Hiring Staff

Attract great staff and hire them confidently with the assistance of these resources.

From Starting to Parting

Our resource From Starting to Parting (PDF) helps congregations hire, support, and transition their staff. Written specifically with religious education and music staff in mind, most of the information is more broadly applicable.

Explore "From Starting to Parting" (PDF)

Background Checks

Conducting background checks on congregational staff and volunteers who work with vulnerable populations is critical. The increased use of background checks and reference checks by agencies that work with children often means sexual predators are attracted to institutions that don’t conduct them. Congregations across the nation are perceived as trusting and welcoming and thus are vulnerable to those seeking easy access to children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

More on Background Checks

Reference Checks

Reference checks for staff (and leaders and volunteers who are too new to have built trust) are essential to make sure that folks have the experience that they claim to have. Taking the time to check out people's stories can avoid preventable situations.

More on Reference Checks

Staffing for Diversity

We often want to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. This can lead to stale programming and keep out new ideas or ways of serving your community. Learn tips and implement processes that help to reduce unconscious bias and expand your hiring pool.

More on Staffing for Diversity

Position Description Template

A position description is helpful not just for a job search, but to guide the new employee in the expectations for the job, including:

  • Position Purpose (The reason the position exists and what it is meant to accomplish. Include the scope of responsibility and level of impact.)
  • Core Competencies (The expected behaviors, attitudes, and personal skills, each of which would apply to many or all job responsibilities.)
  • Essential Functions (Any function that is highly specialized and the person in this position has the specific skills and expertise to perform the function.)
  • Qualifications

Position Description Template (PDF)

Welcoming and Onboarding

Our Welcoming and Onboarding Checklist (Excel) can help you ensure that new staff are properly welcomed and that essential paperwork is properly handled. This resource includes lists for new employers, pre-hire tasks, onboarding, and new staff orientation.

On Hiring Members

We frequently get questions about hiring members and the challenges that come with having members on staff. Congregational leaders ask if the UUA has rules or recommendations about members as employees. While there is no prohibition from the UUA on hiring members, we do have some guidance.

Employment Agreements

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Model ministerial agreements can be found on our Employment Agreements page, as well as .

We do not have a model employment agreement or letter of hire for non-clergy staff. However, in November 2022, we made available this Guide to Setting Terms of Employment. It's "in beta" and we encourage you to submit feedback to comp@uua.org.

Provide a Personnel Policy Manual

In any work setting, employees should know what the congregation expects, how commonly occurring situations are handled, e.g. time-off and other benefits. A policy manual or handbook should address these issues. Without such a manual, decisions are ad hoc and the congregation will be open to claims of favoritism or unfair treatment, and even possible legal liability. Compliance with a policy manual will help to ensure that all employees are treated equitably.

More on Personnel Policy Manuals

About the Author

Jan Gartner

Jan is passionate about helping congregations live out their values within their walls!...

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