With three weeks to go until the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union, few things regarding Brexit are certain, but could this communication technology company have the answers?
It is proving to be a particularly difficult time for businesses, with it unclear what impact the next few months will have on currencies, trade and access to skilled workers.
Many are already seeing losses as a result of the disruption. In the year to February, the retail sector saw total sales growth drop to 0.5%, down from 1.6% in the same period last year. Likewise, hotel spending has dropped by 3.8% according to data from Barclaycard, while production in the automotive industry has fallen by almost 10%. The technology industry also fears that Brexit could stifle UK innovation.
As if a weak currency and rising food prices won’t be enough, many employers have warned that jobs are at risk. A recent study found that one in five manufacturing jobs could go, as well as thousands of jobs in the automotive and tourism sectors.
However, using technology in the right way could help to minimise employee fears and reduce the disruption caused by Brexit, one expert claims.
“Brexit isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill type of company news,” said Patrick van der Mijl, co-founder and chief product officer for internal business communications provider Speakap, “It has a wide-reaching impact on employees and the employee experience – from job certainty to financial stability to immigration status to tax requirements to family obligations and more.
“Companies cannot afford to follow a one-and-done communications approach when informing their employees about the impact Brexit could have on them.
“Given the weight of Brexit’s impact, sending out company-wide emails to staff simply won’t suffice and could lead to massive confusion and panic among employees.”
Communication technology: Briefing employees on Brexit
According to Van der Mijl, businesses can’t afford to rely on “outdated, inefficient communication methods and tools”. Instead, he proposes using the ease that communication technology provides to keep employees in the loop about Brexit and the company’s response to important changes and events in a proactive, targeted and transparent way.
“Companies must deploy internal communications about the matter on a regular, ongoing basis and the messaging should reflect and address relevant updates provided by the British government and political officials,” he said.
“In addition to being proactive and consistent with the frequency of communications, employers must also make sure to be as clear and transparent as possible so that employees fully understand how Brexit could impact them individually, as well as provide clear guidance and direction as to necessary support materials, teams and other relevant information.”
While employers must take a proactive approach to communication, they must also be careful about what they are sharing, when they are sharing it and what impact that information is likely to have.
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“As easy, convenient and productive as digital devices, smartphones and social media have made our lives, they’ve also led to digital and device overload. This, in turn, can often create a less than desirable experience of being mass spammed by emails, clutter, confusion and even inaccurate information being shared,” Van der Mijl explained.
Or else, they risk creating “confusion, frustration, panic” among employees that will only make dealing with Brexit more difficult.