The CULTA Blog

How to Conduct a Mid-Year Review of Your Budtenders

two employees sitting at a desk

Like any business, cannabis retailers need to run a tight ship. Owners must ensure that their business has a solid financial plan, excellent customer relations and  a great environment for customers and employees. Mid-year performance reviews are one of the most essential ways to keep your cannabis business thriving.

While many business owners (and their employees) may dread performance reviews, they can actually be an amazing opportunity for everyone involved. A performance review is a chance to get to know your employee better, offer constructive feedback and receive insight from your employee. 

In the cannabis industry, a mid-year review of your budtenders can be extremely valuable. When conducted properly, both parties will benefit tremendously from a mid-year review. But you’ll need to learn how to conduct a mid-year review of your budtenders that’s effective and informative; otherwise, you may end up wasting time.

Whether you’re a new cannabis entrepreneur or simply looking for a refresher guide, here are some tips about how to conduct a mid-year review of your budtenders:

Tip #1: Do Your Homework & Plan

Don’t go into your performance review blind. Prepare for your meeting with each budtender by evaluating their work ahead of time. Review previous performance assessments, or if they’re a recent hire, look at the original employment application. Then, consider the following:

  • What expectations did you set for this employee?
  • Did you and the employee set any concrete goals?
  • If so, did they meet them? Did they meet them on time?

Additionally, consider how your budtender affects the general environment of your business. Do they create a positive environment for their coworkers? Do other employees speak highly of their work? What do your customers think? If your cannabis business has public reviews on Yelp, Google or social media, check to see if any customers have left specific feedback about your budtenders. 

It may also help to make a brief list of topics for the mid-year performance review for your budtenders. This will help keep your performance review succinct and efficient; plus, if you and your budtender become side-tracked in your conversation, you’ll remember everything you needed to discuss.

Tip #2:  Develop an Evaluation Tool

When you conduct a mid-year review of your budtenders, you’ll need a performance evaluation tool. There are many different ways to evaluate your budtenders; however, many cannabis retailers draw on sales data to make evaluations. This provides concrete numbers that can help you assess your employees more objectively. 

Consider the following questions as an evaluation tool:

  • During your budtender’s shift, what is their average volume of sales?
  • Has this number increased or decreased since the employee’s last review?
  • Are there specific products, such as edibles, that are sold more or less?

If your point-of-sale system tracks transactions by employee name, make sure to assess the data accordingly. Once you’ve established some metrics to use as an evaluation tool, you can apply them to all employees in your cannabis business. 

For example, if you have multiple budtenders, you can compare the work of each one. This can give you a sense of each budtender’s unique strengths. Then, during their performance review, you can discuss ways to encourage these strengths while bolstering any weaknesses.

You may also wish to develop specific performance categories for your budtenders that you can rate on a scale. You can use this to develop an average “grade” for each employee. If your company is offering bonuses or other performance incentives, you can grant them based on this average rating.

Tip #3: Be Solution-Oriented

Finally, when it comes time for conducting the mid-year review of your budtenders, set a positive, proactive tone for the conversation. Although you shouldn’t avoid giving criticism or sugarcoat any negative feedback, don’t lecture or berate your employees. It’s much harder to have a constructive conversation when people feel defensive.

If your budtender’s performance has been low and they haven’t met your expectations, find a way to deliver this feedback that’s solution-oriented. Treat the performance review like a conversation. Try to ask questions instead of making blanketed statements. Instead of saying, “The way you do this task is inefficient,” consider asking your employee, “What are some ways we could make this task more efficient?”

The cannabis industry is like any other. Most workers want to do a good job, improve their skills and help their company succeed. By taking a solution-oriented approach during mid-year reviews, you and your budtenders can use this as an opportunity to strengthen your working relationship and be more creative. 

It’s a great idea to end the performance review by coming up with a list of goals together. This could be increased sales, changes to individual work habits or other metrics. Set these goals whether your budtender has received a positive or negative performance review. They’ll help motivate your employee.

Mid-Year Reviews: Essential For Your Cannabis Business

Here are some other tips you can keep in mind when preparing for and performing a mid-year review: 

  • Schedule the review at least a week in advance with a formal meeting invitation. This ensures your employee has enough time to prepare themselves and gather their thoughts.
  • Have the employee fill out a self-appraisal form (ahead of time). 
  • Ask about your budtender’s career plans and goals. 
  • Follow up with a list of items discussed promptly after the meeting. 
  • Don’t forget to check-in with your budtender throughout the next six months - don’t wait until your next formal review to check up on their performance. 

Whether you run a medical cannabis dispensary or a recreational cannabis retail store, employee mid-year reviews are essential for your business. Conducting an evaluation of your budtenders and other employees will help your cannabis business succeed in the long-term.