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Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses

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The GFSB is a non-profit organisation that exists to help small businesses in Gibraltar to start, grow and thrive. We represent the business community and pressure Government on our members behalf.

If you run or are starting a business in Gibraltar you should consider joining us.

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A key part of our service is offering our members excellent opportunities to network. With our regular speed networking events and our breakfast clubs, getting  your business known is easy.

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Starting and running a business can be challenging we are here to help you with practical advice and support to make sure that you have all the knowledge you need to give you the best chance of success.

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We are continually holding events for our members. From our informative and interactive breakfast clubs to our training sessions. GFSB Events are a great place to network and grow your business contacts.

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The GFSB Innovation Awards further promotes quality standards, business improvement, innovation and achievement for its members.

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We offer regular subsidised training on a large variety of topics.

Save 40-50% on regular costs of training in Gibraltar.

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We represent Gibraltar businesses on many Boards, we apply pressure on the Government to try to get the best deals we can and can help you solve a great deal of business issues.

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Anti Bullying guidance for small businesses

By | News

By Fiona Young

There has been a  lot of publicity this week highlighting issues surrounding Bullying, both in schools and in the workplace. For small businesses, the issue of bullying in the workplace is a double-edged sword. 

Positives for  small businesses are that they  tend to have much closer relationships between management level and employees which does lend itself to better communication, understanding and the ability for management to work side by side with staff and be tuned into the challenges their staff face, all of which is good for a bullying free workplace.

Negative factors include over familiarity of staff leading to a lack of respect for authority; allegations of bias between staff; complacency; or a growing sense of entitlement and demand from employees wanting pay rises, bonuses, time off and other benefits. These demands particularly in an economic downturn  can put added stress and pressure on small business owners. 

Often hands-on management can be construed, when taken out of context, as being draconian or too tough, and small business owners constantly walk the tightrope of managing their employees and the business effectively and productively while ensuring they comply with their legal obligations as a considerate employer. Tribunal claims can be catastrophic for small businesses, in terms of time, cost and reputation. They also damage workplace morale (workplace disputes in small businesses are rarely possible to keep confidential)  and can mentally and emotionally devastate a business owner who feels that they have done everything correctly. 

In addition, small businesses often have to deal with “institutional” or corporate bullying – facing competition and scare tactics from larger  mainstream competitors or having to deal with overzealous governmental or union  officials.

Suffice to say, the Anti-Bullying message is one that resonates for many reasons with small businesses and yet all too often they are painted with the same stereotypical brush as larger organisations and expected to meet the same identical standards of care with substantially less resources and economic capability, yet far more at stake if things go wrong.

Top tips for small businesses to avoid bullying from all angles are:

  1. Get a good employment lawyer from the outset. Use your employment lawyer as an advisor not a protector. Employment lawyers are often frustrated with the fact that a client comes to them when a matter is at its illogical conclusion and they have not had the opportunity to assist the employer with damage limitation or prevention. Good workplace policies  to pre-empt and govern staff procedures and employer responsibilities are essential. These must of course be readily available to staff.
  1. Make a values statement regarding professional conduct and respect in the workplace and ask everyone, no matter what their role is in the workplace to contribute to the values statement. Ask your employees how they would like to be spoken to and treated. It is guaranteed they will all ask to be spoken to respectfully and kindly. Then remind them that they are also required to do the same to their managers and colleagues. That policy should also extend to customer services behaviour as happy customers clients tend to result in happy and less stressed staff.
  1. If there is a union representation, or a government agency you need to work closely with don’t see them as the enemy but as your ally. Engage with them, understand what they require of you  and also  explain to them the realities and limitations of  workplace . Every business owner wants their business to be profitable and getting the best out of your staff and hearing their concerns, implementing those that are appropriate and explaining clearly and with reasons why matters cannot be implemented when appropriate, is a step towards increasing and improving productivity. 
  1. Do not think that the responsibility for preventing bullying in the workplace is not yours. As a business owner/manager you set the tone for your working environment and it is only in your power to make appropriate changes and implement procedures that provide a safe environment for your staff. Remember they can leave a business they don’t like, as the business owner you cannot and therefore you should run your business as a place where you enjoy working. By setting a positive example, encouraging your staff to follow that example, having clear behavioural and communication policies in place; rewarding positive behaviours and constantly reminding those employees in engaging in negative behaviours that those behaviours do not tie in with your business culture – you will begin to eliminate undertones of interstaff bullying and in so doing minimise the likelihood of claims against you as an employer.
  1. Finally, there is no quick fix for the David and Goliath corporate bullying scenario – it is a reality of the business world and an extra challenge small businesses face. However as a small business you have the advantage of being empowered to create the positive work environment admired by staff and clients alike, you have the flexibility and manoeuvrability to implement changes where needed and dialogue with your staff and clients directly to gain their input. By creating a friendly, enjoyable positive place to work you are more likely to attract high calibre employees who stay for longer and are committed to building your business in-line with your vision of profitability and growth. Therefore rather than trying to compete with the larger corporations or challenge any attempts they make to take business from you, use your size, flexibility and close customer and employee relationships as a tool to offer an alternative to the big corporate machine. As someone who is only just touching 5 foot in height I can definitely say that substance far outweighs size every time. 

To download a PDF of this please click here.

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We have been members of the GFSB for several years now and find it a valuable membership for our business. Getting to use the training room facilities and all that they provide there is a great help for us in our business. The admin team are always very friendly and helpful to us if we have any questions. We particularly like the regular breakfast meetings and the speed networking events which allow us to meet other members and learn valuable information.

Brenda CubyBC Training

We have found the GFSB to be a very useful resource for obtaining local business advice, as well as networking opportunities. They have been instrumental in helping us to shape our business.

Paul JenningsRock IT

The GFSB networking events are of tremendous value to our business development strategy, having opened doors and provided very interesting leads from local companies, who have in turn shown a strong demand for our services. They have helped us both grow and further promote our local business and services to a wider corporate audience.

Brendan GoltElitech

“We are a new local business still in our first year of trading. We joined the GFSB following a recommendation from another member and we are very pleased that we did. It offers great value for money, the staff are friendly and helpful and the events they have organised thus far have provided excellent networking opportunities as well as helping us to gain valuable insight into various local industries.”

Jake JulianCityGuide