BREXIT – 8 Tips for Managing the Challenges Ahead
Whether you voted “in” or “out” few can disagree that the events of the past few days have been seismic and will change the nature of our country and world forever whatever scenario plays out in the weeks, months and years ahead.
This blog makes no assessment of the merits of either in or out but seeks to help Recruitment Business Leaders cope with some of the challenges you are likely to face.
There is a huge amount of uncertainty; fear and anger about and probably will be for several weeks to come. As we return to work, as recruitment business owners and leaders we have to move forward irrespective of our views. Some of my clients have contacted me recently for some suggestions on how to approach the next few weeks or so please find below my suggestions:
1. The Emotional Cycle of Change recognise and understand it.
Psychologists and business change managers will tell you that in times like this the vast majority of us will go through the following emotional cycle of change. There are various models of emotional change but the most famous model of this was developed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
Her “Emotional Change Cycle” (shock, elation, anger, denial, blame, confusion, and finally acceptance) charts the typical human reaction to change and has been validated repeatedly. Many of you will see this playing out in the media, in political spheres and across social media. This is the first time we have however seen 16m going through this simultaneously.
Some of you will have been or may still be going on this huge emotional journey yourselves with a mixture of shock, elation, anger, denial blame, confusion before hopefully a level of acceptance that you and I individually cannot change what has happened at a national level.
This emotional journey is totally natural and to a degree healthy.
We all make and experience this journey differently and at different paces.
Recruitment Consultants are by their nature tend to be demonstrative creatures and this change will affect them. The vast majority of your teams are young and in all likelihood according to statistical polls did not vote for this so may be feeling angry.
An awareness of this cycle will help you make sense of some peoples behaviour and enable you to support them through this change in so far as it affects them at work.
My first suggestion is that in the first couple of weeks you may need to be more tolerant than normal of emotional reactions but equally you must assert boundaries if these reactions become unacceptable.
Rather than responding yourself to their passion or outburst I suggest you ask people to go for a cool down, a walk, take the afternoon off or even a day or so. The key thing is to take emotion out of the situation. You may feel the need to do this too and that is cool.
2. Strong Positive Leadership
Whatever your personal emotional state, at work I would recommend assuming a strong positive and determined to succeed attitude. There is going to be a lot of doubt, fear and anxiety around. I suggest you need to keep positive and don’t be taken on other peoples fear journey’s. Help your teams remain focused on the positive. In my experience we may be in for several weeks where the glass is half empty and the future unclear and uncertain.
Look for positive stories in your teams work and efforts and in the world around you. Celebrate them and keep people focused on the positive.
It might help to talk about the importance of positivity in the office with your teams and gain their commitment as a team to engendering a positive work environment.
At the same time be aware and look out for ‘mood-hovers’ in your office. Take them to one side and remind them that as a team you agreed that negativity will not be tolerated.
You may wish to use the cooling off techniques already discussed if they need time to adjust to a work issue which has affected their moral.
3. Remind people the fundamentals are still strong
The underlying economy is still strong, the demand for staff exceeds supply, there are still skill-shortages in most sectors and these are not going to change overnight. There are jobs to fill out there. Even at the height of the last recession 96% of business carried on and the Bank of England and most economists would say we are a long way from those times.
What you may notice over the next few weeks is the number of requirements could reduce and change from permanent requirements to temp/contract needs. Some requirements may become harder to find but all this means is we all need to work harder and smarter.
It is worth remembering the story of the two men walking through a forest. Suddenly, they see a tiger in the distance, running towards them. They turn and start running away. But then one of them stops, takes some running shoes from his bag, and starts putting the on.
“What are you doing?” says the other man.
“Do you think you will run faster than the tiger with those?”
“I don’t have to run faster than the tiger,” he says. “I just have to run faster than you.”
We don’t have to out run our tigers in business either we just need to focus on out running our competition. You might find it helpful to motivate your people to pull together. Evoke their sense of team spirit or may be even create a team incentive beating the competition in head-to-head job fills.
