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Anti Bullying guidance for small businesses

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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.

The Nautilus Project – Gibraltar Sustainable Awards

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The highly coveted #GibraltarSustainableAwards were held on Wednesday 8th July 2020 at the University of Gibraltar for the second year running and in collaboration with the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses
Nine of the many entries submitted were shortlisted, each carefully chosen for their outstanding green credentials. The diverse representation was a true testament to how the #Gibraltarian 🇬🇮 community is engaging with our environment.

Gibbeau won the Award For Innovation
Eroski Center Gibraltar was recognised as The Green Business Leaders
Europa FC was presented with The Sustainability Team Of The Year award
Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park was praised for their Environmental Stewardship
Playtech took The Daring To Be Greener Award
Rotary Club of Gibraltar achieved The Green Beacon Award
OTWO collected The Sustainability Influencers Award
S.M. Seruya received The Sustainability Vision Award
Hassans scooped up the major prize of the night and collected The Gibraltar Sustainable Business Award 2020

Our thanks to all the participants and our congratulations to all these worthy winners!
Plans for the 3rd Gibraltar Sustainable Awards are already underway.

SDGG – Shop Window competition

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The Self Determination for Gibraltar Group (SDGG) is reminding the general public of the Shop Window competition as part of the National Celebrations for 2020.

Closing date is Friday 21st August.

GFSB & Chamber welcome duty measures

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welcome the new Beat economic assistance package for quarter 3 announced by Government in Parliament last week as well as the changes to the import duty structure announced on 30th June. These measures follow close consultation between the Chamber and the GFSB, Government and the Unions as part of the range of measures discussed at CELAC. They are aimed at protecting employment by giving businesses a fighting chance in the current economic crisis and fit with the current “Support Local” campaign organised and funded by the Chamber, the GFSB and the Government.

Whilst business costs in Gibraltar remain high, we urge all local traders to use the removal of import duty to make their products as price-competitive as possible and also to encourage Gibraltarians to support local businesses in these challenging times.

The Chamber and the GFSB are pleased to announce that they have also negotiated with the Government for free parking for local residents in the Mid-Town Car Park for up to three hours per day. This will enable people to go to town to eat, or have a coffee and do their shopping in a hassle free manner whilst also enabling them to take their purchases home with them more easily.

All these measures as well as the ones which the Government has introduced over the last four months have been aimed at generating economic activity locally so that employment levels can be maintained as much as possible with the consequent economic benefits for the community at large. Every individual and every business has had to make sacrifices in the last few months but where we can support each other we should do so for the good of the whole community.

We will keep our members updated accordingly.

GFSB & Chamber launch joint initiative with the Government to support local businesses

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The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce have teamed up with Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar to launch a marketing campaign to support local businesses after several months of lockdown.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging the community to spend locally and to highlight the connection between local spending and local consumption on our economy. This economic activity enables the Government to continue investing in the field of education, our healthcare system, policing and other essential services and local infrastructure that we all benefit from.

The campaign is not just about buying from local shops or dining in local restaurants, there are many goods and service companies which supply the local market. Every local company is going to need the help of the community to rebuild their business. The Chamber and the GFSB would like local consumers as well as local businesses to, where possible, consider using local suppliers first, before sourcing goods from elsewhere. This keeps money circulating in the local economy and the multiplier effects are beneficial for the community as a whole.

Vijay Daryanani, Minister for Business said, “At a time when many local businesses have been forced to close for several months due to the pandemic, it is critically important that we all continue to unite as a community and try and support as many local businesses as possible.” Echoing this sentiment Christian Hernandez, President of the Chamber added, “Supporting local business goes hand in hand with ensuring that we have an dynamic and healthy economy which creates jobs and generates revenues for the Government.” Similarly Julian Byrne, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “We have done well so far but there are still some big challenges ahead and we need to support each other to meet them successfully.”

The campaign will run for a period of 5 months on social media supplemented by offline media.

Thank you for your support.

Business Innovation Award WINNER

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Sponsored by Gibtelecom

The GFSB is delighted to announce that the WINNER of the GFSB Business Innovation Award 2020 is EBike Gibraltar who wins £2,000 of telecoms and IT products/services sponsored by Gibtelecom.

Congratulations to EBike Gibraltar and the two runners up Ezylet and Queue Wisely Gibraltar!

The GFSB would like to take this opportunity to thank all the applicants of this year’s GFSB Business Innovation Award sponsored by Gibtelecom. The judges have been very impressed with the quality of the entries this year as always. Innovation amongst Gibraltar’s entrepreneurial community is still certainly very much alive. 

