Recruiting and Retaining Employees in an Era of Staffing Shortages

To Our Community,

Staffing shortages are impacting businesses across the country. Our Co-op is no exception.

Today I am pleased to announce the next big push in our employment initiative, designed to recruit and retain highly qualified employees.

Below are four strategies being implemented immediately:

1) Enhanced referral bonus of $750, up from $300.

2) In-store advertising and promoting of open positions.

3) Enhanced immediate on-site interviews, which will connect the interview to Human Resources via Zoom, or phone, in order to facilitate faster and more efficient hiring.

4) Reiterating a previously articulated list of tips and techniques for store and unit managers to help with interviewing, recruitment, and retention.

I am also happy to report that our comprehensive salary review is near completion. You may remember we engaged a third-party organization to help us with this, one with specific knowledge of the Vt. and N.H. employment markets.

The data has been gathered and analyzed and a snapshot will be presented to our teams today. A final package with all of the data will be presented to us on December 6. After that date, the leadership team will review the data in detail and decide what next steps need to be taken.

In short, things are moving forward. I expect to be able to share details with you in a subsequent message.

Federal Vaccine Mandate

Last week I shared with you that the Co-op will not institute a vaccine mandate–but will implement weekly testing for employees who are not fully vaccinated. This is to comply with federal law while also honoring personal choice.

A document developed by HR and the leadership team explains the policy in detail. We have shared that document with all employees.

Keep in mind that currently, a court injunction continues to hold up implementation of the mandate.

Assuming the injunction is lifted, most elements of the policy—other than COVID-19 testing—will take effect on December 5th. The testing portion of the policy will go into effect on January 4, 2022.

Best of the Best

I am very pleased and proud to announce that we have won the Best Curbside Service and Best Health Food Store in the Valley News’ “Best of the Best.” Congratulations to all who work so diligently in these areas.

In serves to further underscore my comments that we have the best employees in the business, bar none. Thank you!

Now is the time to Run for the Co-op Board

If you have ever wanted to run for the Co-op board, now is the time to consider your candidacy. Our board election chair, Conicia Jackson, has written an excellent primer on the process, which I have pasted below in its entirety. My thanks to Conicia and all the members of our election team for their year-round efforts.

Interested in becoming more involved with the Co-op? Now is the opportunity! The HCCS Board Election Committee is seeking 4 wonderful and passionate Board candidates. Although the election is not until April 2021, we initiate the process now in order to give members time to consider running, ask questions and receive training in Board work.

The Board plays a critical role in ensuring the continued success and health of this vital organization. It represents all the member-owners in developing and maintaining the vision and long-term viability of the Co-op.

There are six open seats. Four seats are three-year terms. Two seats are open due to the resignation of individuals elected in 2021. These seats have two years remaining in their terms. The Board is proud to host a ZOOM forum on Monday, December 6, 2021 @ 5:30 PM to learn more about the requirements of becoming a candidate and to learn about board work.

For more information about elections, please contact Conicia Jackson at or you can visit our website to learn more about the Board and Co-op.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Learn About Your Board/Candidate Info Session Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 890 8165 0138
Passcode: 722837

Wrap Up

Thank you to all of our members and shoppers for the ongoing support. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday next week.

We will talk again on Wednesday. In the meantime, be kind to one another and to yourselves, and we look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.

Onward and upward,


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Paul Guidone

Paul Guidone, CFA, spent the better part of four decades in the investment management business here and abroad. He held positions ranging from analyst through Deputy Chairman and Group CEO, at organizations such as Citigroup (US) and The HSBC Group (London and Hong Kong). He joined the Co-op in 2016 as the CFO and in 2018 became Strategic Advisor to the General Manager. Paul was appointed by the Co-op Board as interim General Manager in March 2020 and General Manager in September 2020. To contact, email

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