Agency Iceberg proudly became a Yes Queen business ambassador in 2018, joining the quest to end workplace bullying. We interviewed Founder of Yes Queen, Sarah Fritz, about her motivation to create an organisation dedicated to creating safe, inclusive and positive workplace cultures and policies.
What experiences led you to launching Yes Queen?
After graduating from Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University I worked in the advertising team for Marie Claire and InStyle, before moving on to other global publications. After almost a decade in the industry, the passion for my career started to wane when I could no longer stand to see a lack of human empathy, compassion and wellness at work.
These were some of the drivers that led me to open a creative agency St Dakota in 2017, co-founded with my husband Mike. We had both experienced and witnessed negative workplace behaviour, which is the root of the Yes Queen initiative.
Uninspired by the available resources, I saw an opportunity to reimagine what an anti-bullying initiative looked like to Millennials and Gen Zs. My background in Publishing and Advertising was really the impetus behind Yes Queen. Our team has combined our experiences and expertise to be the change we want to see.
What is the purpose of Yes Queen, and what do you aim to achieve through the platform?
Yes Queen is on a global mission to end workplace bullying and help cultivate cultures that are safe, positive and inclusive. We believe everyone has the right to an empowering work experience. Current statistics tell us one third of people are affected by workplace bullying – it’s time to address this. Not to mention, workplace wellness is one of the most desired attributes for Millennials and Gen Z.
Our website has information on bullying, culture, personalities and wellness. Our aim is break the stigma of the “B” word by openly talking about it, help businesses create the ideal work environment and encourage individuals to find their passion and purpose, with a healthy dose of self-care and self-love.
How do you go about getting support and other brands on board (like us!)? How can others get involved?
As a not-for-profit with no funding we are relying on people power to get the project off the ground. The support has been overwhelming. When we launched the website in October 2018 we had a lot of people contact us with feedback like “Finally! We’re in dire need of a kindness makeover.” We knew pretty quickly that we had started a conversation that was bursting to be spoken about.
I dedicate a number of hours each week to nurture our social media community, edit the YQ Blog and connect with potential partners. These portals have been the biggest drivers in getting businesses and individuals behind the project. We have an advisory board with Psychologists, HR professionals, wellness practitioners and a business mentor. We also have over 30 individual YQ Ambassadors who support, live and breathe our mission. We’d love to hear from anyone else who would like to contribute.
What resources do you offer companies and individuals for dealing with bullying?
The website is full of insights and resources to combat workplace bullying and how to work on self-care. We have a list of identifiers, tips on what to do, and contact details of who you can speak to if your business does not hold policies or support for this behaviour. Long term poor mental health and suicide are also outcomes of workplace bullying, so we have the Lifeline, Human Rights Commission and Fair Work Ombudsman direct links.
Businesses can become ‘Yes Queen Approved’ by implementing our “werk-kits” – resources to take steps towards a zero tolerance towards workplace bullying. These kits help businesses identify current behaviours and offer strategies to prevent future incidents.
What is your advice for those who might be struggling with bullying or witnessing it in their workplace? How can it be overcome?
Look after yourself. Self-care is usually sent to the bottom of the pile when we are full of fear and anxiety. This is a critical time to be healthy and communicate with people in your circle of trust. If you feel safe to, organise a catch up with the person you are struggling with and have an open conversation – invite a third person to sit in objectively, HR preferably.
If you witness or experience workplace bullying, the best thing to do is be a mirror. This means directly showing or calling out their behaviour in real time. A person may not be aware of their actions until they can see them; often bullies are driven by control, power and insecurities, which mean much of their actions are not about you.
What is your plan for the future of Yes Queen? What targets or goals do you have?
Our aim is to reach and positively impact 500,000 employees globally. Right now, we track the reach through the werk-kits. In February, we are launching an onsite directory, the ‘YQ Pink Pages’, an edited list of empowerment, self-love and self-care services, products and rituals.
We envision larger scale influence with plans to expand our platform to experiences, workshops and events. Our strategy from inception was to be more than an anti-bullying project; Yes Queen is a holistic movement to future proof wellness at work, for everyone!
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Images by Courtney King.