We all know that we are in a state of uncertainty since the vote of 23 June and alongside the ongoing debate about how the vote came to pass and the consequences of it, there is also a need to get to what’s next.
And, what’s next must include a response to the anger and distrust that the result highlighted - not only about immigration (and let's not shy away, it was often the underlying reason for the Leave vote) - but also anger and distrust in business.
Overwhelmingly business supported a remain vote - but half of their people didn’t. Could employees not see or trust the potential impact on them or was the desire to control immigration more important?
At a recent, excellent, Hanson Search and K&L Gate briefing on Brexit for Business, Ameet Gill (Hanbury Strategy and former SPAD) gave us the reminder that there are about 20,000 laws now up for grabs and instead of business lobbying privately for our own best interests we need to campaign and publicly.
Business needs to bring the public with them on what is best for the country - because bullying or hoping for another vote will only backfire and accelerate distrust.
From this, I wanted to highlight two specific opportunities that many companies can do.
1. Accelerate that business is a force for good
We know that businesses are looking at what their exposure is. Scenario planning, financial modeling and assessing risk are high on the agenda. This is all very internally focused, but also means that it is the right time for businesses to really assess what kind of role they want and can play in society.
Instead of simply ‘lawyering up’ and focusing on your own commercial interests how can your business engage positively, influence the debate and establish new people and markets? In this environment is there an opportunity for business to reverse the declining levels of trust that the public have by being authentic and transparent in how you communicate?
2. Your people are the vehicle to make you trustworthy
Engagement is really about the ‘pub test’ - how your people speak about their work with friends or even strangers is the true ‘measure’ of engagement. So, what can you do to really empower your people to understand what makes your business tick and be able to speak about what you stand for.
There needs to be a fundamental change in how we communicate. Talk to your people like the adults they are. That means being authentic and transparent about what the risks and opportunities are for your business and their role in it.
I fundamentally believe that an open culture, based on adult to adult comms, is the best way for businesses to prove they are a force for good in society (obviously if they believe it too!). But, it does mean some pretty fundamental and bold changes to accelerate this.
Here are some examples of what a shift to adult to adult comms can look like:
Is your business ready to take that step? What do you think is holding business back? Can you imagine working somewhere that speaks to you like an adult, do you work for one already?
If you are interested in finding out more - email me Natasha@spinningred.com