Welfare at Work in Web3 — Part 1
Originally posted at our medium page.
This is the first description of a two days twitter event promoted by Gravity DAO about Welfare at Work in web3. The intention of this post is to highlight the best moments of this talk and to spark your curiosity about it.
These events were a collaboration between GravityDAO and AragonDAO. The Hosts of the spaces were Juan Carlos, Incandenza and Bianca. Our Guests for the first day were: Loie, people operations from Gitcoin, long time DAO contributor and founder of People Ops Guild; Heather, Hiring lead from Giveth and contributor of CommonsStack; Daniel, founder of RnDAO and people operations from Aragon; and Ben from PocketDAO.
In this first part of content you’ll find information about how should DAOs take care of contributor, how to balance contributors needs vs organizational needs, self-leadership and onboarding process, how do you create clarity within contributors, what are recruiters looking for in new contributors, how can DAO take care to the health of their contributors, what are the challenges for women coming to web3 and much more high level insight information from those experienced guests.
Original Talk at Gravity’s Twitter Space
Original Transcript at github by @ddan
Inthis talk, you’ll find an interesting conversation about working conditions and welfare in DAO and in Web 3 projects.
Question 1: Should DAOs take care of contributors?
JuanK:(…) Shall they provide a certain degree of safety or shall they leave everything to the free market?
Ben: If you want job security and protections and benefits do not work in Web 3 right now because they don’t exist. It’s a fair assessment and something we should lean into in a way.
If we want to create new systems, which is why most of us are here, we have to take on the fact that they don’t exist today. The challenge for me currently with this question is whether people actually see that as something that we need to be taking on or not.
(…) Very few of them (DAOs) will have the systems in place for providing protections like sick, leave, maternity leave, these similar sorts of things. That’s the part that jumps out for me immediately is, why is it that for one set of financial systems, we can go all in on this quite easily. Then for these [new] social systems, there does not seem to be the same desire or need for us to be exploring that right now.
That would be my opening thought is this is a problem we should look to take on by being real about the fact that it is a problem. Then asking ourselves some real questions around why we get able to build some types of systems, but not able to lean into this in the same way.
Loie: (…) We are breaking some standards in a positive direction, but it is a fair point that, yeah, we lack other elements of job security or various protections and benefits. (…)
Heather: Yeah, this is an interesting question because it can really depend on the ethos of the DAO, because there are some DAOs that are really more like human focus and want to serve the needs of their contributors, especially like when it comes to taxes and pay time off and stuff.
I do think overall in the Web 3 space, there can somewhat be a philosophical conflict when there’s a pretty large libertarian streak in this community. Some DAOs don’t want to create legal entities that would provide more protection to their contributors because it’s in direct conflict with the like libertarian ethos.
(…) I would also like to echo what Loie said that wages, depending on where you are in the world, can actually be quite competitive. Web 3 can actually be like an equalizer of pay because if we pay in crypto we can hire anywhere in the world where a lot of companies can’t do that.
They can only hire in certain countries. In some ways, it’s good news for you if you’re from a country that has a lower cost of living. Then in some other ways it can be bad news if you’re from a country that has a higher cost of living. That’s my input.
JuanK: (…) Daniel, would you like to have the last word on this question?
Daniel: Thanks. Building on top of already excellent comments, what I’m seeing, or at least how I see it, is that there are two main mindset from which people act. One is a slightly Paternalistic mindset. It has a lot of advantages because there are people who are working for me and I’m responsible for them. I’m taking care of them and so on. That was historically like people having a lifelong career in a corporation.
Over the last a hundred years, that’s been changing dramatically. We have a lot more gone to this other mindset that is more a relationship of equals that relates to the libertarian mindset that Heather was speaking.
In Web 3, the issue is that neither of these mindsets can actually deal with all of the complications of what we have. Cause on one side is fantastic. If we can have more consensual relationships of equals and so on where people have more power to choose, change and take care of themselves. There isn’t necessarily an expectation that the DAO needs to take care of them.
Then on the other side, if we have the issue that individuals might go through hardship: software troubles, any situation, or might be coming from an unprivileged background where they have certain difficulties, financial or social or emotional or whatever it is that happens through people’s lives.
How do we deal with that in a way that’s also caring and renegotiating in between these two mindsets? (…) It’s really like we are seeing all the inequalities that we have in the world and trying to address them at the same time, which is quite challenging, but also the potential, for tremendous transformation, to create a better world if we can move in that direction.
Question 2: How to balance contributors needs vs organizational needs?
