As more states legalize the use of cannabis, more consumers than ever before are entering the market. This is a growth industry that has, until now, been kept under wraps. The use of cannabis has become more acceptable in Westernized cultures which has led to its legalization.
Legalization has not come without regulations. There are strict laws, rules, and regulations that those who enter the cannabis industry need to adhere to. A high degree of accountability is established to make sure that growers and suppliers remain compliant.
More people are entering the industry to gain access to the burgeoning sector of users. Those who do not choose to open their businesses are actively seeking employment in the cannabis industry. There is a range of jobs that now exist due to the emergence of the cannabis market.
Growers need employees to help them manage the delicate growth and harvesting process. Dispensaries need budtenders to assist customers. Behind the scenes, there are employees responsible for the administration of these businesses.
People who have never shown any interest in the cannabis market are suddenly turning to it as a new job sector they can join.
Some businesses do not deal in cannabis itself who are benefiting from the legalization of the plant. Packaging companies would be a prime example.
Thinking back to a few years ago, the cannabis market was a lot smaller. Many people ran their growing operations or dispensaries single-handedly. Now that cannabis is becoming like any other formal job sector, a sound HR strategy is needed.
Having an HR strategy helps the business hire the right people for the right jobs at the right time.
Here are some key elements needed for a successful HR strategy in the cannabis industry:
1. Have a sound hiring process
Hiring the type of employee who will add value to your business is essential. Without a thorough application and interview process, it’s likely you’ll wind up with an employee who won’t make an active contribution. More than one person should make hiring decisions.
People see things from different perspectives. Something you may have been blind to what will be glaringly obvious to someone else.
Before hiring, have a clear picture of what you want from the employee. Write a detailed job description of what the employee would be expected to do. Think about the team you have now and the overall impression you want to create through your employees.
Write down a few personal traits the ideal applicant should have. Brainstorm the types of skills you’d like them to display.
You can also think about what type of background work experience a candidate should have. Most applicants won’t have experience in the cannabis industry, but they may have worked in jobs that require similar skills.
For example, many budtenders are coming from the retail market where they have sales experience.
With these factors in mind, write a clear advertisement for the position. Screen the applications. Conduct a thorough interview incorporating questions that will help you see if the person has what it takes to work for you.
The person you hire may not meet all your requirements but should at least fit the majority.
2. Develop a training program
The cannabis industry is evolving. It is also strictly monitored. Rules and regulations are involved. High levels of accountability mean that violations of the laws don’t earn owners a slap on the risk.
There are hefty fines for non-compliance. Egregious disregard for the rules and regulations can result in your business being shut down. This is naturally something any business owner would prefer to avoid.
It is impossible to expect employees to understand all the complexities and nuances of the laws and regulations around the growing and selling of cannabis. This is something they need to learn once they start the job.
It’s in the owner’s best interest to make sure that employees are well-trained. This will prevent slip-ups with devastating long-term consequences.
Have a robust training program that all employees must complete. After that, you can have refresher sessions. As soon as new laws or regulations are laid down, immediately train your staff on them.
3. Write an employee handbook
An employee handbook is a vital tool. There are times an employee will be faced with a decision. Knowing that there is a handbook to consult will give them the confidence to make it. It will also assure that they’ll make the right one if they have the necessary information.
Employee handbooks will contain all the necessary technical information an employee would need. They also need to know about the expectations of your business. You can include matters like dress code in an employee handbook.
An employee handbook should be so detailed that an employee can get all the answers they need from it. A generic handbook won’t do.
You need to have one that is specific to your business. Handbooks may need to be revised when essential issues and changes to the laws come up.
4. Regard your HR strategy as a living system
An HR strategy is not a static system. It needs to grow and evolve as your business does. To keep your HR strategy in line with the growth and change of your business, you need to review it frequently.
You can use skills audits to see where your employees need assistance. As their employment continues, you can monitor whether they are acquiring these skills. This will tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your training and development programs.
Set realistic goals and targets for your employees and monitor them. Support those who don’t meet their objectives. Establish what the barriers are and together with the employee develop a plan to overcome the challenges.
Provide additional training and guidance if necessary. Implement a mentorship program in your business so that new employees have a specific person to approach if they’re unsure of something.
Regular interaction with employees will give you a far better grasp on how they’re managing than formal performance appraisals and reviews. Constant and consistent feedback will give your employees a chance to improve continuously.