Brexit and staff motivation: What challenges are faced by managers in motivating EU staff during changing circumstances as a result of the Brexit vote? An exploratory case study of Margiotta Catering and Margiotta Ltd.
In June 2016 Britain decided to leave European Union (EU). One of the key arguments of the Leave campaign was that Brexit would allow more control over the flow of immigration, especially from the EU. The result of Brexit vote had an unsettling and upsetting impact on EU nationals and had generated high levels of concern and insecurity. Moreover, it contributed to them feel less welcomed and valued in the UK after the vote as well as developed a need to be assured by their employers that they want them to stay. Consequently, all these factors led to EU staff feeling demotivated, insecure and distressed which in turn brings new challenges for managers with regards to motivating their EU workforce. This exploratory research case study explored the challenges faced by managers in Margiotta Catering and Margiotta Limited in motivating their EU staff during changing circumstances as a result of the Brexit vote. A qualitative approach was implemented in the form of ten in-depth semi-structured interviews (four from British managers and six from EU employees from general assistant to supervisory positions) in order to gain an insight into work motivation during the uncertain times of Brexit from both managerial and employee perspectives. The findings of this study suggested that Brexit is negatively affecting the majority of the participants. The main EU employees’ motivators to stay in the UK despite the uncertain situation caused by Brexit are money, job security and interpersonal relations. Additionally, employees had some criticism regarding managers meeting their motivational needs. Despite feeling valued at work, half of the participants claimed that they lack in appreciation, support and understanding from their managers during the difficult times of Brexit.