Incandenza: (…) We have 3 HR here, plus Daniel who is the founder. When you participate in the onboarding process, what are the challenges that you are facing to balance the contributors and the DAO expectations? We’d like to start with Daniel.
Daniel: Thanks. Perhaps the biggest challenge is around compensation and or rewards more generally speaking, where we even lack a common language to talk about it. We’re constantly having to use metaphors that are more coming from the Web2 startup world or things like that.
At least in our case we are not offering a job in the traditional sense. There isn’t a company that’s gonna hire you and give you an expected salary every month and a series of benefits. That’s not the situation we’re in, at least not yet given that we’ve been bootstrapping the organization for a while.
It’s more a situation in that you kinda join this group as perhaps what could be conceived as a bit more of a partnership. That partnership might generate certain resources and you eat what you kill. We’re just going hunting together and trying to make certain things happen.
It’s more of an entrepreneurial collective. This idea is that people can have more governance power, or perhaps become a co-owner of the thing. Even though the group is gonna decide that together is pretty foreign and being able to translate in between these different notions.
(…) Are you really that encouraged to start taking action and to be like entering into a group full of people and say: “Hello everyone. Hi, why don’t we do this?” It is quite unnatural behavior to some degree. (…)
Question 3: Self-leadership and the Onboarding process
Incandenza: Thanks. I completely agree on this lack of a shared language that can generate misunderstanding and that self leadership is a key skill to have in Web 3. Ben, is it difficult to explain this to new contributors during onboarding, how do you deal with people who are new to this environment?
Ben: (…) One thing that I see right now is a lot of DAOs have the challenge that Daniel’s describing around this hunt and kill mentality of needing to generate revenue, but not always a clear understanding of what that looks like and how that defines the relationship between new contributors.
The fact that a lot of DAOs don’t make money. It’s a real problem in answering some of these questions because it delays considerations around how the community grows or how they’re empowered perhaps later on.
One of the things that’s really important is to be clear about what that relationship actually looks like, so that it can be a more permissionless system in that people know what they’re getting themselves into and can operate accordingly.
A lot of the challenges stem around this question of a misunderstanding where people think if they do the time, then there will be an opportunity for them to be rewarded. Perhaps it doesn’t work out that way. That’s very problematic.
One other thing is it’s just really important to have very clear expectations set as part of onboarding. There’s a lot of ambiguity in DAO, often not a lot of clarity for people coming in. It’s really important to set expectations around this question early.
Question 4: How do you create clarity with new contributors?
Incandenza: (…) Heather, how do you tackle this problem of clarity? How do you create clarity with your new contributors would be your existing contributors?
Heather: From my experience, the key to clarity is transparency. It’s really trying to communicate who is being onboarded to our existing contributors. Then also for our contributors that are being onboarded is really having a proper process, especially around expectations.
(…) It’s like half and half, it’s how active the existing contributors are into the onboarding processes in our workspace.
(…) I have check-ins with all of our new contributors for the first 3 months of their contribution. I provide a lot of resources where there could be holes of [understanding], they don’t know what happens in this proposal or that, and that also brings a lot of the human touch.
Loie: I just wanted to add to Heather’s description. That’s what I take from that is that it’s very relational and it’s that you’re working in Web 3 processes. Web 3 orgs index, heavily on documentation and self-guided onboarding processes.
That’s great for getting information and understanding of the project, but there’s nothing that can replace having a buddy or a people ops person, hold your hand through that journey and experience it with you. I really admire that you do that, and it is a huge help to have clarity there.
Question 5: What are you looking for in new contributors?
Incandenza: Yes, Heather, absolutely. Thanks so much. What are you looking for when you select new contributors? (…) What is the process that you follow when you select new contributors for your DAO?
Loie: That’s a tough question. Actually. One of the biggest double edged words that I look for is self management skills as well as collaborative spirit. Our world pits those two against each other.
It’s unique to find somebody who is truly able to hold both strongly, but you need both to be a great Web 3 contributor. Regardless of someone’s Web 3 literacy or their technical chops that is important to a degree, but that also is what can be taught.
Whereas these more human qualities of, how to balance between being a great team player and lifting people up and delegating and horizontally sharing power and also being totally self-directed holding yourself accountable, setting your own goals and deadlines, and even like contributing to how work is prioritized. If I find somebody that demonstrates those skills, I wanna hire them for any role.
Incandenza: Thanks, Loie. This reminds me of some videos that I saw from Simon Sinek, that he said that an organization often is more important to have people who are good at interpersonal skill, rather than people who have high performance but they are not good team player, because at the end, these people can become toxic for the organization.
