Hot topic part two: Expressing EU referendum opinions
Will Moy and Toby Peyton-Jones, June 09, 2016
Some business leaders have communicated opinions on Brexit to employees. But is this the right thing to do?
Will Moy, director of Full Fact says:
"Every business is free to express its views about the EU referendum, and some staff may want to know what their employer thinks.
"But businesses should be mindful of keeping their employees’ trust. Organisations can help build trust by providing sources when they make a factual claim, either in internal communications or publicly. In our sceptical world it’s crucial to give reasons why people should believe what you’re telling them.
"Businesses should also recognise that – whether true or not – they may be seen as having an interest in one side of the debate. Neutral organisations such as Full Fact are a useful resource because they don’t take sides, in the EU or in any other debate."
Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director at Siemens, UK and assigned countries says:
"Siemens employs around 14,000 people in the UK at 13 manufacturing sites and many other facilities. This includes manufacturing and exporting superconducting magnets for MRI scanners, traffic control systems, gas turbines and much more.
"The EU referendum is a matter for individuals, but our business view is that EU membership is good for the economy. It means, for example, free access to the single market, while EU research funds and technical standards are also positively shaping the industries of the future.
"From a people perspective, 93% of our employees are UK citizens. But EU rules on free movement mean our UK engineers can easily fulfil assignments abroad. It also enables us to fill skills gaps from other EU countries, when we need to.
"Siemens would not stop doing business in the UK if we leave the EU, but it sees no upsides from Brexit. More importantly, it wants to grow UK business and this will be easier in the EU."