User:Lankiveil/Green Paper: Staff Hiring Principles for Wikimedia Australia

< User:Lankiveil

This is just a draft on some of my thoughts, and is not in any way the official position of the chapter.


At the strategic planning meeting in 2011, the Wikimedia Australia strategic planning subcommittee agreed that the chapter should investigate the possibility of hiring staff to assist in work to advance the mission of the chapter. It was decided that as the chapter professionalises and grows, certain tasks which were previously handled by volunteers (whether members of the management committee or otherwise) should be transitioned to professional, full-time staff.

In particular, the hiring of staff should only be considered in the following situations:

  • In situations where jobs must be done, for instance, to meet the requirements of a partnership agreement signed with a third party.
  • In situations where in the opinion of the management committee, no volunteer is available to do the job to the required level of accuracy and availability.


Taking the step of hiring staff unavoidably raises certain risks to the chapter. The management committee should develop strategies to mitigate these risks as a part of any hiring process.

  • Appointing members of the Australian Wikimedia community to paid positions within the chapter may provoke resentment from those who are not successful in gaining employment.
  • Additional overhead will be incurred, for instance, salaries, HR on-costs, insurance, etc.
  • The performance of individual staff members could be disappointing and not deliver value for money to the chapter.

These risks can be mitigated as follows:

  • Minimising direct management committee involvement with hiring decisions, and procuring a professional recruitment agency to manage the process from end to end. Ideally the management committee would write a formal position description and set parameters, and have no further involvement until the final candidate for the position is selected by the recruitment agency, at which point the committee would engage in a “go/no-go” decision.
  • Outsourcing overhead activities such as payroll management where possible. The chapter should avoid in engaging in non-core activities such as this for as long as possible, in favour of allowing them to be handled by a professional agency with the necessary expertise and experience.
  • Developing a performance assessment programme for all staff in line with standard industry practice, to ensure that the performance of all staff members is satisfactory.
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