Photo caption: A page from the new “Define the Line” comic book, a resource to better train companies about sexual harassment from simplyHR.

Fort Collins HR firm publishing comic book to combat workplace harassment

FORT COLLINS — A Fort Collins HR company is looking to update the industry’s sexual harassment training by putting it in comic book form.

SimplyHR is publishing “Define the Line,” a comic book that goes through workplace harassment scenarios, illustrated by local artist Moriah Hummer.

“Through the MeToo movement and Time’s Up, harassment has been a topic that’s come up through our business at simplyHR and personal contacts telling us their stories as it relates to that,” said Nikki Larchar, co-founder of simplyHR. “When we were looking at what resources were out there that we could help provide to the business community, we were subject to those really dull and outdated training videos and online modules a lot of corporations and organizations use.”

Larchar said that in looking how to find a fresh approach to training and individual education, she and co-founder Tina Todd found research showing that comics can help readers retain information and create an emotional attachment, a reaction the two were looking for in providing better education material.

The comic book will show workplace scenarios and how people naturally respond to them.

“One will show a coworker saying something inappropriate to a woman, where she internalizes ‘he’s creepy’ and ignores it, without saying or reporting anything. It will also show other coworkers saying ‘he’s just that way, ignore him.’ The next scene will be set up the same way, showing what she could have said in a natural way and showing what someone who oversaw the situation could have done,” Larchar said.

People in the comics acting naturally was a big focus for Larchar and Todd. Larchar said they didn’t want the book to be full of “HR-speak” but to actually show how people actually talk to others and to provide lines that could realistically be used in a real-life situation.

“One of our biggest concerns was we didn’t want to be cheesy or done in an HR-voice,” she said. “We’re using a group of friends, family and business contacts — our dream team — to help us review the dialogue and give us feedback to make it more fluid and realistic. We have about 20 people in our group.”

In selecting the artist to bring their training material to life, Larchar said when they were seeking someone to make a comic, Moriah Hummer’s name kept coming up.

“I had seen her work when I was a student at CSU and remembered thinking it was phenomenal,” Larchar said. “When we saw it we knew we had to get Moriah onboard; her art spoke to the project and we wanted to showcase it. She has a great way of showing diversity and her woman-form looks natural and not sexualized.”

Larchar said simplyHR is launching a Kickstarter campaign where people can pre-order the comic book. The campaign will be open for about a month. When people order through the Kickstarter, Larchar said copies will be donated to the Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate Center in Fort Collins.

“We would love for organizations to adopt this as part of their training for harassment,” Larchar said. “Our goal is to get this into small and big organizations.”

Larchar said overall the company is hoping to provide training that is actually applicable to the people who use it and need it.

“The main focus and what we’re so passionate about for this comic book is that most material defines what harassment is, tells us not do it and report it but is missing the people,” she said. “Define the Line is made to educate and empower individuals to stand up when something happens to them or stand up for their coworkers. We want to help provide that courage.”

 

FORT COLLINS — A Fort Collins HR company is looking to update the industry’s sexual harassment training by putting it in comic book form.

SimplyHR is publishing “Define the Line,” a comic book that goes through workplace harassment scenarios, illustrated by local artist Moriah Hummer.

“Through the MeToo movement and Time’s Up, harassment has been a topic that’s come up through our business at simplyHR and personal contacts telling us their stories as it relates to that,” said Nikki Larchar, co-founder of simplyHR. “When we were looking at what resources were out there that we could help provide to the business community, we were subject to those really dull and outdated training videos and online modules a lot of corporations and organizations use.”

Larchar said that in looking how to find a fresh approach to training and individual education, she and co-founder Tina Todd found research showing that comics can help readers retain information and create an emotional attachment, a reaction the two were looking for in providing better education material.

The comic book will show workplace scenarios and how people naturally respond to them.

“One will show a coworker saying something inappropriate to a woman, where she internalizes ‘he’s creepy’ and ignores it, without saying or reporting anything. It will also show other coworkers saying ‘he’s just that way, ignore him.’ The next scene will be set up the same way, showing what she could have said in a natural way and showing what someone who oversaw the situation could…