Index Coop Hiring Guidelines v1

Situation

The Coop recently hired its first 4 full-time contributors using an MVP framework detailed here: IIP-36 Full-Time Contributor Retention .

Now, it is time to introduce for discussion a v1 proposal for how the Coop hires future full-time core-contributors.

If successful, we will circle around a v1 process that will enable the Coop to start working to fill high-leverage needs.

Core Principles

These are the core principles that remain unchanged from IIP-36 FT Contributor Retention and also form the foundation of this proposal:

Commitment & Trust: We, the Index Coop, should be willing to increase our commitment to contributors who earn trust by delivering impactful outcomes & who embody principles we believe are important to our long-term success.

We earn our people: We believe the best people are recruited (internally & externally), not bought. Protocols that pay top-of-market will always win salary-optimizing people. We believe the best people want to learn. Winning and retaining these people means creating an environment optimized for growth and learning, and so their long-term career capital. We believe that if we improve Index Coop member’s long-term career capital, we will get the best people (Carta 101 & The Alliance).

Get the right people on the bus: “When facing chaos and uncertainty, and you cannot possibly predict what’s coming around the corner, your best “strategy” is to have a busload of people who can adapt to and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next.” (Good to Great)

Fairness: Full-time contributor compensation should be fair & based on the value/impact they provide to the Coop.

Comp. variables: Salary fills needs and vesting aligns long-term incentives + provides upside.

Complementary: This is complementary to the working group structure, treasury rewards, and bounties. Each of these programs serves different purposes.

Mutually exclusive: If someone is compensated as a full-time contributor, they will not be compensated separately via separate programs (no “double-dip”).

Speed & iteration: Right now, we need to optimize for speed and get a good-enough solution out the door that enables us to iterate as we learn and grow. Getting a fully-baked compensation program created is going to take time. This is the second step.

Additional Principles

Given that we are now broadening the scope of “hiring” these are new principles for consideration.

The Coop hires to fill high-leverage needs: There are many ways to fill a need or solve a problem, including: software, process, other technology, treasury rewards, working groups, bounties, and similar programs yet to be created. Given those alternative solutions at hand, the Coop should use hiring as a tool to find the right person to address high-leverage needs we can’t otherwise solve (Carta).

The Coop hires people who are relentlessly resourceful & ship: The Coop is creating a new way of launching & maintaining structured tokens and is trying to grow fast. In this startup-like environment we need people who are resourceful in their pursuit of delivering impact for the Coop and are able to crank out a high-volume of high-quality work (Hire For The Ability To Get Shit Done, Relentlessly Resourceful).

Implementation

Motivation

The Coop needs to be able to hire full-time contributors to solve unfilled, high-impact Coop needs for the benefit of all Index Coop stakeholders. Such long-term contributors need predictability (salary) and upside (token vesting).

Further, clarity on how hiring occurs was intentionally left out from IIP-36 and we now need to create that clarity.

Process

The goal of this section is to provide clear guidelines for how the Coop hires.

This is the proposed hiring process:

#1. A high-leverage need is identified & a hiring team is designated

  • The need will be determined by current Index Coop Full-Time contributors (@DarkForestCapital , @verto0912, @BigSky7, @LemonadeAlpha) as well as at least one Set representative.
  • The hiring team will consist of two current Full-Time contributors and one Working Group lead with the appropriate expertise.
    • If the expertise required for accurate assessment of the candidate does not exist amongst Working Group leads, then a Set team member or other community member may be added instead.
    • @GregDocter will act as the “recruiter” to drive forward the administrative pieces of the hiring process and ensure coordination amongst all parties.

#2. Create & share the hiring scorecard via the Coop forums (Who).

  • This is intended to both 1) prioritize looking internally first and 2) make the role crystal clear to set all sides up for success.

#3. If necessary, the role announcement will be shared in relevant public channels

#4. Applicants will be asked submit an application to the hiring team

  • A template will be created for each role to ensure consistency and usefulness of the details provided.

#5. An interview process will be run by the hiring team. This will remain flexible for v1. Depending on the candidate, it may include the following (Great CEO Within).

  • Phone screen
  • Topgrading interview
  • Focused interviews
  • Work trial

#6. Close

  • If at the end of the interview process, both parties decide that a commitment is mutually beneficial, compensation will be determined (see more on this below).
  • If the conditions are approved by both parties, the hiring proposal will be submitted to the community via a forum proposal and subsequent Snapshot. The Snapshot vote will be subject to the current, non-DG2 requirements.
  • If the hire is approved, proceed to onboarding process which may include a clear statement of alliance.

#7. Pass

  • If at any point in the hiring process it is determined to not be a fit by either side the process will end.
  • Alternatives may be discussed (i.e. Working Group, Treasury Rewards, and other payment programs that may exist in the Coop)

Termination

This is a challenging topic to navigate. Letting someone go is a stressful experience for all parties involved, but sometimes it is necessary.

When necessary, here is the proposed process:

  • Clear expectations: The Index Coop aims to be transparent in our expectations and measurement of performance . This is the purpose of the scorecard (step #2) & statement of alliance (step #6).

