Brexit's impact on internal communications

Earlier this year, I featured the Gatehouse Group on the ICology podcast with the release of their State of the Sector report. But in light of the turbulent times following the Brexit vote, they reached back out to internal communicators to find out what sort of impact Brexit has had, both before and after the vote.  They received responses from more than 20 different industries, with 82% of them having UK-based employees. 

From my perspective, the most troubling statistic for communicators is that only a third of organizations had prepared communications for all outcomes. Very smart for the third who were ready. Not so wise for those organizations who didn't prepare. Per Gatehouse's data, 59% prepared nothing, which led Gatehouse to believe this was a result of an overconfidence in the vote result or a general lack of poor planning and strategy. This is a great lesson for communicators abroad that could face communication challenges ahead of politics and government news. 

Overall, this State of the Sector: Brexit Special suggests internal communicators are clearly feeling the effects of uncertainty in the wake of the referendum. Demand for change communication expertise is expected to increase and internal communicators must be quick and decisive in their actions when details of the exit process and timings emerge. All of this only goes to underline the general sense of confusion.

Here are some of the interesting takeaways for organizations:

  • 63% believe their leaders are unsure about the impact
  • 63% say that their EU employees based in the UK are concerned about their future
  • 17% think that their organization's strategy map may no longer be relevant

And when it comes to internal communication

  • 59% increased the need for reactive communications
  • 43% increased demand for change communication expertise
  • 28% increased access to senior leaders

If you're interested in reading more, you can download the full report or check out the infographic they've prepared. You can also listen to the podcast I did with Rachel Miller from All Things IC the day after the vote was announced.