4. Track job flow
From your perspective you need to monitor your business closely.
In my experience-tracking job flow is one of the most important things to do to give you a sense of what is really happening in the market. It will vary from week to week as it has done previously so you will need to watch the trend over a two to three-month period. If there is a severe downturn you will note it sooner this way to allow you to take appropriate action. I do not expect this to be too dramatic myself but I think we will notice fewer Permanent roles and more Temp/Perm jobs. The nature of the jobs may change and their durations so watch this too.
Remind people of the A/B/C Job classification and ensure they focus on getting A & B jobs.
5. There will also be BREXIT work to do.
You will find that there are going to be BREXIT jobs probably temps and contract in IT, Finance, Banking, Engineering, Legal, Procurement, Accounting and Call Centre. Be aware they will come as businesses look to change systems, processes and business centres and well as operating locations. It’s an opportunity so be aware of it and have your teams look for it.
6. Work Harder and Smarter – Focus your teams on Activity
In my experience of all the economic down turns (80s, 90s,dot.com and 00s) a key element for success is as well as remaining positive to just work harder and smarter.
Many of you will know this is one of my pet topics but now it is more important than ever.
In my experience in successful businesses all consultants who are not on target need to be hitting their weekly activity targets. Rather than impose this on the teams discuss it and get agreement.
People may need to work longer hours in the short term to maintain their performance levels. That has to be their choice but they may be willing to do that to keep their income levels and in some cases their jobs.
7. Don’t Carry Passengers
The final comment for your team is don’t carry people who have the ability to do the job but are not delivering and pulling with the team. If it helps with some people you may need to remind them of this first and give them an opportunity to improve performance but try the positive approach and the focus on activity first.
If this fails then you will need to look at your disciplinary procedures in your staff handbooks and potentially start formal processes.
I am always of the opinion that giving people notice of what you expect of them and making it clear on what is good performance and what level of performance will not be tolerated will make life fairer for all.
You must be clear and consistent with all your teams and doing this will enable people to make the right choices about making this work.
Ultimately if they choose not to make the right choices around performance then you may have to begin steps to terminate their employment
8. Live in the NOW
Finally on a personal note I read a book several years ago called the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I found it very useful and it helped me go through a personally difficult time in my life and you might find it helpful too.
In essence it suggests we spend too much of modern life living mentally in the past or in the future and worrying about things.
Our minds are either regretting what we should have done or worrying about what might happen. Tolle reminds us the only place where we can actually affect the future is through the actions in the present today therefore we need to remain totally present and focused. In addition I would add that remaining present ensures we do not miss opportunities that exist now, today. They are all around us and we need to keep a watchful eye otherwise we will miss them.
When I started practicing living in the NOW it was difficult and I was shocked how often Tolle was right. I was living in the future or the past mentally but as I started to live in the NOW I also noted that the problems I had been worrying about started to shift and sort themselves out before they actually happened.
My last suggestion to you is therefore learn to live day to day and focus on the reality of what is happening today.
Certainly for the next few weeks try to live each day in the present and ignore speculation about what will could or might happen. Detach yourself from it.
I will not be watching the morning news other than to grab the headlines. To help myself I will be resuming my daily meditations you might want to look at this or practice mindfulness. Yoga is a great outlet and for some of you make sure you increase or maintain your physical exercise regimes.
One of the benefits of practicing living in the NOW is that you will notice the level of fear in your life diminishes.
One of the acronyms for FEAR is that it stands for
Fantasized Emotions Appearing Real
That is FEAR is not reality. In my experience having experienced events, which are truly frightening you do not feel fear when it is happening only afterwards when you reflect on what has just happened.
Fear occurs therefore through the expectation of an event, which people are imagining. There are various NLP techniques we use to help people become aware of the power of the mind and FEAR, which we can teach.
We at the Recruitment Training Group hope this has been both timely and helpful and would love to hear from you if you believe we can help you.
We shared this with our clients first and we share it with you in the interests of helping all of us build and create a new and better world post BREXIT.