By employees, for employees: A new staff meeting format

Posted on Friday, June 18, 2021

Author: Diana Wittmann, Executive assistant


MS Teams screen of By employees, for employees meeting.

You’ve probably been in this situation before: a long all-staff meeting with information that isn’t meaningful to you. “By employees, for employees” is an experiment that began with an employee-led workspace initiative. Its success propelled employees to try again for an employee town hall. The mission: ensure that presented content resonated with employees.

Our team of assistants Martine Mineault, Cynthia Soto Cancino, and Diana Wittmann kicked off the initiative, and offered to organize the spring meeting, but with a twist. They recruited team members to organize the first ever “By employees, for employees” IT Townhall. It was an opportunity to promote collaboration; ensuring that everyone had a say, ideas flowed naturally, and the decision-making was democratic. They came up with the following agenda:

  • Return to campus: The committee shared a four-question survey that received many responses related to employee expectations and concerns. Survey results are expected soon.
  • The Human Experience at Work and Home: Information was shared around ergonomic tips, how to stay active and maintain your mental health. A special diversity and inclusion allowed Martin Dubois (Application Manager) and Rajesh Dawar (Application Integration Architect) to share powerful testimonies related to an allyship pilot training program, sponsored by uOttawa Women in Innovation.
  • Project presentations: Three teams showcased their talent and shared exciting and innovative tech projects including a chatbot community, research support initiatives, and how partnerships with CANARIE/ORIOX and OGIX will improve the campus and regional internet experience.
Why is “By Employees, For Employees” important?
  • This was a way to expose different visions and interests and allow for more creativity. It empowers employees to promote a positive change from within. These initiatives create more engagement, which in turn, contributes to increased well-being.” Sandra Huertas, Database Administrator
  • “It was a great opportunity to shape our group culture and increase a sense of belonging; all ideas are good ideas.” Eric Tremblay, Information Technology Manager.
  • “We surveyed employees about their hopes and concerns for our return to campus. Eric, Amélie and I created a free-form survey that allowed employees to express themselves fully and share their thoughts. A total of 65 responses were gathered and the survey results in their entirety will be released soon.” Diana Wittmann, Executive Assistant
  • “This was such a great way to introduce our new employees to our changing culture.” Martine Mineault, Administrative Assistant to the Director
  • “I loved being able to see people having fun by enjoying a slide show with pictures and playing some virtual games.” Cynthia Soto Cancino, Administrative Assistant to the Director
For more information about this session, you can contact the “By employees, for employees” organizing committee:
  • Marc Alary, Information Technology Manager
  • Mathieu Bertrand, Information Security Risk and Compliance Specialist
  • Sandra Huertas, Database Administrator
  • Amélie Leroux, CIO Student Engagement Coordinator
  • Martine Mineault, Administrative Assistant to the Director
  • Cynthia Soto Cancino, Administrative Assistant to the Director
  • Astha Tiwari, Business Analyst
  • Eric Tremblay, Information Technology
  • Diana Wittmann, Executive Assistant
People posing with funny faces in MS Teams screen of By employees, for employees meeting.


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