Rita Trehan: How can employers support staff in uncertain times?


The most important thing to remember about Brexit is that absolutely nothing is going to change for at least another two years after we trigger Article 50, but it is more likely to be five years or considerably longer. In addition, the EU has a very poor track record of expediting deals with other nations and based on previous negotiations, we are looking at up to 10 years of uncertainty, so we had all better get used to it.

Organisations with EU staff need to explain and reassure workers that even once an agreement is made, in all likelihood they will be able to stay in the UK. This is because if the UK does not agree some form of transitional protection then all British citizens living in the EU will be told to leave too, and that is just not going to happen, not now and not in the future.

But EU nationals will be understandably worried. Businesses must ensure that they are empowering their human resources professionals and ensuring they are adequately resourced. HR managers are in a perfect position to take the temperature of employees and the whole business, and devise and implement changes that will enable the organisation to roll with any punches.

Employers must ensure all staff feel valued; make sure managers and HR staff walk the floor and their doors are always open to discuss any individual concerns. It is vital that businesses hold on to talented EU workers, so now is a great time for employers to do an audit of their workplace culture to get the answers they need as to how employees really feel about working for them. And it is also a great time to reward innovation and creativity.

Rita Trehan is former director of HR at Honeywell International and AES Corporation, and a global expert on workplace culture