UK business face high levels of workforce disruption post-Brexit

New research reveals 41 per cent of organisations are losing their top talent during uncertain times as a reason for being unable to deliver business transformation plans successfully. It also suggests that this may have nothing to do with Brexit.

Almost all UK businesses have recently or are due to undergo significant workforce changes, such as restructures, M&A, office relocation or leadership change, according to new research.

Global people management firm, Lee Hecht Harrison | Penna surveyed over a thousand growing businesses in the UK and identified that more change is on the way, with no outlook for slowing down: 85 per cent of business owners expect the pace of change in the workforce to continue or even increase in the future.

When it comes to handling these fast paced changes, over a quarter of respondents said they feel senior management is currently lacking the skills and experience to successfully manage the transitions. A concurrent finding revealed that less than half of organisations are adequately preparing leaders and managers to deal with change, and less than two in five (38%) assess their talent requirements ahead of time.

According to LHH Penna, this lack of development can make employees disengage from what the business aims to achieve. 41 per cent of organisations are losing their top talent during uncertain times as a reason for being unable to deliver business transformation plans successfully.

Although Britain’s economic future remains uncertain since the EU Referendum, the research showed Brexit is not the main driving force for workforce change.

A third of workers cited technology as the biggest driver of change versus a quarter for Brexit. Nick Goldberg, LHH Penna UK and Ireland CEO, change is good.

“While many may fear workforce change and the impact it has, this shouldn’t be the case. By embracing change, businesses stand to better serve their customers and transformation plans are ultimately designed to have a positive effect on the organisation’s financial performance. Yet our research has shown that inadequate leadership and talent planning means many businesses are not able to realise these benefits,” he said.

Organisations need to acknowledge this and then take the vital steps to future-proof themselves, Goldberg added. This should begin by developing change management capability in leaders and senior managers but at the same time facilitating a more effective relationship between the two groups, so they are “singing from the same hymn sheet.”

According to Mel Barclay, LHH Penna’s head of career transition, here are five things employees can take control of during changing times:

  • Actively manage your career at all times – not just when you need to. It’s essential to keep on top of this and not let it fall by the wayside. Keep one eye on the market, company activity and emerging trends to ensure you are always up to date
  • Spend some time regularly developing your network and keeping in touch.  Follow other people’s careers, learn from their journeys and introduce yourself to new contacts. Being seen to be proactive with your career will get you noticed
  • Tap into networking groups or form your own.  Motivation and support during a time of change is the key to not losing focus so meet with others who are experiencing the same changes to swap tips, contacts and ideas
  • Have a clear and definite career vision. If you have a career goal, use a time of change to assess how realistic this is and what your ‘plan b’ may be. If you don’t have a vision, try thinking about what you want from your career and how you might achieve this
  • Always ensure that your ‘marketing toolkit’ is up to date. Keep your CV current and regularly review your LinkedIn profile to reflect your experience.  You never know when you may need these

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

Related Topics