Oh no, are we really talking politics?

Let me make it clear that if you’re looking for a debate on Brexit or global politics, you won’t find it here. There’s enough in the media reporting on politicians feeding our uncertainty, irrespective of whether it’s about Trump, Corbyn, May or Jong-un.

I want to sew a seed to all those in leadership roles or those who directly manage people, irrespective of whether you’re currently hiring or managing and retaining an existing team.

“A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product” -Richard Branson.

Brexit’s uncertainty and the realities of America’s government shut down at the end of 2018 planted a seed of doubt in business and stock market fluctuations. Politics may (or may not) have a significant impact on your own future employment status. But I want to focus specifically on individuals. Current politics have opened up the potential of huge job security implications for many. Whether you’ve not been paid for weeks or if you’re unsure of whether in a few months’ time you’ll be permitted to work in the country you’ve worked in for years.

People are anxious.

Media is feeding fears and employers need to recognise it’s not just about ‘business’, it’s about people.

Existing staff

Employees in digital have shared with me details of workplace debates on what may or may not happen. Will there be job losses? Will existing staff need to apply for visas? And if not, will they be deported? These are intelligent, professional employees who currently hold legal contracts of employment and permit to work in the UK who are feeling unsettled and nervous about their futures.

Nobody can 100% predict what will happen.

Not knowing causes disruptions in the workplace. A decrease in productivity as well as fuelling less flattering perceptions of employers. Ignoring concerns can be detrimental and debating what may or may not happen is exhausting. Individuals and employers have little ability to directly influence the outcome other than being personally prepared.

Map of Europe

Your employees could be debating whether it’s just easier to return to their homelands, others might be considering whether becoming a Digital Nomad could work for them. Or, will your company support a non-national to remain in situ?

Pre-empting politics isn’t really possible but quashing the rumour mill in your office is.

Showing empathy, reassurance and support to your staff is well within your grips. It can alleviate the need for company gossip and the potential of incorrect assumptions. Taking the time to address the big picture and using it to ask and hear what the concerns are, may provide your workforce with the sense of being listened to, cared about and help towards future-proofing the business.

New staff

One outcome which, if and when Brexit actually happens, is that the existing talent pool of digital marketers from abroad will be restricted. Without sponsorship or a permit to work the country, European Digital Marketers could be excluded from our UK based careers unless a company is prepared to sponsor them. As the border barriers go up, so will the cost of recruiting. The admin and visa sponsorships all cost time and money – let alone whether a company is even prepared to go through the process.

With the diminishing pool of potential candidates and increasing costs of hiring, employers need to recognise the importance of curtailing the employee churn. The digital marketing industry has the highest professional staff turnover I’ve ever experienced. Retaining staff must be at the forefront of talent management. The costs in administration and sponsoring the overseas talent pools, mean employers will face significant competition in hiring for the UK’s growing marketing industry.

The fast pace and growing demands on digital talent resources has developed a rapid movement in jobs culture. It’s rare to see someone spend 5+ years at one company. This needs to change. Better staff retention, through training, people management education, conference attendance, support, positive inclusive cultures, promotion from within and real benefits and incentives to reward staff. Embracing flexible or remote working and many other modern practices could be positive to your business in the coming months.

Other than the usual office dogs or beer o’clock Fridays, what does your company offer? Have you seen recent additions to the benefits package or company perks offered which go towards improving talent retention or staff welfare? How is your company preparing for a candidate-driven digital marketing jobs market? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’re looking for some advice or support in hiring new digital talent, drop me an email on natasha@clockworkTalent.com, call 02037514108 or visit our website. I’d be happy to find out about your concerns and help where I can.