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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Jobs And Employment arrow Unite The Union Tackles Workplace Bullying With Anonymous Surveys
Unite The Union Tackles Workplace Bullying With Anonymous Surveys PDF Print E-mail
Written by QuestBack   
12 Nov 2010
Feedback tool from QuestBack allows tailored support for affected workers without revealing their identities

QuestBack, Europe's largest Enterprise Feedback Management and online surveys company, today announced that Unite the Union is using its feedback tools in a campaign aiming to halt bullying in the workplace. 

The QuestBack service allows Unite researchers to survey organisation workforces and interact with respondents without jeopardising their anonymity, encouraging open and honest answers to difficult questions.

Unite is working with organisations across a variety of sectors to identify bullying and harassment issues and then provide tailored support and advice to those suffering individuals. The union also uses the gathered evidence to work with management teams to transform affected workplaces.

In one project, approximately 500 employees in the transport and manufacturing sectors were surveyed during the research using the QuestBack service. The union is now working with management teams from across the different workplaces surveyed to take practical steps to target and eliminate the problem.

Colin Potter, research officer at Unite, comments:

“Bullying is a severe offence that must be taken seriously by all employers large and small. HR departments and senior management have a responsibility to ensure adequate checks are in place to identify and support potential issues.”

Potter added:
“The QuestBack online service allows us to build a dialogue with anonymous survey correspondents, providing real employee evidence to go to management with authority and to support positive change. We can also offer personal support and advice to those employees who are facing bullying issues.”

The bullying project was coordinated in agreement with several other trade unions and in collaboration with a range of different workplaces. To ensure a high response rate, all the workplaces allowed their employees to respond to the survey during work hours.

Ivar Kroghrud, CEO of QuestBack, said:
“One of the real challenges in countering workplace bullying is supporting employees to open up and reveal what’s really happening in the office. We’ve found that employees are much more likely to be open and honest when responding to an anonymous online survey than they are in a difficult face-to-face meeting.”

Kroghrud added: “Employee feedback can also be used for evaluating HR and training processes, company morale, and in turn deliver improved employee relations. It’s vital that businesses look for feedback that is actionable in the first place, often related to a specific event or occurrence of a problem.”

Bullying stats
One in five employees have experienced some form of bullying or harassment in the past five years, according Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) research in 2006.

The CIPD survey also reported that the groups most likely to become victims of bullying and harassment are black and Asian employees, women and people with a disability.

University of Manchester research in 2007, showed that:
• 1 in 10 workers had been bullied in the last 6 months
• 1 in 4 workers had been bullied in the last 5 years
• 47% of workers had witnessed bullying at work

The TUC survey of safety representatives research published in 2006 showed that one in three safety representatives say bullying as a problem in their workplace with 15% viewing it as a major hazard of concern to workers. However within the public sector the figure rose to 18%.

Unite’s top tips for beating the bullies

Respect yourself

As soon as you encounter behaviour which is not acceptable to you, put an immediate end to it. If you allow anyone to make inappropriate comments on more than one occasion you set a dangerous precedent and it becomes more difficult to stop.

Confront the bully
The office bully thrives off the fact that you are too scared to confront them. Perhaps a small word in a public place may actually put an end to your workplace nightmare?

Keep a diary

As soon as you are on the receiving end of intimidating behaviour, make a diary to record all of the details - they could become evidence in the long run. You can also keep e-mails and letters, and note who else is present - they could act as a witness.

Don't miss out

Just because one person in the office is being unpleasant make sure it does not jeopardise your relationship with other colleagues by refusing to go out for lunch or after work drinks. Failing to do so will isolate you.

Speak to your manager or a senior colleague

It is rare for a bully to pick on just one person in the office. Arrange a meeting with your manager/ or another senior colleague if your manager is the problem, to see if the bully has a track record within the company - they may already be on their way out.

Get support
Being a member of a trade union is very important throughout this process. They can provide the support and expertise in this kind of situation. As well as having them onside to deal with the technical legal process, their holistic approach can point you in the right direction of getting all the support you need for what is often an emotionally draining process.

Don't let the bully drag down Make sure that you have things to look forward to outside work, like evening classes, going to the gym, seeing your friends etc, as your confidence will receive a much needed boost.

About QuestBack
For more information please visit

About Unite the Union

For more information please visit

London,UK - 4 November 2010

Last Updated ( 12 Nov 2010 )
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