Getting Britain ‘Fit’ for Brexit



By Adrian Harvey


So my wife got one of these FitBits for Christmas and the idea is that they help you get fit. From what I can see they do this by engaging the wearer in such a way that getting fit and maintaining fitness becomes a front-of mind outcome. I mean you can’t really get away from the thing unless you make the conscious effort to take it off or ignore it – both of which defeat the purpose of buying it in the first place!

The key to success with this FitBit is the data that the tool provides and the fact that the user can map their progress and see the results. It also helps, I suppose, that they are currently cool and trendy.

It got me thinking about BREXIT.  How come?  Well, a bit like millions of FitBit users the UK needs to get fit for our rapidly approaching post-EU status if we are going to capitalise on this fantastic opportunity that the BREXIT vote presents.

An October 2016 article in the Guardian drew my attention to the fact that UK worker productivity was the worst of the G7 countries; in fact, the 2014 data had the UK 18 points behind the average of the other 6 nations! If we are going to really thrive post BREXIT, then the UK needs to up its game and sort our productivity challenge out. In short, the UK needs to get fit for BREXIT.

Unfortunately there isn’t a FitBit for the UK as a whole and we will inevitably rely on business leaders to improve individual employee productivity if we are to hope to compete and win.  Frankly it shouldn’t be anything we should shun. The concept of improved productivity doesn’t mean people working longer hours but potentially could mean the very opposite. It essentially translates to employees achieving more in the time they are at work.

Some would have us believe that the average Brit is a lazy arsed shirker and draw parallels with the 1970s when the only thing Great Britain was good at was striking and making the worst cars in the world! I for one don’t subscribe to that picture of the modern UK.

I have been fortunate perhaps in that I have worked in Continental Europe and travelled extensively around the world so perhaps what I might draw your attention to is the extent to which UK firms, big and small, genuinely invest in the development of their workforce.  Not because a regulator demands it of them, but because they see economic merit in doing so.

We appear to be world-class, even  in the adoption and development of technology, but it would appear ‘new and shiny’ is much more exciting to UK PLCs than developing the competency and capability of the workforce.  According to Bersin the average time UK firms invest in training their employees is 16 hours a YEAR.  If UK PLC were a football team then, with that level of training, it would be languishing at the bottom of the worst Sunday League!

Whilst there isn’t a corporate FitBit, there is Clever Nelly and, just like Mrs Harvey’s FitBit, Nelly brings employee learning and development to life. Keeping it constant and at the forefront of the employers’ and much more importantly, the employees’ mind.  This enables employers to continue their passion for technology whilst also ensuring the on-going and continual learning of their workforce.


So if you want your business to be fit for BREXIT start now and hire a purple elephant to your team.