Tag Archives: brexit

IC budgets in a post-Brexit world

Whatever your views on Brexit, nobody can deny the uncertainty that surrounds it. And if there’s one thing finance directors hate, it’s uncertainty.

It feels inevitable that leaner times lie ahead – at least in the short term until the metaphorical mist surrounding Brexit clears.

But what does this mean for internal communication professionals? Will we be expected to deliver the same – or more – with less? If so, how? Or could there be ways to preserve budget allocations going forward?

Headlines’ CEO Peter Doherty shares his thoughts on these and other questions.

Q) Should IC professionals be anticipating smaller budgets post-Brexit?

A) “Most people I talk to in business agree that the big issue is not Brexit but productivity. The current uncertainty around Brexit isn’t helpful and people are having to plan budgets around it, but decision-makers see it as a short-term blip and are confident there will be future stability.

“Despite a recent small upturn, productivity remains the big underlying challenge and is an enduring priority with or without Brexit. Failure to improve productivity is a major reason why the UK’s growth has slowed and why some businesses are tightening their belts. This will put internal communication budgets under pressure, but there is no harm in having to justify spending by demonstrating the return it generates.”

Q) Is it possible for IC professionals to do the same (or more) with less?

A) “It’s always possible to do the same or more for less – and in most cases that does not mean by working harder. Economic growth and improving prosperity only occur when you do more for less – and IC is not exempt from doing its bit.

“Improving productivity involves working smarter, being better organised, cutting out the things that get in the way, using better tools, technology and ideas, prioritising the things that you can demonstrate make the right kind of difference, and getting rid of the things that don’t.”

Q) What advice would you give to IC practitioners who are likely to be faced with difficult budget decisions?

A) “If you can justify what you do as delivering the right kind of results, you have a very good case to avoid budget reductions. If you can’t, you don’t.

“IC departments should be playing a key role in helping businesses to improve productivity, and at the same time they should be improving their own productivity. So when funds are hard to come by, more than ever they need to demonstrate they are making a measurable difference in helping the business to perform better, and therefore delivering a return on investment.

“I’d be making the case that my budget was well spent and delivers a return. I would be scrutinising every aspect of my spending and looking for evidence that it is making the right sort of difference and ultimately contributing to the bottom line.

“With my team, I would revisit the core purpose of internal communication – and benchmark our activities and spending against these criteria.

“I’d also look at how effectively we’re working and how we can eliminate or mitigate the things that waste time, money or effort. “

Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’: How employers are reacting

When Brexit was announced, internal comms teams had to be on their feet and make sure they communicated with worried employees.

But now, on the other side of the pond, the US is dealing with a much more controversial issue – Trump’s immigration halt.

Banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, companies have had to not only comfort scared – or reassure angry – employees, but make a stand and be an employer worth working for.

While companies usually tend to hide from the turbulent world of politics, not wanting to side with or anger employees and customers, Trump’s immigration ban has forced them to speak out. A huge number of companies have taken a stance, from Facebook and Google to Airbnb and Etsy – and they’re determined to make a difference.


“Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity.

“Regardless of whether or how you worship, where you come from or who you love, everyone’s individual experience is what makes us stronger as a whole.

“Those values are being threatened. This is a policy we don’t support.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every member of our family: our colleagues, our athletes and their loved ones.”

These are extracts from a rare political email to employees from Nike CEO Mark Parker. He then drew upon those impacted, including sponsored British athlete Mo Farah, who was originally born in Somalia and now lives in Ethiopia, who shared a statement about his concerns and how it personally affects him.

Nike’s values focus on fair play and an even playing field. While there’s no statement of action in this email, it provides its people and athletes with reassurance that Nike won’t be sacrificing its morals to please the President.



Jeff Bezos and Trump have famously never seen eye-to-eye.

Back before he won Presidency, Trump tweeted: “[Bezos] wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems.”

Despite extending the olive branch when Trump emerged victorious last year, it seems Bezos can’t let this one slide.

Following the announcement of the travel ban, Bezos first told employees in an internal email: “From the very beginning, Amazon has been committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity—and we always will be. As we’ve grown the company, we’ve worked hard to attract talented people from all over the world, and we believe this is one of the things that makes Amazon great—a diverse workforce helps us build better products for customers.”

And a few days later, Bezos pledged the full legal resources of his company to fight the travel ban – with Amazon being the largest online retailer in the world, this is no small order.

He said in an email: “We reached out to congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to explore legislative options. Our legal team has prepared a declaration of support for the Washington State Attorney General who will be filing suit against the order. We are working other legal options as well.”

Amazon operates in more than 30 countries and has a huge workforce. By using his power to make a stand, Bezos will gain the trust of his employees and has set the tone for how other major organisations should stand up for their employees.


New York City taxi drivers went on strike to show their solidarity to those affected by the travel ban, refusing to pick up passengers from JFK airport.

However, Uber became subject to online backlash when it decided to continue operating and turned off surge pricing (where rates are automatically raised due to demand) – which the public saw as Uber as taking the opportunity to make a tidy profit.

#DeleteUber trended on Twitter and hundreds deleted the app.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick – one of Trump’s chosen economic advisors – is keen to work alongside Trump and, in a meeting, told employees: “We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets.”

While he considers pollution and job opportunities, Kalanick’s statement lacks a nod towards human rights and a focus on looking after his drivers.

In an attempt to put his company back in the public’s good books, Kalanick tweeted he was against the ban and had set up a $3million legal defence fund for those affected.


5 principles for internal communications during Brexit

With Brexit creating shock-waves throughout businesses and organisations, internal communications professionals need to step up to support their organisations through this period of uncertainty.

Emotions are running high following the UK’s EU referendum result with rumour mills going into overdrive. How organisations understand and respond to employee concerns and questions during turbulent times is more important than ever.

Continue reading 5 principles for internal communications during Brexit