Client Company and Main Contact:
Status Council of Women of the Northwest Territories – Janet Dean
April 13-14, 2021
This project was a 2-week consultation process that brought together stories and resources surrounding workplace sexual harassment in the Northwest Territories. Registration via Eventbrite was included for added security for the participants. This process culminated in a 2-day live event that took place on Zoom, which included speakers and panel discussions. The event focused on discussions surrounding the issue of harassment in the workplace, and how resources for both employees and employers could be improved. The process was continued after the event in the online space created for the consultation.
This event presented two main challenges. The first one was getting people to engage in the consultation process prior to the event. With the topic being a very sensitive one, and the stories people were being asked to share being so personal, there was a certain amount of reticence to participate. We also wanted to find different ways of connecting with people, as the culture in the Northwest Territories is oral rather than written.
Another challenge was the connection problems often faced by northern communities. We and our client were a little bit worried about the ability of everyone to be able to connect to the event.
We came at the participation and engagement challenge from a couple of angles. For the pre-event consultation process, we used Howspace as a “container” that tied together the live virtual event, asynchronous resource sharing & management, as well as providing a space for people to anonymously post their stories.
During the virtual event, we designed Stormz workshops to engage people in ideation around resources for employees experiencing workplace harassment and resources for employers. The Stormz discussions inspired over 100 ideas on the topic of workplace harassment resources. In keeping with the oral tradition of the Northwest Territories, we did our best to make sure that as much of the material as possible was centered around oral discussion and used videos for the case studies observed as opposed to written studies.
When addressing the issue of internet connection, we worked individually with speakers to onboard them for the event and ensure that there were ways for them to connect via phone if their internet connection went out. We also sent out a virtual meeting guide to all participants in which we outlined different ways of maximizing their bandwidth and connecting via phone should they experience internet challenges.
As a result of using both Stormz and Howspace, in conjunction with the Zoom breakout room discussions, our client was able to get the input that they needed on the resources available surrounding workplace harassment, as well as ideas on how to develop these materials further. We received substantial input on next steps for the Status Council of Women of the Northwest Territories on how to improve the issue of harassment in the workplace.
Together, these online platforms created a space where we could engage many people, some of whom may not have been able to attend the consultation were it held in person. The use of Stormz and Howspace opened doors to other engagement processes going forward, and helped open our client’s eyes to the possibilities of online collaborative platforms.
3 digital facilitation platforms used
2-week consultation with 2-day live event
135+ ideas generated