Manchester-based technology business Culture Shift has secured £1.5m investment in a funding round led by Praetura Ventures and Blackfinch Ventures.
Founded in 2018, Culture Shift has created a platform for people to confidentially and safely report workplace harassment.
Over the last few years, debates over work locations and office culture have consistently made headlines, both regionally and on a global scale. Adapting to new working conditions, along with increased awareness of harassment and other issues, has pushed employees and employers to have an open conversation about the future of work.
A growing body of research paints a worrying picture of the modern-day workplace. Research from Breathe HR in 2021 suggested almost a third of people in the UK quit their jobs due to toxic workplace culture. The report states that this churn costs the UK economy £15.7bn per year.
As the workforce ‘returns’, there could be further complications. According to Culture Shift’s own research, 37% of employees said they feel more likely to experience something they would describe as bullying or harassment while in the workplace. In a new hybrid world, this raises questions of how managers are going to attract employees back to offices.
In terms of attracting new talent, culture is increasingly prioritised by those applying for new jobs. In 2019, Glassdoor published research suggesting 57% of UK workers would consider workplace culture before salary.
Many companies have fallen foul of this new debate, but Culture Shift sees this as an opportunity to reset the status quo. Its team suggests employers are now faced with a ‘critical chance’ to show they’re taking a proactive approach towards overcoming these issues.
The new funding will allow Culture Shift to make a significant number of new hires in Manchester, and expand into new markets across the UK, helping it support more UK organisations in proactively improving culture.
This latest investment follows a funding round in March 2020 which saw Culture Shift secure £1.35m investment from Praetura Ventures and GC Angels. Since then, the business has significantly grown its client base and operations.
Culture Shift’s proprietary online reporting platform – which removes the barriers to reporting issues of harassment or bullying, enabling organisations to take a proactive and preventative approach to protecting their people and their culture – is now employed by more than 70 of the UK’s top universities, while the business is working with a number of other organisations.
The software provides individuals a safe environment to report an event and then offers direction to appropriate emotional or practical support. The system also provides the organisation with data to manage and address any particular issues or a growing pattern of misconduct that may have been occurring, as well as a case management tool to effectively manage communication with the involved parties.
Thus far, the response to this technology has been overwhelmingly positive. Both students and staff have praised the system’s contribution towards solving some of their challenges around dealing with negative interactions.
Gemma McCall, CEO and co-founder of Culture Shift said: “We’re extremely proud that over one million people in the UK now have access to our reporting platform. This investment and the continued support from Praetura and Blackfinch will help us now continue our mission to help organisations better manage their own workplace culture with the right tools.”
David Foreman, MD at Praetura Ventures said: “The work Culture Shift is doing is so important. Everyone wants to work in a place where they feel safe. Gemma and her team work tirelessly to make this a reality for so many people. We’re so pleased to be supporting them on their journey and excited to see them continue to improve the lives of workers in a variety of industries.”
Dr Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch said: “We were hugely impressed by the drive and ambition of the Culture Shift team, who all believe so strongly in the company’s mission to reduce harassment and bullying in the workplace. It is exciting to be backing such a forward-thinking vision, and one that aligns so well with our own Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) values.”