Incentive and motivation takes a look at Britain and business following brexit

Undoubtedly, 2016 has been a year of political, economic and social change, leaving employers concerned about what the future will hold. Whether leaders are concerned about how the company will develop in the future or how members of staff will remain motivated and productive, Brexit is undoubtedly on everyone’s minds.

We spoke to Stephen Fortune, Principal consultant at the Oxford Group about how to embrace change, what we can learn from IKEA, and what the future may hold if we look forward.

“The common thought is to shy away from Brexit and what may lie ahead, but instead, I suggest the companies should embrace this change and make the most of the opportunities that are in front of them to foster a new, healthy approach to uncertainty. There are in fact a number of very successful businesses that thrive off crises. Ikea is a prime example of this and has been built on one crisis after another.

At first, fierce competition with other mail order firms resulted in the first showroom, then designer boycotts led to the company designing their own furniture and issues with transportation led to the flat pack furniture we see today. It would have been incredibly easy for Ikea to shy away from each of these issues but instead they embraced them and saw them with a positive light.

Innovate, innovate, innovate

Times of uncertainty create ideal conditions for innovation within the workplace. In these circumstances, it is important for leaders to make sure that members of staff are comfortable and motivated by reiterating that not having all the answers for how the future will look is alright.

We often describe how companies in crisis need to concentrate on VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). This is a way for leaders to understand their current environment and equip themselves with the rights tools to have productive conversations with employees about how to remain motivated and productive.

Looking to the future is key

During these uncertain times following Brexit, I believe that it is key for leaders to concentrate on the future. Concentrating on the present uncertainties will soon lead to naval gazing and will leave the business in a rut. Instead, I propose that leaders articulate the future in an inspiring way, to keep employees motivated and informed of your plans. Basing business objectives on how leaders want the company to look after the storm is key to helping members of staff understand the longer term consequences and help the business grow and develop with everyone involved.

If businesses are experiencing high levels of employee uncertainty following the Brexit result, one of the first things to work on is their own wellbeing and state of mind. Before concentrating on employees worries, it is vital for leaders to be in the correct state of mind, ensuring that their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing is in the right place. Unknowingly, this will spread onto the employees and they will begin to feel comfortable in themselves, knowing that the leaders are certain about the future.”


The Oxford Group is a people-focused business driven by a passion for helping organisations get the best from their people, unleash hidden talent and successfully manage their business through times of change. Since 2015 The Oxford Group has been part of The City & Guilds Group, a global leader in skills development, which enables people and organisations develop their skills for personal and economic growth. For more information, visit