn’t change an organisation’s need for skills and a hardworking workforce, and its vital to make this need clear to employees to reassure them about their future at the company.

Increase innovation

Change within the business environment provides the ideal environment for innovation and creativity. When things are in place and certain, it is easy for both employees and employers to fall into a system of monotony, however during times of chaos and uncertainty, possibilities are endless. In this situation, the role of managers is to re assure employees that not having all the answers is perfectly fine.

When discussing uncertain environments in the workplace, a good acronym to refer to is VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). This plays an important role. Tour de France cyclist Jens Voigt once said he almost preferred to race in unfavourable conditions, because he has already beaten half of the competition before the race starts.

A lot of small businesses may be in VUCA environments at the moment, perhaps without even knowing. It is important for leaders to utilise this opportunity and involve team members with new decisions and ideas.

Look to the future, not the present

It is all too easy for employers and employees alike to get stuck in a rut of concentrating on the present, which may not always look very bright, however for any business to succeed and prosper, it is vital for everyone in the organisation to look to the future.

If the future is articulated in a positive and inspiring way, employees are a lot more likely to move forwards with the company, whilst adapting to make the most of the opportunity.

Creating goals and objectives on how leaders want to company to look in the future will help members of staff understand the longer term consequences and ensure everyone is on the same page, which is particularly important in a small business. 

Stephen Fortune is principal consultant at The Oxford Group, part of The City and Guilds Group

Want to better understand employee motivation to get the most out of your small team? Read on. 

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