The Psychology of change – and why it matters in Brexit

Elaine Stephens (002)

By Elaine Stephens

17 Apr 2019

Connor is hosting Evolve and Thrive: Brexit on 2nd May, a meeting of minds where we will hear from experts on how best to prepare your organisation for the changes Brexit is bringing. Elaine Stephens, Head of People Development at Connor, shares her views on why this is such a key topic.

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The psychology of change has been increasingly important for HR and business leaders alike, as organisations strive to evolve faster to gain competitive advantage. Understanding how change affects employees, and what leaders can do to bring people through change with minimal disruption to their work and their wellbeing, is essential to that process.

So what has this to do with Brexit? In a way it’s very simple: Brexit means change. It may mean relocations, or restructures, and redundancies. New governance and policies may be needed; new trading entities may need to be created; new processes and systems may have to be implemented. For your people, this may mean a time of uncertainty or opportunity. Will they need to retrain? Relocate? Or look for a new job? Being able to lead your people through change means addressing those doubts and those fears, and helping them to feel comfortable with the change.

But the same could be said of any change. The thing that makes Brexit unique among periods of change in recent history is the duration of uncertainty. Any period of change brings uncertainty for an organisation’s talent, but normally that uncertainty is in the context of moving towards a defined end state. When it comes to Brexit, that end state is nowhere to be seen – and we don’t even know what it will look like. Worse still, clarity is promised and then snatched away. We were told clarity would come in March when we left the EU; now there’s talk of Britain not properly leaving until 2020.

In this environment, efforts to lead people through change need to be energetic, effective, and sustained. Because that same uncertainty is making the conditions in which organisations operate less and less forgiving; the consequences of any missteps by your organisation will likely be magnified. Understanding the psychology of change will help you ensure your efforts to lead your organisation through change are as successful as possible, and that’s why I’m excited to be talking at Evolve and Thrive: Brexit in May. I hope to see you there.

Evolve and Thrive: Brexit is free to attend for HR and Business Leaders; simply visit our website to register.

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