In the highly competitive cannabis industry, sourcing strong candidates and mitigating the risk of losing them is paramount for your success. The process of vetting resumes, conducting interviews, performing onboarding, and providing training requires a significant utilization of your resources. However, this investment can result in a tremendous loss of time and money with the departure of a new hire after less than six months of employment.

In an effort to make the most of your investment and reduce turnover in your cannabis operation follow these simple steps.

Improve the Interview Process

Prior to beginning the recruiting and hiring process, sit down with company leaders and define the ideal candidate. Discuss and outline common interview techniques to remain consistent during the evaluation process. For example, explain what “culture fit” means for your business. What responses and actions during the interview will help to determine if the candidate is a good fit? Was eye-contact lacking? Were they money hungry? Be specific about what you need and the criteria you will use to measure talent before you start interviewing.

This is an exciting, emerging market full of passionate individuals who believe in the advancement of the plant and ensuring medicine is available to those who need it most. While hiring people that care about this industry is essential, it’s important to understand the individual’s career goals, experience, and emotional intelligence before making a decision to bring them on board.

Be honest about what the individual’s day-to-day role will be during the interview process. Provide an “on the job preview” of what an afternoon of packaging product really entails. Clearly explain duties they will be responsible for (like cleaning the bathroom) to help eliminate candidates who can’t handle the work. Ask open-ended questions to give them the opportunity to convey their ability and desire to succeed.

Rick Pfrommer, formerly of Harborside, suggests playing a game of Connect4 during the interview. “You can learn a lot about someone by playing a simple game,” he says. Change up the interview process to challenge expectations and gain new perspectives.

Make Onboarding a Priority

On average 22% of new hires leave their job within the first 45 days of employment, which could cost up to 20% of their salary to replace. These costs add up and could be crippling if your turnover rate is too high. Investing in your onboarding program is vital and a structured program increases the likelihood of an employee staying with the company after three years by 58%.

During the first few weeks of onboarding, ensure you’re clearly communicating why certain training sessions or tasks are important for the success of the individual’s employment. The millennial generation is a generation of why: why the role matters, why the organization is serving the marijuana industry, why the core values are important, etc. Being transparent about the structure of the company, outlining areas for improvement, and highlighting how the person can contribute in their position will greatly increase the effectiveness of the onboarding program.

Implement a 30/60/90 day plan for your new employee and your managers so all parties are held accountable for a successful start. Consider creating a buddy program or mentoring system so managers are engaged and your new hire feels welcomed.

Have frequent check-ins with new employees and ensure managers have the right questions to ask during this time together. Eliminate questions like, “How are things going?” Instead try, “Tell me what surprised you so far about this role?” or “Where can we be more efficient?” and “What’s been frustrating you?” Dig deeper to receive stronger feedback.

Offer Opportunities for Engagement

Providing continuing education and training opportunities are sure-fire ways to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Although these require a monetary investment or your time, the cost of losing talent will be much higher. Design training programs to help advance your employee's position or outsource training in areas such as management to not only improve performance, but increase retention.

Connect with your employees over coffee or an afternoon walk around the block. Discover where their interests lie, what challenges they may be up against, and how you can help. For more tips on improving mindfulness at your cannabis operation check out this article.

Handle Turnover Appropriately

Although you can’t avoid turnover, you can take steps to reduce the pain associated with losing a team member. First, meet with leadership to define “regrettable” vs “non-regrettable” turnover. Having a high-performing employee leave due to an out-of-state family obligation would typically be defined as “regrettable.” However, a disgruntled team member who quits on-the-spot, would be considered “non-regrettable.” Defining and tracking the difference will provide your organization with more accurate metrics and better insights.

Schedule an exit interview before the departure of an employee to understand their challenges and successes. Documenting the session will help you make better business decisions to prevent future attrition.

Properly manage communication with your team about a person’s departure, being mindful of employee confidentiality, and present a transition plan. Providing an open platform for dialogue, giving your managers talking points to share, and encouraging positive language about the parting such as, “We’re grateful for their time and we wish them the best,” will help you maintain a positive and productive environment your team can succeed in.

Have further questions about hiring talent and reducing turnover? Reach out to our managed services team for help!

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