This post was co-written by Oscar Lopez, Independent Business Operations Consultant.
Put yourself in the shoes of your employees. After all the interviews, all the time spent finding a position, interviewing, and accepting a position, the first day of work is around the corner. It feels like the start of a new school year. Sunday night they prepare their first day’s clothes, ensure their alarms are set and barely get any sleep.
Monday arrives! The new employee shows up fifteen minutes early, eager to learn their new role. Their brains are sponges at this juncture, ready to soak it all up. They want to learn and need guidance. A week goes by, a month goes by, and they start to wonder;
- Is there an on-boarding process?
- What work related rules do I need to know?
- When and How are we expected to get things done?
- Are there procedures for scenarios that they’ll likely face in the future?
Many cannabis business employees face the same dilemma every day. Just like the eager new hire, cannabis businesses face the similar growing pains. The myriad number of federal, state, and local laws all dictate how your business operates. We’re all too familiar with the current uncertainties, consistently changing regulations and the lack of clear mandates from the governing bodies that other industries rely on to thrive in the U.S economy.
The employer/employee is a symbiotic relationship, though we have all been led to believe that a hierarchy is critical for the success of any business, things are changing fast. Some of the traditional models of business operations do not apply for the growing cannabis industry.
This can be very overwhelming. We all fear the unknown. No one can guarantee success, but as with any other adventure, having an experienced team and a well thought out plan successful, positive outcomes are achievable. You are not the first cannabis business owner, nor will you be the last.
To be successful, you will need to set the foundation of your organization’s mission statement, core values, employee expectations among a wide variety of responsibilities that develop while operating your business. All the challenges your business faces, ultimately, you and the management team are responsible. If the business fails, it means, that for whatever reason, your plan and vision did not align with the market.
Your employee’s success depends on the tone you set from day one. Do your employees understand what the core values of your business are? Have you created and document procedures for employees to follow? Does your team understand the current market trends? Does your management team understand your current employee’s needs? How are you developing them? Did you ensure that your new hire who is eager to learn was trained on your expectations when they are on the company clock?
The number one reason stated as the biggest reason of issues with employee retention by Forbes magazine is lack of structure and support from a direct supervisor. Inherently most people do not go into work thinking “I really want to perform as poorly as possible today!” So why is it that there is such a high turnover rate?
Standards of business practice can be utilized across a wide range of industries. Cannabis is no different. Some of the items that need to be set in place prior hiring a new employee are as follows:
An employee handbook which should have a mission statement, expectations of the position, and company culture and goals. Creating an onboarding process where mission critical tasks and conveyed and understood. Whether it’s an employee with a high school diploma or a PhD, a new position with any organization requires mentoring, nurturing, and oversight.
We communicate daily. Whether it’s selling to prospective clients, providing feedback on employee performance, listening to employees needs and responding to suggestions with implementation of reasonable requests, all these will foster a positive employer/employee relationship. This relationship is key to mitigating employee retention issues and creating a cohesive “employee first” culture. Your success lies with your team, and your most valuable resource for your brand are the employees who represent you, don’t forget this.
As the leadership team, you are in charge! You are the captains who steer the ship to the best of your abilities. Remember, “It all starts from the top.”