by Pamela Reagan
For the first time in 33 years, the Brattleboro Food Co-op Board of Directors will be interviewing prospective candidates for the general manager's position. Essential to the success of the process is the guidance of our Co-op community, so the board has sought input from shareholders, staff, and management.
As Alex Gyori starts his next great adventure in life after retirement in July 2015, he can reflect back upon his dedicated and loyal service as the general manager, having led the Co-op through many changes over the years.
Filling Alex’s shoes is a tall order as he will be a hard act to follow. Due to the challenge, it is important for the board to take the proper steps and time for finding the best qualified candidate. Carolee Colter, a cooperative consultant now with CDS Consulting Co-op, has written very helpful guidelines for hiring a general manager and the steps for the hiring process. Carolee has worked with co-ops throughout the nation, bringing with her a strong interest in creating a positive workplace.
For further reading about the hiring of a general manager, Carolee’s article can be found in the November-December 2008 issue on the Cooperative Grocer Magazine website www.cooperativegrocer.coop/articles/2009-01-19/hiring-general-manager.
Starting with the steps below, it can take a co-op anywhere from three months to one year to hire a new general manager. The board of the Brattleboro Food Co-op started this process in September 2014 and will hopefully have a new general manager in place sometime in March 2015.
Here are the steps from Carolee’s timeline:
Step 1: Committees & Public Input
Establish a sub-group committee (the first group search committee) to determine the first steps in the process, such as placing ads in various publications, websites, gathering the interview questions from the board, shareholders, Co-op staff, including establishing the general manager’s job summary.
Step 2: Full Board Ratification of Selection Process
The board must agree on the required qualifications for the position. Identifying and prioritizing qualifications is the single most important use of the full board’s time in the hiring process.
Step 3: Board Interviews of Selected Candidates
Begin the first round of interviewing screened candidates by the board using the input derived from the questions from the staff, management and shareholders along with the qualifications matrix from Carolee’s hiring a general manager packet.
Step 4: Final Round Management & Board
Final on-site interviews of candidates with team management reps and Board of Directors.
Step 5: Selecting the New General Manager
The full Board of Directors makes a final decision and offers the job to the top candidate.
Step 6: Drum Roll, Please...
Introduce the next general manager to the shareholders and staff. Offer a warm welcome to him or her from our Co-op Community and for the future of the Co-op!