workplace bullying

Tech sector needs to take problematic behaviour in the workplace more seriously

workplace bullying

One-quarter of the UK’s tech workforce have experienced unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, according to a new report.

The report from Culture Shift also found that 39 per cent feel anxious about seeing somebody they have a negative relationship with when they go back to the office.

The tech-for-good developer has released the insights in line with this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, which falls between the 16th-20th November, to encourage companies across the UK to take a preventative approach to tackling problematic behaviour in the workplace.

The same report also revealed that while 88 per cent of employees across the UK’s tech sector say knowing their employer takes bullying and harassment complaints seriously is an important factor to their overall happiness at work, 15 per cent have witnessed unacceptable behaviour in their workplace. Furthermore, 43 per cent feel more likely to experience something they would describe as bullying or harassment in the workplace, compared to 30 per cent who feel more likely to bear the brunt of such behaviour while working from home.

Speaking about the report, Gemma McCall, CEO, Culture Shift, said, "It’s clear that bullying and harassment is prevalent in many workplaces and employers need to do more to tackle the problem."

"Many employees are calling for their employers to put a platform in place in which individuals can provide anonymous feedback or report any instances of bullying and harassment, and this kind of insight must be acted on by employers if they want to attract and retain talent."

“If incidents of problematic behaviour are left unchecked in a workplace, it can lead to significant cultural issues that will get worse over time."

"It can lead to people feeling unhappy which in turn can create high rates of absence or presenteeism, low productivity and high turnover of staff.”

“By providing clear and safe reporting pathways, organisations can encourage a speak up culture."

"Employers should not only signpost to these platforms, but actively encourage employees to use them, with those that do speak out against bullying encouraged and supported for doing so, rather than perpetuating any stigma."

“Taking a proactive and preventative approach to tackling negative and harmful behaviours, will in turn help protect company culture and employee wellbeing.”


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Shot of a group of young business professionals having a meeting. Diverse group of young designers smiling during a meeting at the office.

Half of UK’s tech sector calls for more to be done on fostering a diverse workforce

Shot of a group of young business professionals having a meeting. Diverse group of young designers smiling during a meeting at the office.

Half of the UK’s tech sector has said they feel their employer makes token gestures that feel surface level when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

According to a new report from UK-based tech-for-good developer, Culture Shift, 49 per cent also admitted they believe diversity seems like less of priority in the workplace currently.

Despite 79 per cent of employees across the industry confirming that working somewhere with a diverse workforce is an important factor for their happiness at work, 48 per cent think their employer could do more when it comes to diversity. The same report also uncovered that 21 per cent of respondents are calling for training to the workforce on diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion have long been key factors for ensuring a positive and happy work environment, however the events of recent months, such as the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, have resulted in these climbing up the agenda of many employers.

Speaking about the findings, Olive Strachan MBE, founder of Olive Strachan Resources Ltd, global business woman and diversity and inclusion specialist, said, “The insights on diversity and inclusion uncovered in Culture Shift’s report really do resonate with me, as they shine a light on the lack of true representation across the UK’s positions of power."

"Employees are calling for their employers to focus on recruiting people from more diverse backgrounds, while providing training to the workforce on diversity and inclusion, confirming action really does need to be taken."

“If organisations want to create a happy work environment then they should take heed, as most employees confirmed working somewhere with a diverse workforce was an important factor to their happiness at work.”

The research found that fostering a diverse workforce representative of reality is a key factor for creating a positive culture and a key component for most employees’ happiness at work. With many calling for more to be done when it comes to ensuring that not only do under-represented groups have a presence in businesses, but also a seat at the table and a voice, there are various factors organisations should be keeping front on mind whilst planning for the future.

Gemma McCall, CEO, Culture Shift, said, "To create an empowering culture for all employees, it’s absolutely essential for organisations to be diverse, inclusive and showcase true representation across all levels of the business."

"Not only do recruitment processes need to be inclusive, but promotion opportunities too, and employees from marginalised backgrounds need to be supported through their career, as well as other employees."

"We firmly believe this is an incredibly important conversation to have and the insights uncovered in our research solidify that we’re not alone in believing more action needs to be taken by those at the top."

"It’s a shift that won’t happen overnight, but there needs to be clear intent from employers to keep diversity and inclusion at the top of their agenda."


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stylish woman working from home, style tips, flexible working

51% of tech employees say working from home has improved their work-life balance

stylish woman working from home, style tips, flexible working

51 per cent of tech employees say working from home has improved their work-life balance, according to a new report from UK-based tech-for-good developer, Culture Shift.

The report found that the events of recent months have positively impacted the culture of Britain’s technology industry, with 39 per cent saying it has actively improved since they transitioned to working from home.

As half of the UK’s workforce transitioned to remote working earlier this year, organisations were thrust into the spotlight with many standing by to see if they were able to make the transition seamlessly without detrimental impact on their culture. The same report also uncovered that 34 per cent of employees in tech said working from home has had a positive effect on their mental health, while 30 per cent said sentiment towards their job has been positively impacted and 33 per cent confirmed their relationship with their boss/employer has improved since they started working from home.

However, while many have welcomed the remote setup, 50 per cent of employees in tech said they have been feeling isolated while working from home.

The report also found that Imposter syndrome and self-doubt are rife, with 26 per cent of employees in tech feeling these more so working from home than they did previously

Progression has been impacted for the worse, with 31 per cent of tech employees saying they’ve been negatively affected when it comes to promotion opportunities. 24 per cent of employees in tech also said working from home has negatively affected their training and development.

