Bullying in the workplace has to be taken seriously. Did you know that nearly one third of people have been bullied at work (TUC, 2015)? In the same year, the ACAS helpline alone took over 20,000 calls about workplace bullying.
Like me you are probably horrified to learn that the UK doesn’t have a legal definition of bullying written into law. I think it’s about time we should. If other countries can do it why not the UK?
Our vision is to bring clarity around workplace bullying in order to create more courageous and compassionate approaches to changing behaviour in workplaces.
The ambition is to establish a not for profit organisation to:
- Campaign for a definition of bullying to be written into UK law
- Create an independent body of specialist coaches, investigators and mediators
- Support people who have experienced bullying and are struggling to move on
This will be a long term project, and we're aiming to raise £30,000 through crowdfunding as part of our overall target of £67,000 for the first year. This funding will allow us to:
- employ a minimum of 2 part time members of staff to support campaigning and advocacy activities, locally and nationally
- buy in PR/Media expertise to help launch a media campaign to raise awareness about the impact of workplace bullying
- run awareness raising events, locally and nationally
- set up an Advisory Board of key influencers and reformers to help define bullying and influence changes in legislation
- research best practice in the UK and globally
- gain cross party support within Parliament
- achieve a step change in legislation and best practice when dealing with workplace bullying
Longer term, we will become self sustaining through the following activities:
- use experience and research to create training programmes for specialist coaches, mediators and investigators into workplace bullying
- establish an independent body of specialists accessible to both employers and employees
- use surplus funding to support people who have left jobs due to workplace bullying and are struggling to move on
This is a long term plan, and that’s why I need your help to take this forward. If a third of people at work have been bullied, then the chances are that if you're not one of them, you know somebody who has been affected. I'm one of them.
I experienced bullying at work and it took me several years to recover, both emotionally and financially. I lost my direction, I lost my job, I lost myself. That’s why I am determined to do something positive for those who find themselves in this situation and feel helpless in changing their circumstances.
This is me, Nicki Eyre, and I'm the Founder of Conduct Change. I experienced workplace bullying myself, and the devastating impact that it had on my health, my confidence, and my career. What I wasn't prepared for was how long that impact was going to last, and how long it would take to recover. That was several years ago, and I truly believe that the way in which bullying is currently dealt with in the workplace is detrimental to everyone involved, employees and employers - not to mention the ripple effect it has outside of work. I retrained as a coach, and established my business offering training and leadership coaching to help prevent workplace bullying, and coaching intervention when it does occur, with the aim of creating behavioural change rather than increasing conflict by using existing grievance and disciplinary procedures.
Even then, I felt like I wasn't doing enough, and through my work, I was meeting more and more people who had found themselves feeling bullied at work. People who had lost their jobs and were unable to face interviews, never mind risking working for someone else again. People who were selling their belongings to keep their heads above water. People selling their homes because they'd lost their income. People who had lost their self belief, confidence, self esteem, lost themselves. People who were still struggling with their mental health. People driven to the brink of suicide. People coping with the loss of family and friends who had taken their own lives. How can the system be working if this is the outcome?
That's when I started exploring other options, and speaking to people from around the world about their approaches, and their legislation (did you know that bullying doesn't have a legal definition in the UK, but harassment does?). At the same time, more and more stories of bullying were hitting the headlines. It was time for a change, time to start campaigning for a different way of dealing with workplace bullying. We need greater clarity over what constitutes bullying, and an independent route for both employers and employees to get support. That was the starting point for Conduct Change.
Please pledge your support to create change and make a difference for so many people.
Together, let’s change the law and stand up to bullying.