Question 6: How can DAO take care of the health of their contributors?
Incandenza: I would like to connect with Daniel and the research that RnDAO is producing on community health. (…) My question is what does a healthy contributor look like? But we somehow already answer this question, but what can be done? how can a DAO take care of the health of contributors?
Daniel: (…) the best we can do is try to create an environment of trust, where we can be honest, where we can be vulnerable and share these things.
The issue with a lot of the individual challenges is that we come from a culture of having to keep a professional face. We come from a culture where we always have to perform every day and there is no space for, there is no forgiveness for someone having a less than stellar month or making a mistake or something like that.
The approach that’s been handled with this is: this person leaves, then we can pretend that nothing happened and we continue and the business needs to be a stable machine that is always performing, always delivering.
(…) There is a huge variety of challenges that someone can go through. We might be equipped to support them in some of them, in some others it will be beyond our capacity.
We can try to create a space where it’s okay to share these sorts of things. At least we have the possibility to try to respond. That is super hard creating such an environment, it’s perhaps the hardest thing.
(…)Unfortunately, we’re still in a situation where we need to justify a lot of these things from a financial perspective, even if we are just talking about viability.
As I was saying, organizations are in all situations. Some are wealthy, some are not and so on. If the organization cannot subsist, it won’t be able to care for the people.
We do need to balance these too, and I’m sure the others will perhaps also have other perspectives on things that we can do more, let’s say systematically and so on that are not exclusively reliant on that culture of trust. That would be a starting point is to ask ourselves, are we doing anything in this direction?
Heather: Well so I can jump in on this point and just talk about what we do in our DAO when there’s a performance issue. If a person isn’t performing, because they have an external event in their life that’s going on that affecting their work. I have these check-ins with all new contributors in our DAO.
I’ve been doing them for the past year and a half. Now I’d say like half of the people who are in our DAO, I’ve helped in that process. Maybe this is unique to our DAO, but because I’m trained as a counselor we have more of a human approach.
Any person who I’ve helped in their own boarding process, I’ve had the open invitation of, if you’re ever having a hard time at work, call me, I’m here for you. Let’s talk about it. (…) Having this human centered approach does help with retention over time.
Ben: I really appreciate both the responses. Trust is such a really important element. It’s funny that we have these organizations where there is often a highly assumed level of trust. People come into a DAO and often you feel closely connected to them in some way, but it’s almost very artificial.
It’s very surface level. I would actually say most of our people almost know nothing about each other. People are often strangers. Of the people on this call that actually know most of everyone here. I really only know you at a surface level and would love to know more.
This is a good question for DAO to be asking. Daniel and Heather both touched on how we actually make time to connect more, to build greater empathy and understanding.
That level of vulnerability creates trust and actually allows people to be healthier because they can be more open around what’s happening in their lives and use that as an opportunity to regulate. Also because it actually makes organizations much more resilient.
The fact that we can talk about small things that might be going on because we have a high level of trust means that we can start to talk about the larger things in life, the true hardships and how we create new systems that can better support everyone.
I really do appreciate that. I thought that health is something that comes from trust and vulnerability. It’s something that we can refocus on, to be much more sustainable organizations than perhaps today.
Question 7: Attracting more women to web3
Incandenza: (…) Web3 is an environment built by a large mayority of men. What can be done to maybe change the environment to attract more women also.
Loie: (…) We’ve mostly built our world around that 24 hour day, there’s culturally known times to be at work, to be doing certain things at work like meetings versus quiet time. Then like family time and rest time and physical activity time like built into the day.
(…) I just wanted to share something I read today about burnout. “The cure for burnout is not self-care, the cure for burnout is all of us caring for each other.” I super agree with this. Ben, you mentioned this to connect and getting to know each other as humans and it’s so endlessly important.
(…) Think about all of these people in your workplace, who you try to schedule meetings with. Their calendars are crazy. They’re meeting blocked for like six, seven hours each day. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it. I think that’s one of the most successful people operations projects that I started at Gitcoin.
I highly recommend anyone in any community that is having a work product, even if you are not in a workplace, particularly if you are spending most of your time focused on producing something, take at least an hour a week to connect with each other and build intentional ways to do so because it really makes everyone feel safe to share like the other parts of their lives.
There’s so much regulation that happens there. Nervous system regulation happens when you’re laughing. When you’re talking with other humans that you’re close with, we had a lot of extremely comedic moments in our gathering hours. Just to have that time to shoot the breeze and be together is a great foundation.
