Wikimedia Conference 2014/Documentation/10

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10 Your organisation and hiring staff

tl;dr: Be sure why you want to have staff and be sure how to manage it. Clearify the roles and tasks between Board and Staff. Read the WMF employee survey.


show of hands I
  • most organizations already have staff
  • most have one or two
  • a few have three or more
kick-off question
why do Wikimedia organizations hire staff?
  • do what volunteers don't want to do (volunteers are not allowed to leave when they are too busy)
  • staff can work continiously, thereby provide consistency and accessibility
  • staff can provide professional skills that your volunteers may not have
  • staff can help you reach out farther/achieve more because they have more time
  • staff can challenge an organization's board by bringing a different view
  • staff can simply help you reach goals
  • staff can help you appear more professional (catering to other organizations' prejudice)
show of hands II
  • current organizations staff don't often deliver projects, is rather administrative
  • staff have medium impact on organizations
Presentation of first WMF employee study
  • -> 16 orgs replied, 10 had staff (4 had interns), 6 had no staff
  • why did your organization decide to hire staff?
  • -> administration (loads of work)
  • models that exist
  • -> interns, contractors, part-time and full-time workers - and volunteers, also from outside the Wikimedia movement
  • what is the typical role of the first employee?
  • a) office administrator/manager b) executive director c) activity coordinator/program manager
  • how do they spend their time:
  • 40-77 % on administration; 20-43 on programs
  • who should you hire?
  • -> no hard findings
  • what are the challenges?
  • -> no onboarding plan
  • -> problems with hiring regulations
  • -> lack of clarity about scope of staff role (how much administration is required?)
  • ongoing learning
brief discussion
  • many boards should have a clearer strategy in terms of where they want to go and thus be able to tell their staff, "take us there"
  • sometimes people are hired for something specific and they end up doing everything, especially a lot of administration
  • only one person on the board should manage staff
Small group discussion
How to divide tasks betweeen board and staff:
  • - The board does the steering, gives support, staff carries out operation and communication
  • - The board should trust the employees and delegate tasks to them