Human Resources is a massive topic in the cannabis industry, and our related website pages get more traffic than most other pages on CUE Cannabis. HR is a struggle for all business owners, but especially cannabis businesses, who’s workforce may face many complications that can arise from employment at a cannabis business. While those challenges may not be completely eliminated soon, there are a number of interesting trends that are addressing some of the ways HR operates in cannabis dispensaries.
Focus on Budtenders
You’ve likely heard HR professionals say that your people are your most valuable asset. We wholeheartedly agree, and in cannabis dispensaries, we think you can narrow that further to budtenders. Now, owners and executives are coming around as well. It makes sense; 90% of the interaction between your business and your customers happens with the budtenders. Dispensary owners are increasing wages for the budtender position, providing additional incentives and perks, and investing in substantial product education and training. Positive customer experiences with budtenders leads to good reviews, return customers, and customer referrals. Poor customer experiences with budtenders can lead to the exact opposite. As markets mature and competition amongst dispensaries heats up, owners are making moves to further empower this position, including dispensary management software such as Best In Grow. BIG is a comprehensive software suite that provides a variety of tools specifically for budtenders including private chat groups, news alerts, brand and knowledge groups, document and SOP storage, checklists and tasks, and shift scheduling. We consider software like Best In Grow to be “Top-Level Software” on our cannabis software hierarchy of needs (learn more in this blog post), we recommend it as a next-step for all of our partners that have their foundational software in-place and fully implemented.
Integrated Management/ Admin HR software
HR management and administration is a massive task, even for small businesses. If you’re still using physical paperwork to manage and track HR tasks, for the good of your business and your own sanity, it’s time to upgrade (and even save some trees!) The future of HR is digital, and a good HR software platform will make admin more streamlined, help with payroll, and even help with retainment, training, and recruiting. While dispensaries in the early days had trouble finding vendors that were willing to work with them, that’s gradually changed and become less of an issue. There are two solutions we routinely recommend to our partners: Gusto and People Guru. Gusto is a very affordable platform that’s perfect for cannabis startups or businesses with less than 100 employees. It offers an extremely wide range of features that are impressive for such a low price-point. (Note: We offer a free trial and a permanent 20% discount for our partners that opt for Gusto). For those that have grown beyond 100 employees, People Guru is an excellent platform that offers many additional features that become critical as your business scales.
Talent from other regulated industries
When recruiting talent that has never worked in cannabis, there are always concerns about the jump into an extremely regulated industry. New employees have to learn to think differently about compliance, regulations, and the much larger consequences of mistakes in those areas. Imagine working in a retail business that sells home decor, then jumping into a dispensary business. Employees need to have an entirely different mindset! That’s why lately we’ve seen cannabis recruiters dipping into other highly regulated industries, especially pharmaceuticals, liquor, tobacco, and sports nutrition. This recruiting trend has been happening for years at the executive level, but we’re seeing more movement at the middle-management and front-line level as well. It makes sense; anyone moving into the cannabis industry will need an adjustment period, but those that have experience in other highly-regulated industries seem to be able to make the jump faster and easier (and with a less expensive onboarding process).
As the cannabis industry develops and becomes more professionalized, we are confident HR will continue to be a challenge and a hot topic. Thankfully, there are more and more tools available to business owners and managers to reduce and eliminate some of the problems that have existed in the past. Whether you’re a new business owner or a 20+ location dispensary, we’ll bet there are some things we can suggest that will help you improve your HR processes. Schedule a free, no-pressure chat with our cannabis dispensary software experts for an assessment and recommendations.