Commenting on the winners, Eran Shay- GFSB Board Member and one of the judges, said:  “This year we have had to conduct the interviews online via video-conferencing. I was impressed to see how all contesters have managed to think outside the box and innovate their business model even further to be able to operate one way or another, despite the current Corona crisis. E-Bike Gibraltar not only expands the Gibraltar tourism offering but also provides a viable, affordable and most importantly – environmentally friendly means of transport, in line with Gibraltar’s Go Green strategy. With the absence of tourism due to COVID19, it was impressive to hear how E-Bikes Gibraltar were able to swiftly adapt their business model to the needs of the local community, be it through rental of E-bikes to those wishing to exercise or renting them out to perform deliveries around town, including a trial with the Royal Gibraltar Post Office. We wish them every success for the future”.

GFSB Business Innovation Award 2020 by Jackie Anderson

Innovation, the ultimate differentiator “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” (Steve Jobs) Innovation is key to business success, and it will be key to broaching the challenging conditions emerging in the post Covid-19 pandemic global economy. This year, the Gibraltar Federation of Small Business, through the sponsorship of Gibtelecom, once again sought out the best of business innovation in Gibraltar through its Business Innovation Awards which ran from November through to March, with the winner announced at the start of May, in the midst of an unprecedented lockdown.

The process of judging the entrants usually involves the evaluation of application forms from which a shortlist of businesses is selected, and these are invited to make a presentation to a panel of judges. This year, inevitably, the process was carried out entirely online, with the forms distributed to the panel via email and the presentations carried out via video-conferencing. In some ways, this presented particular challenges; regardless of the impressive functionality of video-conferencing apps, face-to-face interactions are still an important part of being able to both demonstrate and evaluate a product or service. However, as GFSB Board member and one of the judges, Eran Shay, explained, all the applicants adapted well to the new format. Fellow judges were Stephen Reyes, and also David Taylor from Gibtelecom.

Indeed, as Eran went on to elaborate, the lockdown period during which the judgement took place presented an interesting picture of how innovative businesses are so well-placed to adapt to a rapidly-changing environment, with businesses that were already innovative being able to demonstrate further innovations in order to meet the new challenges. For example, one of the runners up, Queue Wisely, altered its business model to be able to provide clients with information on waiting times at Morrison’s supermarket instead of at the border, where the flow of traffic had drastically reduced. “Necessity,” Eran reminds us, “is the mother of invention.” Where a business needs and wants to change, it will find a way to do so and the degree of adaptation to new circumstances from the entrants demonstrated impressive entrepreneurial spirit.

This was particularly the case with this year’s applicants and superbly exemplified by winners, EBike – Gibraltar, which provides a variety of ebikes for sale or for rental. “EBike-Gibraltar brought a new product to Gibraltar,” says Eran, “tailored the business very much for Gibraltar’s market. Initially a tourism product, the ebike business gained traction with the local community and the concept has been adapted to apply to a variety of client requirements: leisure, sport, business transportation, and home delivery services to name a few.”

EBike-Gibraltar adapted swiftly to the lockdown: the business lost the bulk of its market, which was tourism, almost overnight, but has grown customer interest among the general population. In addition to this, the business has the potential to have a much wider impact on Gibraltar through its contribution as an environmentally sound form of transport. The judges also felt that the business exhibited great potential for growth including international growth.

The Business Innovation Awards have now been offered by the GFSB for a number of years and never fail to highlight an impressive degree of creative thinking, innovation and business acumen that thrives in Gibraltar. The range of businesses entering the competition was broad as can be seen from the shortlist: a distillery, an electric bicycle retailer, a hairdressing salon, a business administration service, a rent guarantor scheme, and a time-saving app, all impressing the judges with the various ways they found to bring innovation to Gibraltar. “The judges look for innovation in different forms and apply a range of criteria to all the applicants,” Eran explained. The criteria used included items such as whether the business is based on a new concept or is bringing a new product or service to Gibraltar, and the use, development and application of technology, among other attributes. “The quality of the applicants, as has been the case in previous years, has been very good,” says Eran, “and that is testament to the good business environment we have in Gibraltar, as well as indicating that there is great scope for growing and developing Gibraltar’s businesses well beyond the pandemic. In Gibraltar, we have all the right ingredients to foster businesses, to incubate and accelerate them, to join global business innovators and be part of the cutting edge of the business world. Our flexibility, our supportive environment, our compact size makes Gibraltar an ideal place to test-drive new ideas.”