  • Attempt to resolve: Any failure to meet these measures will first be discussed between current Full-Time Contributors & at least one Set Representative and the contributor with an aim to resolve the issue(s).

  • Decision: The decision to terminate will be discussed by the hiring team and put into effect by the Treasury Committee in the event that performance expectations cannot be met.

  • Severance: There will be a severance package of 2 months salary; vesting will cease immediately.

Any gross violation of our guiding principles will result in immediate termination without severance.

Compensation

The Index Coop is a prominent actor with exciting prospects for growth in a highly innovative, and competitive, space.

We intend to provide talent with attractive compensation packages, while also ensuring the Coop is set-up to thrive in the long-run.

This proposal introduces some compensation guidelines to be used as a starting frame of reference for future hires.

Salary

  • Standard Non-Technical: $8,000/month
  • Standard Technical: $10,000/month

INDEX vesting: 0.10% of total supply over 2 years

Setting these guidelines is intended to acknowledge the following:

  • We exist in a rapidly evolving space and we need to ensure our hiring practices are flexible such that we can adapt.
  • As such, these compensation guidelines are just that, guidelines.
  • Compensation should be objectively based on skills, capability, and expertise.
  • Final compensation for a given candidate will be proposed as an IIP.

As for the broader process, we will monitor these processes and retain the ability to adjust accordingly to ensure our ability to hire remains effective and efficient.

Next Step

The immediate next step is to gather feedback.

Please share any comment/questions/objections/concerns you have below!

Sentiment check
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0 voters

14 Likes

Amazing stuff, glad to see this finally being formalized. Everything seems spot on, here are a couple of questions:

Any specific reason we are specifically including a Set representative?

How do current contributors fit into this picture? Is this program only to find new contributors or to also promote from within?

Keep up the great work!

5 Likes

Any specific reason we are specifically including a Set representative?
Great question – this is largely in order to share context & our understanding around the needs/bottlenecks/current processes in the Coop, given Set team members’ depth & duration of involvement.

How do current contributors fit into this picture? Is this program only to find new contributors or to also promote from within?
It all comes down to filling high-leverage needs with folks that are able to deliver to the benefit of all Coop stakeholders. I’d expect that sometimes those people will already exist in the Coop (yahoo!!) and sometimes they won’t. Step #2 is intended to prioritize looking internally first. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the hiring team (2 full-time contributors, one working group lead), and then by the entire community via the IIP process.

2 Likes

Hi Greg,

Thanks for this detailed and well thought through proposal.

I am in agreement with your thinking and like the way it solidifies the requirement needed to transition from contributor to one of the “core team” (with vesting tokens). In short, by filling a high-leverage role.

I flag this point, as compensation based on experience is different to that based on capability. Your comments on relentlessly resourceful allude to this point. Would Index Coop pay someone with two decades of experience differently to someone with five years, even if they were expected to perform equally well in role?

Similarly, will the hiring process be set up to focus on experience or capability / skill / potential growth? The decision on how weight IC places on experience may have massive significance on the overall outcomes of a recruitment process.

Do any of the hiring team have experience doing these types of interviewing? It is pretty tricky to get right but, if done correctly, is supposed to be very effective.

In favor of this, keen to hear some thoughts on length of trial - in my head 3 months seems sensible for virtually all roles.

This statement is too strong given how broad our guiding principles. Pretty sure I won’t have stayed 100% true to guiding principle during my time with the Coop. Maybe soften this a little?

Agreed. Presumably this is a commitment to have much more specific criteria for success than IIP-36 (KPIs were all: “# Holders & # Unit Supply”)

Maybe outside the scope of this post, but some mention of what ongoing salary adjustment will look like could be worth including (for example: “We will hold yearly performance review meetings to agree changes to base salary)”.

On the whole excellent post. I look forward to seeing the next iteration and finding out which new roles will be coming through the process.

6 Likes

love the call out here – let’s remove “experience” and instead go with “capability.”

I indeed do — I’m not claiming expertise, but experience and comfort with the process.

Ultimately, i think it’ll depend on the role / candidate / hiring team decision. Which is an unsatisfying answer, but i can easily anticipate situations were no work trial is needed, and others where a long work trial may be needed.

good call, what about “gross violation”?

that’s not softening it, i know…open to suggestions here!

I’m going to say, “outside of scope” for the narrow purposes of this post, while acknowledging that I expect that is something we’ll have to figure out

1 Like

I have made the following edits:

Edit 1
From: “Compensation should be objectively based on skills, experience , and expertise”
To: " * Compensation should be objectively based on skills, capability , and expertise.

Edit 2
From: " Any violation of our guiding principles will result in immediate termination without severance."
To: “Any gross violation…”

2 Likes

Is this idea something to be considered as an addition to this draft?

just took a look, and that seems like an interesting idea. That is not within the scope here, though it’d be interesting to see a hardened/fleshed out proposal for further consideration by the coop.

Sentiment check poll added :white_check_mark:

Maybe: gross and/or repetitive violation.
Sometimes someone is doing something very stupid, but after a talk totally understands the mistake. Or realises on it’s own. After a night of sleep. My very own view. but some things, it is also true, are inexcusable.

