Recruitment process review

Hi all !

In the last Team Recruitment and Onboarding meeting, we reviewed the recruitment process from start to finish (presentations, one-on-ones, exploring membership and associate membership). This was motivated by three things: a commitment to constantly review and improve; the evolving nature of the project; and the fact that there has been a lack of clarity recently regarding policy and working methods.

There are four main areas that we have addressed:

  • The buddy system (particularly during the exploring membership phase)
  • Clarity regarding deadlines (exploring and associate membership)
  • Expectations regarding new members
  • Increasing diversity

The buddy system
There were a few glitches after the last presentation, where we didn’t know what Exploring Members were doing, on the one hand, and they didn’t know what was required for taking the next steps, on the other. With regard to the latter, we propose adding a slide to the presentation to provide more clarity about what to expect in the coming weeks should people wish to take the next steps. With regard to the former, we propose setting up a dedicated pool of buddies from the current Full Members, who commit to being up to date with both the Buddy System Manual and the Onboarding Manual, and who are prepared to stay connected to their Exploring Members for this 3-week period. Once we have established the buddy pool, we will organise a meeting to go over the basics and make sure that everyone is on the same page :slight_smile:

Clarity regarding deadlines
This is another area where policy and practice have been out of sync recently. People who attend a presentation have 3 weeks to fill in the form, meet a Full Member for a one-on-one, attend a team and/or plenary meeting and make their decision. There will always be exceptions, and we want to flexibly approach each new application on a case-by-case basis. However, if there are no clear reasons otherwise, these deadlines need to be clearly communicated and respected. It is important that the buddy take some responsibility in communicating this well. We’re at a critical stage in the project, and there are good reasons why we try to condense the recruitment process into manageable chunks of time and energy. Where associate membership is concerned, this period should last for 3 months. Our experience shows us that most people are clear, one way or the other, after this period. As always, there will be exceptions and specific cases that require flexibility, but our starting point should be that once the 3-month deadline arrives, Associate Members will be ready to make a decision or have a clear proposal about what needs to happen in order to do so. If the latter, the Full Members can make an informed decision about what happens next.

Expectations regarding new members
It’s a big deal joining a cohousing project. Not everybody is aware of how much time and effort goes into self-managing it, and why we do things the way we do with regard to our working methods. That’s why having a buddy who clearly communicates these things is so important. The documents that we ask new members to fill in are there to make our lives easier, as are the deadlines. Up until this point, we have approved pretty much all applications for associate membership. This has sometimes meant a lot of chasing on our part, by both buddies and Team R&O, in order to get the checklist completed. In the future, we propose that if Exploring Members don’t have the time to read the key documents, or the inclination to move quickly with this thing, then perhaps this is not the time for them to become Associate Members. There’s absolutely no judgement in this. This is an intense time to be joining the Reef, and it’s perfectly understandable that some people’s enthusiasm may not line up with the associative levels of time and commitment required.

Increasing diversity
It’s an age-old adage of cohousing communities that diversity is a wonderful principle that in reality is very hard to manifest. Which is no reason not to do everything we can to achieve it :slight_smile: There are two aspects to this: commitment to the importance of our inclusive units from the blueprint; and commitment to the diversity of our Full Members group. There is also the added element of needing to find the balance between 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom households, which the communes in Brussels require. All of these are the ongoing focus of discussion and policy-making, as some of you will have seen from other recent posts.



I don’t want to split hairs, it’s just that it is very important to me to have clarity and a shared understanding on this issue. So summarised in one sentence, the policy for Associate Members would be “three months, with flexibility on a case-by-case basis, but never vastly going beyond three months”.

For me the motivation for this is time, energy and making space for new Reeflings. If somebody would need a lot of time after the three months to be able to commit, I prefer them to leave temporarily and come back when they are ready (as has happened in a couple of cases lately).


No further remarks. All clear.
Are you going to say something about it during a plenary? Or what is the way forward now?

Happy to say something about it during a plenary, but I don’t think it’s needed, as all of the above is pretty self-explanatory. As far as policy goes, most of it is just a clarification of what exists already. It could be argued that the not automatically consenting to all Exploring Members is level 3, but as the related decision involves all Full Members consenting anyway, I would say it’s all good unless someone voices a concern here…

Excellent work, @ChrisM !

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