Leveraging Technology to Combat Bullying and Sexual Harassment at Work
This presentation explores the Workright23 app that allows bullying and harassment targets to safely report and hold perpetrators to account
In 2010, a joint research project was published, and headlines claimed ‘Kiwi’s worst in the world for bullying’ with the researchers stating that one in five Kiwi workers are suffering from workplace bullying. The report claimed that the sectors most affected were hospitality, health, and education.
In 2018, headlines again claimed that one in five employees have experienced workplace bullying. However, the headlines failed to mention that the Stats NZ research also showed that if the target was an immigrant, a minority, or a female then those experiencing workplace bullying was one in three in the past 12 months.
In 2021 there are over 500 media articles covering toxic organizations, bullying, and harassment including sexual harassment. But what if there was a way to support targets and decrease the number of incidents of bullying?
WorkRight23 is a New Zealand registered charity with a proprietary platform/App designed with targets and bystanders at it’s core. WorkRight23’s design has grown out of many years of research which included hundreds of one-on-one interviews, surveys, and analyses as well as studying incidents and the systems, and structures around them.
Targets were asked what would have helped them with their own experience of bullying. They said they needed support to document at a time and place where they felt safe. They wanted to report incidents without having to go to management or HR (someone who may or may not believe them.) They needed information about all their options and wanted to understand the pros and cons of the options early. They wanted to know what resources were available and how to access them. They wished they could have made an informed decision about what they needed to enable them to heal from the experienced trauma. And….. They wanted their perpetrator held accountable.
This presentation will cover a few key research findings, the app/platform’s key features, and a few of the early and surprising successes.
About the Presenter – Dr Donna Stemmer
Dr Donna Stemmer began her working career in accounting and finance. While serving as a corporate controller, she observed that the most valuable company assets, company employees, were not managed as an asset but rather an expense – which was to be minimized. This led her to investigate ways to account for business intangibles to manage them as assets. After jumping from finance to operations as a managing consultant, she continued to develop ways to significantly improve organizational performance through the measurement and management of a company’s intangible assets.
She was offered a full scholarship for her doctorate after presenting to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in defence of colleagues who were charged with insider trading. The presentation covered her intangible valuations of the company on which 11 of her colleagues had based their decisions to sell their stock in their old company — just prior to that company declaring bankruptcy. Her colleagues were cleared of all charges.