[Osmf-talk] FOSSGIS position on OSMF hiring staff (WAS: Framework for the foundation's hiring practices)

Michael Reichert osm-ml at michreichert.de
Wed Jun 24 16:19:05 UTC 2020


we discussed this in the German OSM community and would like to share
the following statement of FOSSGIS e.V., the German local chapter, with you.

German version (original):

Semi-automatic English translation:

Quoting the semi-automatic English translation:
> Note: This is a English language translation of our statement. Its
> discussion and development happened in German language so in case of
> differences in exact meaning between the German and English text the
> German version will more accurately represent our position.
> After the board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation presented its plans
> for hiring additional paid staff some time ago and explicitly asked
> for feedback from the local chapters, we discussed the topic in the
> FOSSGIS and came to the following recommendations, which are supported
> by the FOSSGIS board. These ideas have been discussed in the German
> OSM community during the last weeks in the German OpenStreetMap forum
> and on the mailing list Talk-de. We believe that these recommendations
> can be useful and important for a long-term sustainable and harmonious
> collaboration between paid staff in the OSMF and the diverse global
> OSM community.
> We are in broad agreement that a clear, publicly communicated job
> description, approved by the board prior to awarding any paid work,
> should be a fundamental requirement for any paid work. This must
> ensure that the work falls within the OSMF mission, is necessary for
> its fulfilment, and does not exceed its limits. Before employing paid
> staff, the job description should be checked to see whether the work
> can be carried out by volunteers from the community or whether
> volunteers could be indirectly displaced or demotivated by the paid
> workers. Such a job description must ultimately form the actual basis
> for the activity of the paid people.
> In order that these questions will be assesed by a wide range of
> active members from different cultures and parts of the community, we
> think that both the general principles of personnel policy and the
> concrete creation of new jobs based on a job description should be
> subject to approval by OSMF members. We also think it is sensible and
> important that paid staff should be accountable for their work not
> only to the OSMF Board, but to the entire OSM community.
> In addition, we attach great importance to the fact that when paid
> workers are employed - regardless of the type of contract - OSMF lives
> up to its social responsibility as an employer or client towards those
> working for it. This applies in particular the contract desig. For
> example, it must first be decided how long-term employments are to be
> budgeted and contractually structured and how human resources
> management in practical work is to be organised, particularly taking
> into account the challenges of cooperation between paid staff and
> volunteers in the community.

Best regards

on behalf of FOSSGIS e.V. and FOSSGIS-OSMF-Stammtisch

Am 06.05.20 um 22:24 schrieb Tobias Knerr:
> Hi all,
> the OSMF Board wants to think about a general framework to hire people
> to fill in the gaps that volunteers can't fill. We believe that, given
> good practices and firm boundaries, hiring people would be worthwhile.
> It could ensure the continued stability of the OSM platform (servers,
> integral software) among other things, and augment the currently
> overworked volunteers and under resourced efforts in the face of
> continued growth.
> We would like to gather your input on strategies to have the highest
> possible positive impact at an acceptable cost, and with as few negative
> effects as possible.
> We had a brainstorm about this during the screen2screen, and these are
> some things we all agree on:
> * We strongly prefer not to hire when there are adequate volunteer
> options. In particular, we are not going to engage in paid mapping.
> * We need to define criteria for when we -can’t- wait for volunteers to
> step up.
> * We do not want to grow an army of employees. We do not envision 20
> employees within 5 years, let alone 200!
> * We want to make employees cooperate remotely, and through the same
> platforms that volunteer contributors to that project also use.
> * We should make sure all employees are treated equitably.
> * People with an OSM volunteer background should be preferred (because
> it demonstrates qualifications, added trustworthiness, and is the right
> thing to do), but we don't agree to which degree.
> * We want to avoid paid leadership or decision-making positions
> * We want people to work for the community, not for the Board. But we
> also do not want employees to have 10,000 bosses - that's a recipe for
> burnout.
> Some of the risks we hope the community can help address include the
> following:
> * Paid work can have a chilling effect on volunteering.
> * Paid staff has other incentives than volunteers.
> * Paid staff has more power to set direction of the project than a
> volunteer, if only because of the amount of time they have.
> * Paid staff hired from outside the community may lack an understanding
> and appreciation for the way the community works.
> * A direct link between organizations providing funding and a job being
> done might give those organizations undue power.
> * The organization that decides what gets worked on becomes quite
> powerful, which risks losing the benefits of do-ocracy.
> We know there are many issues with hiring people, but we hope that we
> can install meaningful guardrails against the risks. Your input will
> help us devise a strategy that makes sure we define the right jobs and
> hire the right people for them.
> Feel free to share your ideas here or send them to board at osmfoundation.org
> Tobias
> (for the OSMF board)

Römerweg 5
79199 Kirchzarten
Vorstand: Dominik Helle, Jörg Thomsen, Jochen Topf, Hanna Krüger
E-Mail: info at fossgis.de
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  Registernummer: 90 VR 3594

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