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Human Resources Specialist Fedco Seeds

  • Date Posted September 22, 2022
  • Location Clinton, ME
  • Category Agriculture / Business
  • Job type Full-Time
Company description

Welcome to Fedco Seeds, your source for cold-hardy selections especially adapted to our demanding Northeast climate. Each year we observe hundreds of varieties, selecting only the best for inclusion in our catalogs. Through our product lines and cultural hints, we encourage sustainable growing methods. We offer a large selection of certified-organic cultivars and regional heirloom varieties. We buy products from all over the world.

Fedco has five divisions: Seeds, Potatoes, Onions and Exotics, Organic Growers Supply, Trees, and Bulbs, and sends out three catalogs annually. We work out of three warehouses on the Bellsqueeze and Hinckley Roads in Clinton, Maine. We are primarily a mail-order business and do not have a retail store. See our current responses to COVID-19 for current information about curbside shopping and pickup at Fedco. Click here for directions to our warehouses.

Our big annual retail events are our booth at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine, the Bulbs pickup and surplus sale day, and periodic visits to other special events. We do not take phone or fax orders.

Because frosts can occur in our location nine months of the year, and the ground often remains frozen for five months from late November until mid-April, we have evolved a seasonal shipping schedule for perishable items.

  • We ship trees and perennial plants only in the spring.
  • We ship fall bulbs and garlic only in fall just before planting time.
  • We ship seed potatoes and onion sets only in April and May.
  • We ship seeds from January through October, then take a break to prepare next year’s catalog.
  • We ship books, supplies and cover crops year round.

We have been in the seed business since 1978. We took on the Tree order from John Bunker in 1983, added fall Bulbs in 1984, picked up potatoes from Tom Roberts in 1985, and the Organic Grower Supply order from MOFGA in 1988. Beginning from a Maine base with 98 orders the first year, we now serve growers in all 50 states, filling over 58,000 orders totaling $6 million annually.

We are a cooperative, one of the few seed companies so organized in the United States. Because we do not have an individual owner or beneficiary, profit is not our primary goal. Consumers own 60% of the cooperative and worker members 40%. Consumer and worker members share proportionately in the cooperative’s profits through our annual patronage dividends.

Our cooperative structure gives workers a real voice in running the company and a real stake in its success, enabling us to attract and retain talented workers. Year after year our staff turnover has been very low.

Our company culture derives from our history as a cooperative. Our first customers were other cooperatives and we developed many of our procedures specifically to serve them. Although we have diversified, a significant proportion of our business still comes from cooperative or group orders. Our dedicated group-order coordinators are partners in our business. We encourage you to make cooperation work for you by forming ordering groups to take advantage of our generous volume discounts. It is easy to form a group: get together with friends, neighbors, co-workers or other members of your club, grange, county or state organic chapter, church or coop. See more information about sending your group order in the mail or about group ordering online.

The cooperative ethic recognizes that we are all in this together. What is good for our managers should be good for our workers and good for our customers and vice versa.

Job description

This Specialist position is a full-time year-round position created to support all workers at Fedco while upholding our co-op values, fair policies and democratic processes. 

The full-time, part-time and seasonal nature of our work creates changing teams across all four seasons. The Human Resource Specialist will support consistency of practices across teams to ensure worker rights and legal responsibilities of Fedco are met, and that workers at all levels of the company have the support to flourish.

Responsibilities:

  • Personnel Committee work
      • Serve as a permanent member of the Personnel Committee and provide administrative support and research 
      • Ensure compliance with procedures for the development of new job descriptions and job postings
      • Communicate with Personnel Committee about Fedco’s compliance with legal and safety requirements
      • Support the work of the Personnel Committee in upholding our cooperative values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and ensure consistent implementation Fedco-wide
      • Participate with the coordination of work collective surveys and “threshing sessions” 
      • Draft policies as needed
      • Maintain a network of independent mediators to assist with conflict resolution as necessary
      • Work with Personnel Committee to guide the “Grievance Process” and any conflict-resolution processes 
  • Employee relations, supporting the existing workforce
  • Support workers in conflict to resolve it in healthy and restorative ways,  to restore harmony and support the smooth functioning of our operation.  Listen to the pulse of Fedco and address conflict before it gets out of hand.
  • Support Branch Coordinators and hiring managers to ensure that all workers receive annual performance evaluations, including solicitation of co-worker feedback
  • Support Branch Coordinators to ensure that all workers have current job descriptions
  • Develop a secure system for maintaining personnel files to effectively track updated job descriptions, work agreements, necessary payroll documents
  • Ensure that worker information, including emergency contact, is kept up-to-date and appropriately accessible
  • Provide and/or procure training for improving communication, conflict resolution and team building to support the needs of workers
  • Participate in or provide coaching/training for suspensions, terminations and exit interviews
  • Review and support Fedco’s compliance with internal policies, working closely with the payroll staff, Personnel Committee and other teams
  • Pre-Employee relations (Hiring, orientation)
      • Ensure our hiring practices are consistent across Fedco and legally compliant
      • Ensure timely and effective internal job postings
      • Guide or support recruitment efforts for external hiring
      • Create and maintain a system to store and retrieve current and historic job applications
      • Participate in or provide coaching/training for applicant screening and job interviews 
      • Develop thorough orientation practices for new hires and ensure consistency across all of Fedco
      • Work to create, maintain and distribute orientation materials to all workers with guidance and support from the Personnel Committee and hiring managers
  • Legal compliance and policy creation
    • Actively participate in HR professional associations, such as SHRM, and stay informed of regional trends and new developments
    • Work with Branch Coordinators to ensure legal compliance and serve as the liaison between Fedco and our public partners such as OSHA, Department of Labor and other regulatory bodies pertinent to Fedco 
    • Interact with legal consultants to assure Fedco understands all legal obligations
 

Qualifications and Required Skills:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrates interpersonal and conflict-resolution skills
  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills 
  • Excellent research and analytical skills
  • Ability to act with kindness, empathy, and confidentiality in communications with people from a wide variety of backgrounds
  • Knowledge of or familiarity with applicable labor laws; ability to research and access experts in the field
  • Computer proficiency
  • Maintain cooperative values and support diversity, equity and inclusion throughout Fedco.
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Fedco Seeds Inc. is a cooperative seed and garden supply company with three annual catalogs and a website (fedcoseeds.com).

Compensation this position is : hourly, $20/hr + Application instructions Please click here to sign in and view application details.
If you are not registered, you'll be prompted to do so. Don't worry, it's free! DeadlineOctober 17, 2022

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