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Half unsure of Brexit impact

Employees are on the fence about their roles, job security and company prospects post-Brexit

Many employees are uncertain about what impact Brexit will have on them personally, according to the Employee Brexit Barometer compiled bi-monthly by Harris Interactive UK.

Nearly six in 10 respondents did not respond either positively or negatively when asked if Brexit will affect their role (57%) or job security (56%), and more than half (55%) did not respond either positively or negatively when asked if Brexit will affect the company they work for.

When it came to their industry as a whole, 51% were unsure whether Brexit is going to have a positive or negative effect.

John Backhouse, senior associate director of employee engagement insight at Harris Interactive UK, confirmed that a lot of employees are on the fence. “There’s a lot of uncertainty, with people unsure if Brexit is going to be positive or negative,” he said. “With the triggering of Article 50 imminent we might expect to see some changes going forward.”

Additionally, the research found that those who hold British passports were more likely to feel engaged at work in the current climate. Overall, 48% of respondents said they felt engaged, which consisted of 49% of UK passport holders and just 40% of those without one.

Backhouse told HR magazine this links back to looming Brexit uncertainty. "Employees in organisations experiencing major change, such as acquisitions or mergers, often go through a transition curve: from uncertainty and confusion through to acceptance, and everything in between,” he said. “Harris has found that the emotional state an employee is at during such change is closely linked to their level of motivation and engagement. No matter how good a job of managing change an organisation does, employees will still go through this change curve."

He said that employers can help by supporting employees. “The better the organisation handles the change the quicker the employee will move through the curve, with less impact on motivation and engagement,” he said. “If we look at Brexit in the same light as any other major change then we can expect the same pattern of impact on engagement and organisational performance. The longer the period of uncertainty lasts the greater the impact may be."

Prime minister Theresa May has said that triggering Article 50, the first step in leaving the EU, will happen on Wednesday.