Strategies for Managing a Hiring Surge in the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry emerged as a bright light during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many other industries face staffing shortages and economic uncertainty, the cannabis industry is surging. According to the 2021 Leafly cannabis industry jobs report, cannabis job growth exceeds every other American industry. This exponential growth in the last year has created a massive hiring surge within the cannabis industry. 

Cannabis Jobs Report Summary:

  • Legal cannabis now supports 321,000 full-time jobs in the 37 states with legal medical or adult-use markets.
  • Cannabis businesses added 77,300 jobs in 2020 alone.
  • In 2020, legal cannabis generated a record-high $18.3 billion in product sales, a 71% increase from 2019.

Trying to navigate a growing business can be difficult. It’s essential to stay ahead of the surge and develop a strategy to hire the right employees and streamline your onboarding process.

Ways to Improve Recruitment Tactics

Before speeding through the interview process, ensure you’re attracting the ideal talent to mitigate turnover risks for your cannabis business. 

Reevaluate Job Descriptions

Continuing to use the same job descriptions, posted on the same job boards, and followed by asking the same interview questions can result in quick hiring of employees that don’t necessarily fill the company’s needs. Take the time to review current job vacancies and identify the company’s actual needs and who would be best suited to fill that role. 

Job Postings Should Include:

  • A detailed description of the role
  • Responsibilities within the position
  • Characteristics of an ideal candidate
  • Requirements and state/local restrictions for employment

Need help reviewing your current job descriptions? View our free examples of job board postings and descriptions.

Expand the Pool of Applicants

Once your job postings are concise, leverage multiple platforms to seek out recruits. Try using cannabis-specific job boards as well as cannabis-friendly job boards. Consider expanding your search for new employees to other industries. The ideal candidate may not have experience specifically in cannabis but may have all the characteristics to fulfill the role. 

Managing a hiring surge may be intimidating for some growing businesses during rapid industry expansion. It can be helpful to utilize a professional employer organization (PEO). PEO and staffing agencies take on the responsibility of finding candidates and filling staffing needs.

Streamline the Interview Process

Before an interview starts, ensure best practices are followed. Be timely in scheduling the interview and provide all the information a candidate needs to prepare. It is crucial to have clear and consistent communication with candidates to keep them interested in the position and ensure they know they are a priority to the company.

Remember, the interview process is for the company as much as it is for the candidate. An interview is the first impression for both. It is vital to present a clear preview of ‘a day on the job’. Ask open-ended questions and encourage the candidate to do the same. 

Keep Compliance in Mind

In a highly regulated industry like cannabis, staying compliant at all levels of business is of utmost importance. Hiring unqualified employees can result in fines or loss of business licenses. Conducting pre-employment screening and background checks helps protect businesses and the cannabis industry. 

Pre-employment Screenings Can Include:

  • Criminal and civil records search
  • Social security trace
  • Previous compliance issues in past cannabis work
  • Restricted party search

Prioritize Employee Onboarding

With a history of high turnover in the cannabis industry, it’s essential to make sure new employees are trained efficiently to operate at full speed quickly. The best way to ensure this happens is to provide clear and concise expectations and objectives for your new addition’s first 30, 60, and 90 days in their role.

OROleafhr has built a variety of 30/60/90 templates to help get you started on onboarding employees efficiently. Plans like these and regular check-ins ensure all parties are held accountable for a successful start.

Review Hiring and Onboarding Practices

Sifting through mountains of applications seems daunting. Taking the time to review your current hiring process and make subtle changes that help save you time and money during a hiring surge. If your current system isn’t working, consider getting expert help from a staffing agency or PEO. A cannabis-specific PEO will focus on improving your hiring process, so you can focus on building better ways to serve your customers.

Have questions? OROleafhr is here to help. To us, it all comes down to providing gold-standard service. Our dedicated HR professionals will be there every step of the way to ensure your interview, hiring, and onboarding processes are as efficient as possible. Hiring surges will be no match for your cannabis business! Contact us today to get started.