We engage people a little differently than most businesses. We believe that there is much that is wrong with our current system of economic relationships. So we hope to do better, little bit by little bit, in our own systems.
We like to strike a balance between knowing what we’re after and respecting our community’s insight into what we might need. You may have a better sense of certain needs than we do. Therefore, we don’t create a role, with a position description, and find out who can fit into it. That can be a little bit of round hole, square peg.
So, if you can demonstrate that you understand what we are about and can articulate how your skills could be successfully applied to our model, we want to hear it. That won’t guarantee recruitment, as there is a whole raft of considerations involved, but we want you to know that we are open to ideas.
There is a caveat, though—there’s a limit to how much time we can spend talking to people who may or may not fit with our team. You’re going to have to be a little independent in the way you approach us.
We Are Humans Project doesn't, at this point, hire people in the usual sense. But we do keep our minds open to working with people in any fruitful way available. And we also make working with us more inclusive and more gift economy1 oriented.
At present, if you have a skill that would benefit us, and an inclination to help with our work, you will need to be independently set up to receive payment legally.
If that's the case, we can enter into an agreement and either pay for your work with Australian dollars, or with our services, or in any other way we can legitimately help you. Either way, you are considered part of our work community and are treated as part of the team.
Is this legal? Yes. The Australian Tax Office taxes such exchanges at the ‘dollar value’ of the services rendered. While, on broad societal terms, we might debate the question of converting community exchange into payable currency for taxation, this is Australian law and we respect and abide by it.
Is that worth it, if you have to pay tax, but not receive any money? That’s up to you, but generally, we think yes. We can help you assess the overall tax burden against what you receive.
These arrangements can also include features that allow gift other economy principles, such as entering into compassionate debt, or adjustment of terms according to circumstance. It’s all a matter of humanity.
We Are Humans Project is still very small, but at its conception it’s designed to transition (as soon as it reaches a certain minimum size) to a workers’ co-operative.
Co-operatives are essentially businesses that are owned and controlled by a group of members for a common benefit. A workers’ co-operative is owned and run by the people who work within it, not by an external board.
Workers’ co-operatives often transition workers into owners by a process of traditional employment: you get employed, work for them for a while, then you become a member, and therefore an owner. That works well, but as described above, we wanted something more flexible and inclusive than traditional employment.
Anyone in our community—workers, clients, suppliers, anyone who understands our mission—can become an owner. But you will have to work for the organisation in some ongoing capacity and develop a relationship of trust and commonality. It’s just that what we consider an ‘ongoing capacity’ is not limited to traditional employment.
The process of becoming an owner is also quite long (a minimum of three years) and reasonably involved. We want to know who you are, and we want to come to think you’re great.
Why do we do it like this?
Well, we are all humans, and we believe this is a more human way of conducting ourselves as a business within our community. We feel it’s a more human way of interacting with each other.
We also think businesses are intimately accountable to the communities within which they grow. And we believe they are more likely to flourish if they grow directly out of the community.
In the end, we don’t know that this is the best way forward. We are always looking for better, more human ways of doing things. We’ll no doubt tweak the way we operate as we go along.
But we believe that the experiment is important, because it’s time for a more humane world.