Groupe Pouliquen has 24 employees working in various departments including administration, sales, purchasing, logistics and packing. The average seniority of our staff members is 13 years, which makes for a dedicated team made up of experienced colleagues.
Recently, Groupe Pouliquen said goodbye to one of our employees when Michèle Elard retired after 22 years with the company. At the time of her departure, Michèle was working in the shallot and onion sorting department, but she had held various positions during her career here. For Gérard Quillévéré, who joined Groupe Pouliquen in 2002 and became its director in 2018, Michèle’s departure marks a milestone in the company’s history. “This is the first retirement: it’s a landmark moment. We’ve implemented a lot of automation to ease the load on our employees, but the expertise of the most senior staff members is indispensable for supervising and checking each and every kilogram of product.”
“You have to have an eye for it, and you need patience.”
That was Michèle Elard’s reply when asked what qualities she’s needed to succeed during her 22 years with Groupe Pouliquen. Throughout her time with the company, Michèle worked with over 100 traditional shallot and onion growers. She began her career at the Lanveur site, home to the bulk sorting process that stems and cleans shallots. In a single morning, up to 15 tonnes of vegetables can be sorted there for growers. After this initial stage, the shallots enter a second sorting area where they are prepared for packing. This is the department where Michèle was working when she hung up her overalls to enjoy her retirement.
Fresh vegetables: a family affair
“It’s not easy to recruit someone with all the same skills as Michèle, so we’re going to hire a junior staff member and train them. Michèle’s daughter, who has also been working with Groupe Pouliquen since 1999, is going to take over her role in the sorting department.” For Michèle, Groupe Pouliquen seems to run in the family! Her son, Franck, was the first to join the company in 1998. One year later, Michèle and her daughter Magalie came to work in the sorting and packing departments. Franck is responsible for grading.
Supporting a local labour force
For Groupe Pouliquen, it’s important to build a labour force based on local people. “We provide work for people living here. We’ve grown the company in such a way that our employees enjoy working here, and that helps minimise staff turnover. For summer holiday replacements, we also hire students who’ve returned home from school to stay with their parents.” And Groupe Pouliquen doesn’t limit its efforts to internal HR: “We try to work with local suppliers and transporters whenever possible. Our focus on working locally creates a sort of Finisterien and Breton solidarity chain, which guarantees our customers reliable service and also contributes to the growth of our region. This is very important to us.”
The creation of a dedicated organic vegetable processing department will lead to 4 or 5 new staff members being recruited in the coming months. Groupe Pouliquen aims to continue growing, while maintaining its high-quality service for complete customer satisfaction.