Diversity and inclusion
Common Knowledge is committed to developing and fostering a culture of diversity within an equitable workplace where all people are respected and valued. The co-op commits to taking active steps to reflect the diversity of the communities it works in. This policy provides a framework to which all other policies should align.
All decisions regarding recruitment, hiring, promotion, compensation, people development decisions such as training, and all other terms and conditions of work, will be made without regard to race (including colour, nationality, ancestry, ethnic or place of origin), gender (including reassignment), pregnancy and maternity, sexual orientation, disability (physical or mental), religion or beliefs, marital status or age.
The co-op will better reach its overall goals if it is successful in systematically identifying and removing barriers to full participation in all aspects of our work. Increasing diversity has been consistently shown to help business succeed. It is essential for reaching both our financial and social goals.
Common Knowledge will:
- be guided by the principle that equity means more than treating people in the same way; it requires special measures and the accommodation of differences.
- advocate for learning and development opportunities to raise awareness and build understanding of equity and diversity in practice.
- not tolerate discriminatory behaviour, such as harassment, name-calling, and disparaging jokes, and will take responsibility for appropriately addressing such incidents.
- include a commitment to diversity in the selection process for who we bring into our community.
It is the responsibility of everyone at to ensure that we uphold these principles of equity and diversity in all our practices.
Hiring & Industrial Reform
- Common Knowledge will make every reasonable effort to ensure that it is a representative employer of women, men, trans and non-binary people, members of visible minority groups and people with disabilities across all the organisation's operations.
- To do this, Common Knowledge reaches out to community organisations and fellow co-operatives who seek to serve these groups to develop recruitment strategies and support plans.
- Common Knowledge will endeavour, where feasible, to eliminate systemic barriers to advancement and/or redress the under-utilisation of designated groups.
- Common Knowledge is committed to trialling innovative ways to tackle the inherent bias within the tech industry, with particular emphasis on supporting and encouraging women, non-binary people and visible minority groups to prosper and succeed in a traditionally male dominated industry. So far we have undertaken a number of initiatives with partner companies:
- Hiring a female developer as an apprentice to go through Founders and Coders training
- Prioritising job applications from women and minoritised people and offering more support where possible
Democracy, Equality & Inclusion
- Common Knowledge as a worker co-operative subscribes to the Co-operative Values and Principles.
- Common Knowledge uses policy, ritual, practices and culture to promote democracy, equality, fairness, respect, autonomy and worker power and avoid power imbalances that may rely on interpersonal or structural discrimination.
- Common Knowledge is a flat hierarchy organisation. It cultivates a Sociocratic consensus-based decision making culture so that each member has one vote. As part of formal proposal making, it strives to allow transparency and wide participation by non-Member collaborators.
- Common Knowledge reflects on its practice and structuring of meetings to make equal space for the full diversity of workers and collaborators, regardless of characteristics with a particular consideration for conversational dynamics that relate to neurodiversity, gender and class, in order to tackle informal hierarchy and ensure everyone is heard. Practices include:
- Check ins and pronoun announcements at the beginning of calls.
- Agenda consent check at the beginning of the call.
- Check outs at the end to reflect on conduct of the meeting.
- Rotation of meeting facilitation and minuting roles.
- Rounds-based discussion to avoid cross talk, encourage equal participation and real listening.
- Common Knowledge maintains documentation of practices, policies, projects and organisation to minimise gatekeeping, exclusive knowledge and secret keeping.
- Common Knowledge encourages autonomy, responsibility and accountability from all staff. It actively encourages members to take leadership and initiative through responsibility areas.
- Common Knowledge as a remote organisation uses “in person days”, a culture of “buddy chats” (regular one to one meetings between all staff) and other in-person events to ensure solidarity amongst members. We encourage all members to get to know each other to overcome social isolation, particularly as it might emerge along interpersonal or structural discriminative lines.
- Common Knowledge cultivates a continuous feedback culture to capture concerns from all staff about interpersonal and organisational relationships. Retrospective exercises are held at the end of every meeting, every two weeks at the end of our working period (’a cycle’), at the end of every project, every quarter to coincide with planning, and after big decisions are made through consensus decision making after a review period.
- Common Knowledge actively engaged in study internally and with third parties to improve their understanding and enacting of non-hierarchical, intersectional, liberatory organising, such as:
- Involvement in the Feminise Politics Now study network
- Involvement in a inter-cooperative research and action group on sustainable organisation
- Regular outreach to other co-operatives and non-hierarchical organisation to share and solicit advice
- Support to the RadHR project, a free, open, collaborative library of radical HR & operations policies
- Running an internal reading group on non-hierarchical, intersectional, liberatory organising
- Hiring in external facilitators such as Pete Burden to train us in methods of emotionally mature relating
This statement is made pursuant to the Living Wage. The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.
In line with our co-operative values, We Are Open Co-op is committed to paying at least the Living Wage.
- We are committed to paying all our members and staff at least the Living Wage
- We ensure that all casual workers engaged directly by us are paid at least the Living Wage
- We have set up our procurement procedures to engage with contractors, potential contractors and services to encourage them, as far as possible, to also pay the Living Wage to people working for them.
This statement is made pursuant to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
In line with our co-operative values, We Are Open Co-op is committed to ensuring there is no modern slavery or human trafficking within any part of its business or supply chain.
Ownership of this Policy
Everyone at Common Knowledge has a role to play in supporting our commitment to diversity and work equality.
Each employee, regardless of position, is responsible for applying Common Knowledge’s Diversity Policy on an ongoing basis. Each Member, Associate Member, Apprentice Member and collaborator is expected to treat all others with dignity and respect and in a fair and non-discriminatory manner in all work related dealings.
This policy is fully supported by all the Members of Common Knowledge, who accept ultimate responsibility for ensuring everyone else is aware of and complies with this policy.
Monitoring and Updating the Policy
The policy will be monitored by the Governance Steward and updated at least once a year as needs and best practice change.