The result of the recent General Election has plunged Britain into political chaos just days before the Government was due to begin Brexit negotiations. Whilst the UK population and politicians alike try to make sense of the situation, Brexit looms large on the list of business concerns for both employees and employers – so what are the far-reaching implications of the General Election for the wider economy and the world of work?
Will Brexit lead to a change in workplace rights and legislation? How will managers and employees navigate through the short and medium-term implications? How will the results of Brexit and the General Election result affect organisations in policy and practice?
5 experts give their opinion on what Brexit and the General Election mean for the workplace:
Martin Beck Lead UK Economist, Oxford Economics:
“The UK faces a further period of political uncertainty… that uncertainty may drag on economic activity but if the experience following the EU referendum is anything to go by, uncertainty is not the activity-killer many previously believed it to be, implying any drag from this source should be modest.
Public dissatisfaction with the direction of economic policy suggested by the Labour Party’s gains may compel a Conservative-led government to adopt a more growth friendly fiscal policy. With ‘fixing the public finances’ no longer selling even on a political level, the consensus around economic policy could see a meaningful shift towards using fiscal policy to promote growth.”
Alan Price, Employment Law and HR Director of Peninsula
“One of the most concerning aspects of the election for employers is likely to be what this means for the UK leaving the EU. Some experts are saying that it is now likely a “softer” Brexit will be carried out as the Conservatives campaigned on the basis of a “hard Brexit” and the public did not provide them with the support to carry this out….For now, businesses and employers are likely to find themselves in a further period of uncertainty until the future government and employment law initiatives are confirmed.”
Dr Maranda Ridgway
“As the realities of what Brexit might mean for EU workers in the UK becomes clearer, the risk of losing British skilled talent to international job opportunities is in danger of being overlooked. It may be prudent for organisations to approach Brexit from a position of change management, employing a strategic and deliberate approach to making sense of the implications of leaving the EU. Clear and open communication will help to reduce anxiety about instability and future employment in these volatile times.” writes Dr Maranda Ridgway
The latest CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning Surveyfound that 3 in 4 HR professionals expect competition for talent to escalate and nearly two-thirds (61%) predict further difficulty recruiting senior and skilled employees over the next three years. The research also found that increasing competition for talent is highlighting the need for organisations to position themselves as an employer of choice. Almost nine in ten (89%) organisations said they have been making efforts to improve their employer brand in the last year.
Claire McCartney, Associate Research Adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:
“Today’s research highlights mounting competition for talent and the subsequent need for organisations to sharpen their focus on strategic recruitment and effective retention, to attract and maintain the skills they need in an increasingly competitive labour market. Brexit, and its impact on the labour market, should act as a stimulus for organisations to focus their attention on building a stronger, more productive workforce, by staying alert to potential changes in their skill needs and being agile in their response.”
Nigel Heap, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland, advises:
“As we move towards an EU exit, organisations should consider reviewing their recruitment strategies to help them secure access to the right talent. Although we are still faced with some on-going uncertainty, most sectors remain competitive so now isn’t a time for complacency.”
What becomes clear from the experts is that uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the General Election may not be a harbinger of doom for all parts of the UK market. At Spectrum Workplace, the outlook remains very positive, with more and more enlightened companies taking steps to refurbish and diversify their usage of their office space to make it more effective.
Whilst some might find it difficult to see the tenable tangible link between brand perception, good office design and Brexit, in times of uncertainty people often default to companies who have a strong brand and professional image as they are perceived to be level-headed and trustworthy in potentially stormy waters.
A survey of 1,000 UK adults, conducted for The Partners by Lightspeed GMI, shows that just 25% of people regard a brand’s British heritage as the most important factor in their purchase decision. This compares with 54% that attach most value to the quality of the product, 36% that value customer service and 29% that care about the brand’s individual culture and values.
Andrew Marsden, Brand Consultant
Andrew Marsden, a brand consultant and former marketing director of Britvic, sees signs that British companies remain strong and attractive to overseas consumers following Brexit. “We’re one of the biggest economies in the world and we’re famous for a massive number [of products and services] and in that sense, nothing has changed,” he says “We just have to do what we do best, which is build our brands and sell them, because there’s still a global demand for them.”
The reality is your brand and office space have to work harder to reassure and attract business; they have to evolve within the new political and economic climate and appeal across the generations. Whilst the nature of work has changed in the last 20 years, office spaces have not kept pace. As tangible evidence of your company culture, your office space has a huge effect on people – the likes of Google, Facebook, AirBnB, Pixar and others have known this for years – that good office design that reflects their brand, culture and ways of working which puts them at the forefront of their competitive industries. If you take a walk around your office, does your reception area give people an interactive experience with your brand that is polished and professional? Does your office fill your colleagues and clients with confidence? If not, now is the time to review!
Spectrum Workplace provides consultation services to advise on how your office design can evolve in a new political and economical climate. Check out our client list and contact us today to talk office design as well as politics… Your office space can become an interactive brand experience for clients and useful talent attraction and retention tool as well – it is an integral part of the engine that drives long-term growth strategies forward, which becomes ever more important with the prospect of a future in post-Brexit Britain