Proposal “admin-hr-avt-201702“ (Completed)Back

Title:Admin - HR Consult
One-time payment: 360 DASH (10546 USD)
Completed payments: 1 totaling in 360 DASH (0 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2017-02-03 / 2017-03-20 (added on 2017-01-26)
Final voting deadline: in passed
Votes: 732 Yes / 30 No / 0 Abstain

Proposal description

This is a cross-post from the Dash Forum

This proposal funds a third-party assessment of our organization's HR processes in order to help Dash transition into a more sustainable operation.

Why is this needed?

When Dash's funding model was introduced in August of 2015, the budget was a small fraction of its current size. The "Core Team Salaries" budget was created at that time with the intent of providing a small "thank you" for contributions to the team. At that time, the budget was split evenly among the main contributors to the project.

As the price of Dash continued to rise, this monthly pool of funds gradually became sizable, and became increasingly more than a "thank you". By the middle of 2016, some less-involved contributors were beginning to receive sizable pay when evaluated on an hourly basis. Meanwhile, there was little incentive for contributors to increase their contributions, as their compensation was unaffected by their hours or responsibilities. It was clear that the network's funds were not being optimized for the most impact, so we began evaluating tiered payment options to provide this incentive.

In addition, as we began growing, it became harder to find the "volunteer-type" resources driven purely by personal passion for the project or sizeable personal investments, and we started hiring higher-pay developers (still at a discount to market rates, but much more than the rest of the team). As we tapped out these volunteer resources, we nonetheless recognized the need to continue growing the team... even if it meant disparate pay across contributors. We are also entering into longer-term arrangements with some of our proven developers.

As we have accumulated some savings to protect against exchange rate changes, and have much more resources at our disposal, we have the opportunity to make Dash a sustainable employment option for those that have sacrificed to get us where we are today. We have operated far too long in a situation in which newcomers have been paid substantially more than long-time contributors, even if below market rates.

In addition, our HR processes and infrastructure is inadequate for the number of resources involved in the project today. Organizations rarely reach a size of 30 employees without a full-time HR resource, at least not without serious issues cropping up. We currently have 28 paid positions, excluding the many outsourced contributors like our PR firm, and our staff of translators in 5 different languages. Robert Wiecko and I have done our best to manage onboarding, firing, contracts, setting policies, etc. but we are beginning to see signs of strain with the current approach... miscommunications over employment offers, renewal contracts not issued on time, etc.

We have also severed our relationship with a number of team members within the past year, due to performance, availability, behavior or other issues. We need to do more to assess risks ranging from reputational to financial associated with these changes.

Simply put, at our current scale, we need help structuring our approach to HR, and a third-party expert perspective would be especially valuable to help the team with a fair transition.

What are the plans to address the issues?

As an open source project, our HR approach needs to be flexible enough to accommodate a very fluid open organization with limited structure. We feel that a non-standard and lean approach is needed with simple tools and processes in place that will nonetheless prevent HR related issues from occurring.

We have had several discussions with August Venture Talent (AVT) regarding our issues and HR needs, and AVT has proposed a project to help us address our issues and prepare for future growth. The proposed project will address the following six areas that the team identified as our highest priority needs. Note that some areas will receive less focus / attention than others based on the priorities given. Low priority tasks will be addressed on a best-effort basis, and will be completed time permitting.

1) Recruiting (low priority)
• Create role descriptions for anticipated future roles
• Identify potential recruiting sources
• Establish basic recruiting process
• Establish basic recruiting/hiring guidelines

2) Role Definition (high priority)
• Facilitate completion of role description questionnaires for all
relevant parties with follow-up conversations as needed for
• Create role description template for current and future use
• Create role descriptions for designated roles

3) Compensation (high priority)
• Guide the Dash team in establishing a framework (including criteria and priorities) for compensation decisions
• Explore/create a basic job evaluation model to compare the relative worth of jobs within the organization (internal equity)
• Create an adjustable basic pay structure that accommodates competitive pay factors and/or geographic cost of living differentials, where feasible
• Possibly devise solution to handle discrepancies between competitive pay factors and internal equity
• Identify differentials for sample geographic locations relevant to Dash
• Examine discrepancies between market rates and current pay and devise plan for gradually closing the gap based on changing availability of resources, taking into account organizational objectives

4) On-boarding (moderate priority)
• Facilitate identification and documentation of onboarding issues and needs
• Suggest and document onboarding processes and responsibilities

5) Performance Evaluation (low priority)
• Identify and document basic standards of performance, identifying any overlap or need for integration with the Dash Core Team Handbook
• Explore potential means of measuring performance and offering feedback in ways appropriate to the current mode of operating in which many members are essentially volunteers
• Facilitate consideration of potential rewards and consequences of performance

6) Firing (moderate priority)
• Determine all implications of severing a relationship with a Core Team member
• Identify potential liability issues and nature of liability (legal, operational, financial, etc.) and determine whether additional input is needed from expert sources
• Create guidelines and process for determining when termination is warranted (in conjunction with guidelines stated in Core Team Handbook)
• Define a process for security access right removal

The timing for this project will require approximately one month to complete and is subject to scheduling a start date with the firm. Because AVT is interested in supporting our project and blockchain is an emerging space of interest to them, they are willing to provide more senior staff at a supplemented / fixed rate for the duration of the engagement.

@fernando Gutierrez will oversee the project with myself in a supporting role. If you have additional questions, please tag @fernando or @babygiraffe in a post on the forum to ensure we see your message.

More about AVT and their support for Dash:

Donna White is Managing Partner at AVT and will lead their work. She will be personally performing most of the analytical and evaluative work involved, and will formulate recommendations and guidelines. Her time allotment to the project alone would equate to the entire fee her firm will charge, but we will receive additional support from an associate with AVT with an HR and recruiting background, plus support from other administrative staff. Fees will total $5,000 (fixed) for the full body of work described.


We believe by addressing these topics now, we can create a far more effective organization that makes the most use of our limited resources. From creating a more productive recruiting process, to getting new members productive quickly, to ensuring we retain talent without overpaying, to managing our HR risks more effectively, we feel that this project can deliver massive value to our network. While we know we can't provide adequate compensation at our current budget levels, we think we can start to address the fairness issues with disparate pay levels and map out a path to closing those gaps as resources become available, and eventually make Dash a far more desirable and stable place to build a career.

Requested funding is as follows for the February 3rd budget cycle:
Total: 360.06 Dash

Note: Any unused funds from this Dash-Evolution development funding will be directed toward other administrative expenses.

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Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

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0 points,7 years ago
From the same people that said no to turning dash into a company...
0 points,7 years ago
I think there is an important distinction to make between having a Dash 'company' that consists of developers working on Dash or a Dash 'company' that holds the keys to power for the system (i.e. can change account balances etc.) So long as the control remains distributed, I don't mind if development is centralized.
0 points,7 years ago