Worker Owner Candidacy

Graphic with the title of "Worker Owner Curriculum" and a page of workbook

While D3’s worker owner group began last year with only five members, the plan has always been to grow the ownership group.  After many years of working together to transition the company, the worker owners were faced with the question of what new employees need to know to effectively participate as owners of D3, so we put together a six-month curriculum covering a variety of topics and institutional knowledge and implemented it last fall with four of our employees.  The  Worker Owner Candidacy Program is a 3-stage process starting the day of hiring.


Phase 1: Initial Employment

During this phase, an employee is expected to focus their attention on learning about D3’s operations in general, understanding the larger ecosystem of Metro Detroit nonprofits, and gaining confidence in their role within D3 as an employee. 

At least 6 months of continuous service is required before an employee is eligible for Phase 2. After those six months, the ownership group will vote at their regular meeting on the employee moving to Phase 2 of the program, where they would complete the worker-owner curriculum.  If the ownership group does not feel confident in the employee moving onto the next phase,, a plan will be discussed with them to help the employee achieve eligibility.


Phase 2: Worker-ownership curriculum. 

In the second phase, the worker owner candidate will work through the ownership curriculum with guidance from the curriculum committee members. The curriculum includes topics such as understanding cooperatives, D3’s financials, sociocracy, as well as learning more about each current work-owner and their roles at D3.  More details about the curriculum will be explained in a future blog post.

Upon successful completion of the curriculum and an additional 6 months of employment, the ownership group will vote on the candidate beginning phase 3, becoming a probationary member.


Phase 3: Provisionary Membership

As a provisional member, the candidate will immerse themselves in the ownership group of D3, being included on emails, in meetings, and whatever other business is conducted by the owners. Provisionary members do not have a vote during meetings and are not eligible for patronage dividends, but will participate in discussions during ownership meetings and can help shape decisions that are voted on by the owners. As a provisionary member, all matters of the ownership group must be kept confidential according to the standards set for the ownership group.

After completion of at least 6 months of the provisionary membership phase, the ownership group will vote to invite the candidate to the worker ownership group. In addition to the eligibility criteria above, worker-owners will consider an employee’s commitment to and understanding of D3’s mission.

ew members are on-boarded twice a year.  The decision to do this biannually instead of quarterly helps simplify record keeping, dividend calculations, and annual taxes.  

All employees who are extended an offer to participate in the candidacy process have an opportunity to decline or withdraw their participation at any point if they decide that ownership is not for them. Continued employment is not predicated on being extended or accepting an offer of worker-ownership. If an employee declines an offer to join, they will still be a valued D3 employee.

Read all of the posts in our series Worker Ownership


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