But thanks for the proposal, very professional. I learn so much from your posts every time.

2 Likes

Wow, Thank you for writing this up @gregdocter. Gross violation could be changed to “clear violation”?

I think “clear violation” doesn’t quite address this point.

@gregdocter @Pepperoni_Joe
We have a code of conduct which can help paint a clearer picture. I think rephrasing to say something like:

“We will hold hires to the standards set out in our Code of Conduct. Demonstrating any of the unacceptable behaviour listed there will result in immediate termination without severance.”

2 Likes

Has any thought been given to tax optimization here? This was a little easier in the early days, but as it stands a straight-up grant leaves someone in the spot of having significant tax obligations come due as the grant vests (true in the US for sure and I’ve been told also the case in the UK). You can do an 83b election in the US to avoid the vesting sell pressure, but that’s also a mixed bag from a risk/reward standpoint (essentially forcing further long commitment). I think it might be worth seeing what other protocols have done or possibly even looping in (or hiring) some tax structuring advice.

The other thing that keeps our offers from being competitive in the US is health insurance. That keeps great talent from further committing to us. The solutions could be outsourced, but I figured it was at least worth raising here.

I think the framework should acknowledge these factors and have a roadmap for addressing them, but otherwise like it as a starting point.

2 Likes

Love to see the push for the coop helping out it’s contributors tax wise, but I want to highlight that we are a global organization we should not optimise for the US/UK tax code blindly because that might be detrimental to other juridictions.

I would love to see the coop providing accounting/tax advisory to it’s full time contributors.

2 Likes

Completely agree. Just speaking to what I know. And the UK bit just comes from conversations with fellow Coopers. My main point is jurisdiction-agnostic. Organizations seeking the best talent in the world provide thoughtfully structured compensation vis-a-vis tax.

1 Like

Not sure what standard practice is but I know that Badger accounted for tax advice and insurance in their FT hiring structure.

1 Like

Thank you for this post @gregdocter. Clearly lots of thought has done into this.

I’m mainly for this initiative, directionally, and there’s lots of value to add to the IC here - but I voted against the proposal for now, purely due to compensation numbers.

I have the same issue with $INDEX allocation going down 33% versus previous awards, especially given the $INDEX price has notably dropped, but note some follow up comments.

I also don’t think the comp is inspiring enough for successful (experienced or inexperienced) individuals in high-cost metro areas in the most developed nations - especially if they have families and higher fixed costs than single, young folks. In my assessment, if these individuals see such a compensation offer and rationally appraise it, they would be better off in risk-reward terms to: i) invest some of their salary in $INDEX and not contribute their time, or ii) contribute part-time. I assume we want to be able to attract such talent more than that though! I’m also mindful talent needs to prove value.

If we want to appeal to all talent, and values of it, we should think about this.

Generally, I would suggest increasing the technical talent comp 50% on the USD salary and the $INDEX allocation. As discussed here, lack of engineering resources is a huge issue for us.

Also generally, I think an issue here is trying to codify a one-size-fits-all approach re non-technical and technical contributors - in other orgs there’s a scale of talent. Ie - junior engineer, senior engineer, engineering team lead, CTO. Very high value DeFi engineers aren’t’ catered for here and neither is someone with 3-6-months experience with Solidity or Web3 trying to quit tradfi.

9 Likes

Glad you highlighted these points! I think most of them are addressed in the current version of this post :fire:

Couldn’t agree more, that is why this does not propose a one size fits all approach :raised_hands:

instead [bold added for emphasis]

to hit your other point about the guidelines being uninspiring, i’ll point to that :point_up: as well as [bold added for emphasis]

1 Like

I don’t know if I have much feedback surrounding the numbers thrown around here - it sounds to me like there are some base numbers as starting points, and then the hiring team works with the candidate to agree on something within those ranges - I am totally fine with that.

I will say that I think we are missing something (or some things?) I saw @BigSky7’s tweet saying we are “pioneering full-time hiring for DAOs” and started thinking about that - are these guidelines “pioneering”? Up front, I do think it’s interesting that we don’t have any other “benefits” aside from a base salary and a vesting schedule. Tech startups compete heavily on benefits outside of salary and equity (and DAOs will soon do the same) - and this seems like an opportunity to do some unique / attractive things. Ideas:

  • health insurance stipend (probably the biggest consideration outside of salary and equity for talent leaving well-compensated positions)
  • tax/accounting stipend
  • travel stipend to attend conferences / meetups with other contributors
  • signing bonus
  • equipment stipend (for a new monitor, desk, grid+ lattice, or something of that nature)
  • …

These are just initial ideas and I am sure y’all have better ones, but the point is that maybe we can think more holistically about our package being attractive because it covers the potential downsides of leaving a well-compensated position elsewhere.

Also, I just wanted to understand how the package offered to the original 4 full-time contributors effects the thinking here? I ask because I would rather update their packages as well to go after something then not go after something because it would somehow put them at a disadvantage… I know these hiring guidelines will be an iterative thing as the months go on, so I think it is beneficial to chart out how past hires are effected by new guidelines being introduced?

Thanks @gregdocter for pushing this forward!

5 Likes