We need strong leadership with clear policies!

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

‘What we need is strong leadership with clear policies!’ A familiar cry recently. Here it comes again, but this time I’m saying it not to the politicians, but to you!

These are now uncertain times for businesses. And for our politicians. What we have to do is make sure that the politicians keep business in focus. It’s essential that our business leaders step up to the plate to ensure that Westminster knows what Norfolk needs.There is enormous potential in Norfolk’s and if we are to realise it, and deliver a contribution to the national economy, we must have the right tools for the job. Strong business leadership will be needed to provide evidence of our needs and make a sound business case to a government in uncharted waters, with rapidly changing priorities.

It will also take strong business leadership to maintain momentum and restore some calm to a confused and worried workforce. Suddenly, they’ve been confronted with a vast range of issues, and their uncertainties do not make for productivity. This is the time to engage with your workforce, sharing with them the positives opportunities, involving them in determining those needs we will demand from government and fully explaining the company’s goals - and strategies to achieve them. If you don’t share your vision of the future, why should they believe they have one?

The demographic of our region’s workforce is cosmopolitan, and the recent seismic events have raised questions over people coming to the uk. Business leaders must seek clarity from the government and impart their own policy to their staff with equal transparency. 

In these days of post referendum heightened political awareness the issues of migration and immigration are sensitive to say the least. Some people have ‘strong’ views on the subject. 

The social media offer a wonderful opportunity to share information, but now more than ever considerable care is needed regarding their use. We live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion but problems arise when it comes to their expressing them.

This is a specific area which demands a well defined and fully implemented policy. An essential part of the leadership that businesses must now deploy is the delivery of training and knowledge about the use of social media and, just as importantly, a clear company policy on them. Certainly at the Chamber we’ve not only implemented our policy, but are here to advise you as well.

Put simply, if a member of your staff posts or tweets anything that’s racist or abusive it could be traced back to your business, and it could impact on your reputation. Staff need to know that.

By sharing information, involving the workforce and delivering clear policies Norfolk’s businesses will continue to drive forward and deliver a future, especially for our young people.

There will be much debate and campaigning over political leadership in the coming weeks. We need to focus on business leadership. It’s the key to all our futures.

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