It’s by far one of the biggest decisions we will have to make in our lifetime. One that will affect the economy, foreign policy, immigration policy, security and sovereignty and we are all aware of its importance. Yet there is much confusion around the EU Referendum.
Because there are no facts; just assumptions and this causes uncertainty and stress on a very personal level. Yes, the result will affect the economy and business, but more importantly it’s already having a toll on us as people.
In the workplace, it’s crucial that employees feel supported through this time of change – regardless of their political standpoint.
I’ve heard so many fear stories recently. One example is about the CEO of a multinational company threatening to move their headquarters to Germany, should the UK leave the EU. This of course will make staff fear for their jobs and will most likely sway their decision and possibly that of their families too
We have a very diverse team at The Stress Management Society and the EU referendum has stirred a lot of emotions in our office.
Last week, we held a team meeting to reassure all staff that they are entitled to their opinions and that whatever change there may be, everybody will be supported through it. It didn’t turn into a lengthy debate, in fact the whole meeting lasted about 10 minutes, but staff left feeling re-assured that it was OK to have emotions around the issue and it was OK and safe to talk about it.
One of the fundamental modules we use in both our training solutions and in the office is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which describes the different needs to be accomplished with the end aim of reaching self actualisation or fulfilment. The actions of some organisations recently are taking away one of the fundamental needs of safety and security!
Uncertainty, confusion and speculation breeds fear, anxiety and ultimately stress and organisations have a responsibility to ensure their employees are supported in a way that enables them to feel safe. The EU referendum is no different – managers should provide a safe platform for people to talk about their thoughts in a reasoned (and non-threatening) manner, to re-assure people that it is their choice to vote, or not, and to vote whichever way they choose. We have found that this has not been happening and that some organisations are missing an opportunity to communicate with employees on an important issue.
Whichever way it falls on Thursday, it will undoubtedly stir up further public debate about ‘what next?’. By continuing to communicate with employees you can do your bit to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety, I know in our office we will be having a referendum update and an opportunity to share our thoughts. It’s good to talk about things and ensure people have an outlet.
If you would like to discuss effective change management or would like to discuss how you can support your team or colleagues through this time of uncertainty regardless of the outcome, please do get in touch.
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