The cannabis industry is booming. Per Leafly’s 2020 job report, job growth in the legal cannabis industry is expected to grow 250% between 2018-2028 --that’s four times more than the second fastest growing industry on the list. And with Maryland lawmakers holding committees on cannabis legalization, now is a good time for Maryland-based dispensary owners to ramp up their staff. In order for dispensaries to succeed with hiring, they need to understand the current hiring market and use that knowledge to build the right team.
If you’re hiring for your dispensary, here are some tips on how to find, hire, and keep great employees.
Experience Isn't Everything
Experience is important, but it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of hiring, especially in a relatively new industry like cannabis. When compared to other industries, like marketing or hospitality, cannabis is an emerging industry, particularly in Maryland, so not everyone you interview will have direct experience in the space -- and that’s OK! Instead of focusing on cannabis experience, look for relevant skills and transferable experience.
For example, that applicant who has tons of experience selling cell phones could make a great budtender with the right training. They’re already accustomed to offering suggestions to customers, answering questions, and helping customers find the best products, so their transferable experience could make them a great candidate.
Don’t Forget About Compliance
As you already know, the cannabis industry is highly regulated. Many states have specific laws and restrictions on who can work in a cannabis dispensary. There are also specific processes and procedures you may need to follow. Since hiring staff in places where cannabis is recreational, like California, differs dramatically from hiring someone where cannabis is medicinally regulated, like Maryland, it’s important for you to understand any hiring laws in your state.
This compliance checklist for first-time dispensary owners can help you get started, and here are some FAQs that are specific to Maryland. As you can see, compliance is very complex in Maryland, so hiring budtenders with MMCC experience can be beneficial for your long-term growth.
Offer Smooth Onboarding & Ongoing Training
The onboarding process can be intimidating for applicants in all industries, not just cannabis. Fearing that they might not be able to fit in or ramp up their skills, they may even give up on applying. Therefore, you need to ensure your potential employees that they’re in good hands and that you provide a smooth onboarding process that includes:
- A hands-on manager who cares about their growth
- Co-workers who are friendly and approachable
- A stress-free environment where they’re surrounded by people who care
- Plenty of training and education opportunities
When it comes to training, don’t skimp on it. The cannabis industry is extraordinarily unique, with lots of protocols and regulations. Taking the time to teach your employees how it works is not only key to their long-term success but yours. The more time you take to train them, the more vested they’ll feel in the company and the industry as a whole. Training should last longer than a few days, and employees should be looked at as a long-term investment.
Pay Attention Where (& What) You Post
Mainstream job posting sites, like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, are great resources for finding quality candidates. But, we suggest broadening your reach by also posting your job listing on job boards that are specific to the cannabis industry. Some popular boards for job listings in the cannabis industry include Vangst, Leafbuyer, 420 Careers, and Cannabis Business Times. By tapping into mainstream and industry-specific job boards, you’ll be able to attract candidates with experience/interest in the industry and applicants who lack experience but may have transferable skills.
What you post is just as important as where you post. Make sure that your job description is descriptive, in-depth, and easy to understand. And don’t forget to proofread everything, so you don’t turn away potential applicants with misspellings or poor grammar. Tools like Grammarly can help with the proofreading portion, and ready-to-use cannabis job description templates can help you craft the perfect job description.
Bonus: If you’re looking for a free and easy way to advertise that you’re hiring, we’ve found that posting “NOW HIRING” tiles on Instagram and Facebook are effective.
Make Your Dispensary Attractive to Applicants
With tons of industry growth also comes tons of competition. This means you’re not just interviewing potential employees; they’re also interviewing you. For this reason, it’s important to make your dispensary as attractive as possible to applicants. This includes providing a competitive salary, a positive atmosphere, and benefits like health insurance and paid time off. If your current employees are happy in their positions, encourage them to leave public reviews on Glassdoor. This way, potential applicants who are doing research on your company will see reviews from their peers, which carry lots of weight, especially among millennials.
One way to ensure you’re creating a positive workplace is to stay up-to-date with Maryland’s employment and labor laws. The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards is a good place to get started.
Stay Up to Date on the Latest
At CULTA, we enjoy sharing our unique industry insights with other dispensary owners and hope that you find the information valuable. Bookmark our Wholesale blog for our latest posts, and follow us on social media for other updates. For even more hiring tips, check out How to Conduct a Mid-Year Review for Your Budtenders.