Gemma McCall, CEO and co-founder of Culture Shift, said, "With many organisations across the country now thinking about how they can bring employees back to the office safely, we wanted to hone in on the general consensus on remote working these past few months."

"While there have been some minor issues, it’s generally been quite successful."

“Remote working has positively impacted employees’ wellbeing and is something employers should absolutely be considering as they plan for the future – especially now the success of this approach has been clearly proven."

“While there are of course some key factors organisations need to work on, like continued commitment to training and development, as well as progression, employers should be ensuring they have systems and tools in place to empower their teams to remain productive, creative and supported, even while they’re working from home.”

Speaking about the report, Olive Strachan MBE, founder of Olive Strachan Resources Ltd, global business woman and diversity and inclusion specialist adds, “There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in challenging times for businesses."

"With many teams working remotely, organisations have had to improve their communication, keeping employees informed of developments, while demonstrating empathy, and providing coaching plus support for their mental health and general wellbeing.”

“The research found that most employees have credited their organisations with having a positive culture in the current climate, with many benefitting from improvements to their productivity, overall wellbeing, creativity, work-life balance and relationships with key stakeholders, such as their employer.”

To see more insights uncovered by the research or to download the full ‘Maintaining workplace culture in a rapidly changing environment’ report, visit info.culture-shift.co.uk/maintaining-workplace-culture.


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Gemma McCall featured

Inspirational Woman: Gemma McCall | CEO & Co-Founder, Culture Shift

Gemma McCall

I’m CEO and co-founder of Culture Shift - a software development business that builds products to empower organisations to tackle harassment and bullying.

Our proprietary online reporting platform allows people to confidentially and safely report harassment of any form. We work with over 50 of the UK’s biggest universities and have a proven track record of activating change in organisations for the better and eliminating the stigma around reporting any form of harassment.

I set up Culture Shift with my co-founders Carl and Stuart in 2018, following a string of stories around bullying and harassment in high-profile business across the UK. Before that, my background was in the digital sector, having worked in digital agencies for most of my career but always on the marketing and brand side. So, setting up Culture Shift was a bit of a sidestep, and my first proper move into a software development business.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I did – and it wasn’t initially going to be in tech! I desperately wanted to be an actress from a very young age. I ended up going to theatre school and absolutely hating it which was devastating. I dropped out and moved to Manchester and ended up getting my first ‘proper’ job selling advertising at the Manchester Evening News in around 2005. It was there where I fell in love with Manchester and discovered the impact digital could have on journalism and the world as we know it! My digital agency career began shortly after that.

So, while the career I’ve ended up in now wasn’t my first choice from childhood, Culture Shift is my biggest driver and I’ve definitely found my purpose. I truly believe that everything that’s happened up until this moment (including the devastation of not making it onto the stage!) has happened in order to get me to where I am now.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I faced discrimination at work during both my pregnancies which is my number one motivation. The discrimination that pregnant women face is prolific and goes under the radar a lot more than you would think. So, Culture Shift is my way of taking my experience and turning it into something useful and positive. I want every single person facing harassment of any form - in education or in the workplace - to feel empowered to speak out without facing stigma.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date? 

We raised £1.35m in VC funding at the beginning of this year which was probably my biggest career highlight. On paper, the odds are so stacked against a woman founder when it comes to seeking investment – particularly being based outside of London, too. That’s not to say that I felt in any way discriminated against when I went into funding meetings, I didn’t, and I knew that the people I was pitching to knew that I was a good founder. For me, it was more of a case of finding the right investors who really believed in us and what we were doing. We really found that with Praetura Ventures and GC Angels and we’re so pleased to have them on board.

Securing our first few university clients was also a major highlight. We collaborated with The University of Manchester to create the first ever system, with Bristol and UCL coming on board as clients not long afterwards. Seeing that the demand for our product was there from such prestigious universities was really affirming.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Definitely the drive I have for the cause and empowering people to speak up about any form of harassment. I really think that when you set up a business you need to believe in it with every fibre of your being to give it the best chance of success – and I definitely have that with Culture Shift.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

To understand the wide range of roles and skills needed to make a tech business work; it’s not all about software development and coding which a lot of people automatically associate with a career in tech. To make a tech businesses work, you need so many different roles and skillsets.

It’s helpful to completely remove the word ‘tech’ and just look at what you enjoy, or are good at. For example, if you are interested in psychology and human interaction, you’d probably be really good at a career in UX, or if you enjoy history, you could make a great data analyst. Don’t assume that if you’re not a coder that there’s no room in the tech sector for you – that’s absolutely not the case.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There is still a level of unconscious bias happening in the sector, which means we gravitate to hiring more people that are like us. We have a lot of mums in the Culture Shift team, for example, because I’m a mum myself and want to support others – but I’m aware this is a form of unconscious bias!

Similarly, because tech teams are more commonly run by men, a lot of the time you end up with more men in the team. If businesses can understand how to identify this unconscious bias, they can start working on removing it.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

It’s incumbent on tech companies to be hiring as diversely as possible, which doesn’t just come down to gender. It’s about so much more than that and encompasses age, ethnicity, neuro and cognitive diversity. The more diverse a team, the better the products it creates will be, so it should absolutely be at the top of every tech business’ agenda.


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