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Supporting your employees through ‘leave’ uncertainty

A week since the EU Referendum and the UK’s majority vote to leave the EU, Derby-based Awbery, a specialist in leadership role modelling and wellbeing in the workplace, is calling for businesses to remain calm in order to maintain stability in the face of change.

“Britain faces a number of uncertainties that will have an impact on businesses large and small,” says Jane Rawden, Business Development Director, Strategic HR at Awbery.

 “Employees are likely to be anxious and worried about the future of their employer and, on a personal level, the security of their role.  Whilst many organisations will have planned for the ‘leave’ scenario, no-one knows for sure what lies ahead for Britain and its businesses.

“Now more than ever, it’s vital employees are engaged and motivated and not anxious and stressed, so that business is able to face the future in a strong position. Equally important is to make certain employees are equipped with the resources they need to allow them to effectively deal with the uncertainty ahead.” The CIPD* has also called for businesses to remain calm, with its Chief Executive Peter Cheese, saying it really is vital that: “UK businesses take time to properly assess the long-term impacts of any decisions that they take going forward.”  

As the implications of leaving the EU slowly crystallise, Awbery has produced a checklist of areas it believes businesses should explore to create and support employee wellbeing. Jane explains: “Effectively investing in the development of the necessary skills for leaders will ensure they are able to lead the organisation. Proactively providing senior executives with a reference point and the skills is wise investment to guide them through tough times, including those that are sure to materialise in the coming weeks and months as the impact of the EU referendum vote becomes clear. Whilst it will make you the employer stronger than ever, if the team is able to remain resilient, agile and motivated during the difficult times, an organisation will be in a strong position to take advantage of potential opportunities in the future.” 

“There are six core areas we would suggest: “Resilience training – resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ and tackle hardships and adversity effectively. Ensuring your leaders are equipped with the necessary strategies to remain resilient, will ensure they feel stronger and more able to cope with any difficult situation that they may need to face in the future. 

“Remain agile – your leaders have to be able to adapt and respond effectively to change, armed with the skill and mind-set to adapt to new ways of doing things. Being agile is vital in adapting to the complex external environment that organisations are now facing. Leaders need to be equipped with the relevant skills to champion a proactive, change-ready culture. 

“Mindfulness – in times of uncertainty, it’s easy to get carried away thinking about all the ‘what ifs’. Providing leaders with mindfulness techniques, such as the mindful moment, will allow them to stay in the present and think with clarity and consideration. 

“Coaching – ensuring leaders and managers are equipped with the relevant skills to effectively coach their teams through difficult situations, will result in a more motivated and empowered team. Effective coaching will also facilitate the development of business ideas and strategies. 

“Whitespace thinking – during periods of uncertainty, it can be tempting to encourage employees to increase the pace and adopt a ‘head down’ strategy. However, it is imperative your team is allowed the time and space to develop pro-active and reactive ways of dealing with the threats and opportunities that may lie ahead. Carefully planned team days to facilitate this, will also help boost team morale and motivation. 

“Wellbeing – when the pressure is on and managers are expected to deal with difficult situations within their team, stress and burnout can happen. Leaders and managers have to be encouraged to look after their own and their teams’ wellbeing; ensuring they are able to effectively look after body and mind, will allow them to lead effectively and cope with the demands during the difficult times.”

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