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What Brexit means for IC pros

As the Brexit dust slowly begins to settle here in the UK, after what has clearly been a surprise to most and a shock to many, the role of the internal communicator is arguably more important than ever.

Says who? Well today Gatehouse Group is publishing a special edition of its State of the Sector survey looking at Brexit, its impact on the workplace and what it means for comms pros.

They’ve shared it with me so I can let All Things IC blog readers have a preview of what’s coming out today.

quoteThe agency wanted to know: how internal communicators prepared ahead of the referendum, what the likely impact of Brexit will be on organisations and what the ‘Post-Brexit’ future holds for internal communication teams.

How did the survey work?
Gatehouse Group conducted the survey in early July 2016, immediately after the result of the Brexit referendum was announced.

It attracted nearly 250 respondents, with 82% based in the United Kingdom and a further 10% in mainland Europe. Over a third (37%) of organisations had a workforce of more than 10,000.

Director Lee Smith @Gatehousegroup says: “We were delighted to see a broad range of organisations taking part with 20 industries represented. The most sizeable representation came from five sectors:

  • Financial Services (15%)
  • Professional Services (11%)
  • Charities and Voluntary Work (7%)
  • Government and Public Administration (7%)
  • Transport and Logistics (7%).

“It was no real surprise that the word of the day following the referendum was “uncertainty”, with two-thirds of respondents saying their leaders are unsure about the impact Brexit will have.

Lee adds: “More worrying though is the number of European employees based in the UK who are now having concerns about their future – with over 60% of respondents highlighting this as an issue.

Brexit “However, there was more confidence around business strategy, with only 17% thinking their business strategy will become irrelevant post-Brexit, and a third declaring there is no risk of this happening at all.”

Top priority
When asked what their top communication priority will be following the vote, almost half highlighted the importance of timely and clear internal communication, with a third (34%) wishing to tackle uncertainty through reassuring internal audiences that it will be business as usual for their organisation.

Lee says: “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.

“The future is not bleak however: relatively few believe the internal communication function will be significantly impacted by Brexit and a third say it will give communicators a chance to influence the direction of the business going forward. This points towards internal communication being of at least as much importance as it is now in years to come, if not more.

“With this in mind, we encourage any internal communicator, no matter their views on Brexit, to turn this ground-breaking political event into an opportunity and to establish themselves as key players in their organisation’s growth and development.”

You can see an overview of the results below and on Gatehouse Group’s Knowledge Bank on their website.

What do you make of them? You’re welcome to comment bellow or Tweet me @AllthingsIC





Further reading

Listen to the icology podcast I recorded with Chuck Gose on the day of the Brexit result.

Learn more about internal communication

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See the Masterclasses website for more information and to save your space.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC website on 18 August 2016.


  1. Judith Jones says:

    This is a great Brexit piece. Thank you! I think it’s helpful for any IC pro–even if you’re not focused on Brexit right now. I’m wondering how other European countries will evolve their thinking about the EU and particularly about the Euro. So the impact from this decision will be felt over time.

  2. Thank you Judith, interesting times ahead!

  3. Geoff Talbot says:

    Great piece Rachel!

    I imagine that “uncertainty” makes internal communication all the more valuable and critical. In some ways it is an opportunity for organizations to build trust.


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