On the 24th July 2019 Boris Johnson became Britain’s Prime Minister and the 13th Prime Minister of Elizabeth II’s reign. This article will explore not only Johnsons recruitment policy and Brexit stance but will also look at his controversial comments which would likely cause problems in a working environment.
Johnson has promised to recruit 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales to tackle rising knife crime rates. The police force has faced severe funding cuts in recent years, with forces in England and Wales losing more than 20,000 officers between September 2009 and September 2017.
Although the drive for new police officers is a welcome sight for many, it is problematic. Johnson’s ambitious targets are challenging logistically as it will be paramount to ensure each officer is trained to an adequate standard. It also calls into question how this increased recruitment drive will adhere to diversity policy and the recruitment of BAME individuals into the police force. We have to ask if these new officers will reflect the communities they serve.
It has been widely reported that Boris Johnson has taken a hard-line stance when it comes to Brexit. Johnson has been insistent that the UK will leave the EU whether there is a ‘deal’ in place or not. However, this unwavering stance does give organisations time to prepare for Britain’s exit from the EU and it is still not clear whether we will leave with or without a deal in place.
Johnson is looking more likely to push through a hard Brexit; contrary to the stance of his predecessor Theresa May. To prepare for a hard Brexit, it is important that employers are now looking at new and creative ways to secure and retain their workforce. An important way of doing this is offering greater flexibility in the workplace – something that is on the rise in the UK, but 73 percent of UK workers still face issues within their current work schedules.
The bottom line is that offering flexibility doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to implement but can help employers to meet the demands of their workforce and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Any offensive, sexist or even racist comment when made, not only creates a difficult and sensitive situation, it is also usually likely to contradict a company’s values and policy statements.
Boris Johnson is no stranger to voicing his controversial opinions and comments have created a noteworthy blemish on his professional record. In a 1998 Telegraph column, the former journalist and London Mayor referred to gay men as “tank-topped bum boys”. He later went on to make a crass remark about “dead bodies” in Libya and in 2018, said it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letterboxes”, in reference Muslim women wearing face-covering veils. These are obviously highly offensive and personally upsetting remarks directed towards specific members of our society.
Companies can learn from these offensive comments and make sure they are deemed unacceptable in the workplace. These businesses must make sure employees are aware of policies and procedures around diversity and inclusion. Companies need to hold firm on their principles regarding diversity and inclusion and address issues when they arise. Ensuring people feel supported in raising concerns and that they are aware of the channels available to do so without the fear of repercussions is essential. Equally, managers, professional leaders and company figureheads need to be accountable for calling out behaviour that can be considered inappropriate.
Boris Johnson is without doubt a very different character to his predecessor Theresa May. Although there are seemingly positive aspects of his appointment (such as the previously discussed recruitment of new police officers) there are also controversial issues which, in the workplace, would be considered a HR nightmare. In this political climate, employers must consider flexibile working to tackle Brexit. They should also learn from Johnson’s offensive comments and make sure the organisation has a stringent Equality and Diversity Policy as well as a Grievance and Disciplinary Policy to which all employees must always abide.