Eran, along with the panel of judges, offers congratulations to all the winner and the runners up, and thanks all the business that took part, saying, “I hope that entrepreneurship and innovation continues to flourish on the Rock,”

Business Innovation Awards 2020 finalists:


Winner of the Business Innovation Award, EBike-Gibraltar provides a practical solution to a genuine problem experienced daily in Gibraltar: the volume of vehicular traffic on our limited road network. EBike-Gibraltar provides its electric bikes for sale or for rent, which gives customers a chance to either enjoy them for a day for leisure or test them out before committing to purchase. In recent weeks, the customer base has expanded to other businesses, in particular local delivery businesses, and to government departments. Stuart Hedley, founder of the business, said of the Business Innovation Awards: “The award process has given us the opportunity to reflect on the direction of the business and how important innovation is to our success. “

Queue Wisely

Joint runner up, Queue Wisely, built its own bespoke algorithm to create an app that gathers user generated data to predict queue times. This was initially aimed at helping users save time queuing at the border. The developers have also added useful features like live flight APIs to avoid the traffic jams caused by runway closures and has taken advantage of swift and JavaScript technology to allow users to receive real-time notifications when queue times have reduced. With potential to grow into international markets, Queue Wisely founder emphasises the importance of putting the customer first: “Our priority is and always will be to ensure our users save time and spend it Wisely.”


Joint runner up, Ezylet, aimed to use the Awards to highlight the innovative product that they offer the Gibraltar market. An online letting agency aimed mainly at the UK market, Ezylet also provides a rent guarantor service to Gibraltar’s many students who rent property in the UK. Until Ezylet set up the service, there were no other companies offering this, putting them at the forefront of innovation by offering a seamless, fully online solution to landlords and tenants who require a guarantor. Company Director, Emma Foy, says: “These awards highlight the importance of innovation within a business.”

Mayfair on Main

Shortlisted for this year’s Award, Mayfair on Main’s owner, Sarah Carreras, says they wanted to “change the perception of hair dressing from being a mundane role to being an artistic and inspirational one and a route which many would want to pursue as a career.” The business has been innovative from the start, bringing to Gibraltar a luxury salon experience with first class customer service, session styling, hair art collections and Gibraltar’s first Hair Academy which is working with Government and offering internationally recognised City and Guilds qualifications in Gibraltar’s schools and will soon be offering technical courses through the college and privately. Sarah adds: “Persistence is the key to seeing innovations through in business and therefore ensuring success.”

Costa Admin Solutions

Costa Admin Solutions (CAS) is a solution-driven business with customer focus at its core. Aimed at providing bespoke admin support to other small businesses, Costa Admin Solutions provides a suite of services that are fundamental to the smooth functioning of all businesses, large or small, start-up or ongoing. Able to provide a broad range of activities to all business sectors such as payroll, social media marketing, general administration and bookkeeping among many, CAS has innovation as the foundation block of everything they do. “We know that for many businesses, great ideas often fail through lack of time, money, and people-power,” Lizette Costa, CAS founder, explains, “we share our expertise and our people – employees that we train and empower with the right skills – with local businesses to help them succeed. After all, we are all part of the same community: if they thrive, we all thrive.”

Spirit of the Rock

Based at George’s Lane in the heart of Gibraltar’s Old Town, Spirit of the Rock is Gibraltar’s only gin distillery. Not only does Spirit of the Rock distil an award winning craft gin, but they also engage fully with customers through their increasingly popular distillery tours and historically-linked gin tasting events. The business also has an eco-friendly approach and offers refunds on bottles and caps, recycles waste and avoids single-use plastics as much as possible. The gin is the only premium product made in Gibraltar and is sold to the public through shops, restaurants, hotels and online, which has resulted in the business steadily gaining an overseas market.

COVID-19 webpage

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Due to the amount of information being released each day the GFSB felt it was best to set up a dedicated COVID-19 webpage to keep all our members up to date. As was done with our BREXIT page information will be posted on regular intervals on the webpage ensuring all our members have one place to come to find out information on the pandemic.

CELAC Update

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As you may know over the weekend the GFSB were involved with two meetings of the Covid Emergency Liaison and Advisory Committee (CELAC) with the Chief Minister.

Subsequently, the Chief Minister made some announcements on measures to support employers and employees during the crisis.

The practical details of which are still in the process of being finalised. As soon as the details are finalised and made public we will communicate them to our membership.

We understand your frustrations and concerns and are working hard to get them resolved. Please bear with us as we try to represent you all as best we can.