Question 8: What are the challenges web3 job market faces? (lightning round)
JuanK: I really resonated with what you said though. The cure of burnout is not only self care, but all the people caring for the individuals.
That’s amazing. With that, we are getting to the wrapping moment of this discussion. I want to make two questions at once:
What for you are some of the challenges that the Web 3 job market is facing?(…) Also how can people learn more about you and interact with you, with your project and the DAO? (..) I will pass the mic to Heather.
Heather: To answer your first question, some challenges that we’re currently facing in the Web 3 space is, I’m gonna say, reputation. Web 3 and crypto just have a naughty reputation sometimes. The more we can spread the word about what crypto and Web 3 really is, especially when it comes to philanthropy and refi that will definitely onboard more people into the space. You can find me on Twitter and follow me there. Then I also contribute to Giveth and general magic and the UMAC.
Ben: Probably the best place to connect with me is here on Twitter. Everyone can reach out to me there. Particularly if you are interested in talking about trust in DAOs and hardship, it’s a really special topic. It’s an important part of the story and the promise of DAO. If that’s something you’re interested in talking about or collaborating on, I’d love to chat more and I will pass to Daniel.
Daniel: Thanks. Equally you can reach out to me here on Twitter. You can also see the research we’ve been doing on community health. If you wanna take a look into that rabbit hole, you can find the articles in rndao.mirror.xyz. That’s the blog where we publish most of the research we’ve done open source. (…)
Loie: I’ll close out with that. We’re really facing a time where people’s health gets deprioritized because folks are less abundant in bear market times. Just the stressors of that and the crunch of that is something that we have to look out for as people, and our, the work that I’d like to call attention to for me right now is with the people op Guild is doing. (…)
JuanK: sometimes people think in an extractive way on humans as resources and how to exploit them for a reason. Why don’t we think on resources for humans to regenerate themselves. What are the resources that we can provide to humans to be flourishing humans in this space?
- with that, we are closing this first session of this Twitter space. (…)
Getting to know about the participants in this talk:
Introducing Loie (PeopleOps: Giveth, CommonsStack, Gitcoin. Founder: People Operations Guild)
Loie: I am logging in from a pretty special space. I’m at full node in Berlin right now, which is co-work in a space full of Web 3 people. I’m in this little tree house that’s shaped like a womb and is a rest space. Spatially, this is totally a micro-welfare at work in Web 3. I’m doing well. It’s good to be speaking with you all.
Now, I’ll just say a little about me as I contributed as a people ops person in Giveth and CommonsStack and Gitcoin. I also founded the People Operations Guild. I really love this work. I come from activist communities, but I’m a care person at my core.
I love taking that to both the personal and participating in creating great policies for parents and for folks going through hard times and for professional development and continuing education, peer review and doing all these things. I’m very happy to be amongst you guys.
Introducing Heather (PeopleOps: Giveth, CommonsStack, Gitcoin)
Heather: I’m coming from Denver, so I’m just waking up. I’ve been doing people ops, for Giveth and Commons stack and Gitcoin for the past year and a half.
People ops, to me, includes hiring recruiting, doing check-ins and also doing exit interviews. Before that, in my past career life I trained as a clinical mental health counselor. I was working in an inpatient adult psychiatric hospital for five years previously.
With that experience I really have more of a human centered approach when it comes to human resources and have really brought in a lot of my counseling techniques into HR, especially when it comes to interviewing and just dealing with conflict in the workplace and also in the onboarding processes as well. I’ll pass the mic back.
Introducing Daniel (Founder: RNDAO, PeopleOps: Aragon)
Daniel: I come from an organization design background and actually started my career as a chef in hospitality doing experience design. That still informs both the good things and the bad things I see in space and how we can progress.
Generally, I’ve been a community builder, a researcher and entrepreneur through these lenses of organization design or how can people work together from a systemic perspective or how do groups interact and so on. Thank you for having me.
Introducing Ben (PocketDAO)
Ben: I’m in Bali at the moment, so it’s a nice warm evening here and as always great to speak to people all around the world. I have always had my work in the tech and the purpose space.
I really think technology is a great thing for the world, but it really needs to be focused on the human component and be really fortunate to be able to work in some organizations that have tried to bring those two things together.
I got into Web 3 because it’s the best opportunity for us to build new systems that support human flourishing. The conversation that we’re gonna have today is about why it’s so important, but also the challenges that are in front of us, which are really huge, but all the great people on this call, I’m sure. I’m sure we can do some really cool things.