Cooperative Businesses are currently thriving and booming in the USA. It has now been a while since organizations have realized that Cooperative General Managers are one of their few assets to increase the efficiency and overall sales of their business. While this post has been in existence for a long time, the dynamics have now changed. There is a need to go back to the basics and understand the few details of the post that help the individual decide whether he/she is capable and deserving of the job. Let’s learn about ‘Cooperative General Manager’.
Cooperative General Manager: Job Description, Salary And Duties
While the job seems fairly easy to understand, there are a few details that are important to know before considering yourself to be a good fit for the post. Be it an executive role or any other important post in a cooperative, information like Salary, Roles and Responsibilities, Selection Process and Job Description need to be completely understood before deciding whether this is something you want to take up as a career or in your future. To make it easier for you, let us discuss the important parts one at a time.
The main job of a cooperative general manager is to oversee all day to day operations that take place in the organization. The individual needs to make sure that correct and ample steps are being taken to reach the targets and goals set at the starting of the year. Moreover, they need to ensure that any inefficiencies and misconduct are immediately brought to notice and solved with mutual agreements on both sides. The Cooperative General Manager is selected as well as is supposed to report to the Board of Directors and is answerable to them for all planning and organization related decisions.
As per statistics, the average annual pay for an individual in this post in the US is $51,992 per year. Even though not all cooperatives pay the same for this post, the factors that are considered before deciding on the compensation are more or less the same. What the pool of candidates is seeking, what other organizations are paying and what the local labor market is paying are some of the essential factors to take into consideration. Apart from all this, the general manager also receives a stipend towards health insurance and a 10% discount on all purchases at the cooperation.
To determine the salary, a good idea is to know from the candidate the compensation he/she expects. You can further ask them how much they were compensated in their previous executive roles and how flexible they are to negotiating. Once you get an idea about the candidate and his/her expectations, you can put forth your final proposal. Keep in mind that if the candidate is inexperienced, you initially start with a small amount and then gradually move up based on the performance review.
Contingent Pay has recently gained increased value in the cooperative industry. Pay based on achievement of results can be a good way to ensure productivity. This model of payment takes skillful designing and timelines but reaps good results in the end.
These roles vary from company to company and may change routinely. However, here are a few major duties of a Cooperative General Manager –
This includes managing contracts, insurance, utilities and other essentials that help the cooperative to function effectively. Maintaining appropriate knowledge of the industry trends and decent relations with distributors and stakeholders is important too.
2. Human Resources
Encouraging employees by giving them sufficient training and ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Secondly, preparing a budget payroll beforehand and developing a structure that divides work equally between departments. Overseeing all personnel policies and updating employees as and when needed.
Collaborating with the board to make sure that the cash flow projections are on track with the goals and targets set prior to the financial year. Also staying on top of research about the industry and suggesting any acquisitions, negotiations, relocations or expansion plans that may be of profit to the cooperation.
Creating marketing and advertising strategies to increase outreach. Making sure that the strategies are relevant to the target audience and are being carried out at the right time for the right cause. Monitoring the success of these campaigns through metrics and analytics.
How is a cooperative general manager selected?
Different companies have different selection processes for this post. However, choosing a candidate that is understanding, trustworthy and qualified is one of the most important jobs of all members on the board of directors. This may feel like a little too much responsibility, but the success of a cooperative depends more on the general manager as compared to any other employee. It is indeed true that general managers throughout history have been from diverse backgrounds and have still managed to leave a mark in the roles they performed.
While there is not one fixed skill set that we can expect the general manager of cooperatives to possess, there are a few qualities and values that every company expects from the general manager of its company –
- Leadership Skills
- Effective Communication
- Prior experience in planning and budgeting
- Proven experience in the same post or a similar executive role
- Time management and meeting close deadlines and
Without a doubt, hiring a cooperative general manager has always been a risk and extremely uncertain for the board members in the beginning. Even though there is no such person as ‘right for the job’, if you invest yourself in the process, choose a committee that is patient and experienced, you can get a candidate that is not only experienced with the post but also informed about your organization and the industry.
How does the General Manager represent the Cooperative?
Apart from all responsibilities of a General Manager, representing the cooperative needs the most careful attention. Believe it or not, not only professional etiquette but also the personal behavior of the individual plays a role in representing the identity and image of the company. A cooperative general manager is the best person for this job since they are aware of all day to day operations of the company and there is no one else who can be more transparent and elaborate about its current workings and initiatives.
- Cooperatives – Other cooperatives and cooperative organizations hold monthly/annual meetings to discuss the industry and its recent trends. The General manager is responsible for representing its company in these meetings and updating them about his/her research in the field. Discussions on what drives the target audience and what strategies may not have worked for the company take place in these groups.
- Community – From customers to investors, this consists of all stakeholders. The General Manager is required to be present on occasions like business social events, raising funds for charities or holding training and workshops for employees.
- Government – There often arise legal or policy issues that may create conflicts between the members of the cooperative and policymakers. The General Managers speak and consult with regulatory officials at the higher level to resolve such issues.
In the simplest of terms, having a cooperative general manager is essential to the existence of an organization. The difference between all other posts and that of the Cooperative General Manager is that during the selection process, most boards prefer to spend some informal time with the candidate. If you are keen to work for an executive role and take care of day to day operations of a cooperative organization, this post is the perfect chance for you to kickstart your profession.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the relationship between the General Manager and the Board?
Respect and Understanding are the two pillars this relationship stands on. Even though they should not interfere in each other’s affairs, they should be an active participant in staying updated and if needed, giving recommendations to one another. If one does not like a decision made by the other, it should be solved through mutual discussion. While the manager is not a part of the board, he/she should be present in all meetings as a non-voting participant.
- What is one of the most common challenges faced by the Cooperative General Manager?
Conflict of interest between the director/board and the cooperative manager is one of the most common challenges faced. The general manager needs to take a few decisions that will ultimately affect both the director and the cooperative. Methods of obtaining capital, Equity Redemption Decisions, Price differentials or special concessions are some examples of these decisions.
- How detailed should the Cooperative General Managers Report to the Board be?
The goal of the report is to make sure that the Board is not surprised by any decision taken by you. Even if it is not a protocol, keep the board informed and updated from your side. Few details that you can include in the report –
- Balance sheet with comparison to previous years
- Summary of current and past activities
- Progress towards goals set at the beginning of the financial year
- What are some of the common questions asked in a Cooperative General Manager Interview?
It is true that the interviewers selected for this process not just evaluate you on the basis of your skillset and qualifications, but also pay primary attention to the kind of prior practical experience you have in the executive field. While questions vary from company to company, here are a few questions you are assured to be asked and can prepare for beforehand –
- Why do you want to be hired as a cooperative manager for specifically our organization?
- What were your roles and responsibilities at your last position as a cooperative manager?
- What are your pay expectations for this post?
- What techniques and tactics do you use to be your most productive self and meet deadlines?