This article is part of our Brexit Survival Guide: Practical Tips for Hospitality Businesses series, and is written by Phil Chambers Co-founder and Chief Executive at Peakon.

You don’t need me to further explain why Brexit has the potential to harm the hospitality industry – this is a survival guide after all – so I’ll get to the point quickly.

With fewer EU and overseas workers likely to choose the UK as their new home, the recruitment pool for the industry is set to dry up. So how do you prepare yourself to fight against this? My answer is to start thinking seriously about employee engagement.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, employee engagement is more than just job satisfaction. Engaged employees are invested in their work and in their company, and they go the extra mile of their own volition. There’s no shortage of studies exalting the benefits: the likes of Gallup, Deloitte and Bain & Co. have shown that highly engaged teams are 21% more productive, exhibit 41% lower absenteeism and deliver 2.5 times greater customer satisfaction. Importantly, Gallup also found that engaged businesses show much lower attrition rates. High-turnover organizations report 25% lower turnover, and low-turnover organizations report 65% fewer departures.

We founded Peakon because we truly believe that people are a business’ most valuable asset, and that engagement is key to driving business success.

So in this short time that I have, I want to offer you a quick piece of advice that I feel is fundamental to building an engaged workforce and successfully overcoming the uncertainties that Brexit has introduced: listen to your employees continuously.

Gone are the days of the annual employee survey. After a laborious and time-consuming process, you’re left with one data point on which to base your understanding of your business and your culture. Things can change very quickly, and if you’re not in a frequent conversation with the people on your frontline, issues can often spiral out of control before you’re even aware they exist.

We, as humans and as employees, aren’t an enigma – we want to feel valued by our employer and to believe that the work we do is important. When we feel that our opinions are listened to and that we’re involved in the business we work for, we become more engaged, we exhibit the impressive behaviours that this promotes – such as loyalty – and we stick around in uncertain times, such as Brexit.

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