Creative Employee Compensation Can Drive Performance

Employee compensation by Paul Craft mg Magazine
Illustration: Paul Craft / Shutterstock

During an unprecedented time colloquially known as the Great Resignation, millions of employees are leaving their jobs — almost 3 percent of the entire American workforce, to be exact. Counter to the trend, the cannabis industry added more than 77,000 jobs in 2021, but employee engagement and retention should remain top of mind for growing companies. Today’s ultra-competitive marketplace will favor companies that can both recruit and retain the right talent.

With ten newly legalized states, companies will have plenty of new positions to fill if they want to keep up with rapid industry growth and consumer demand. It can be difficult to find qualified, reliable employees to help a business grow, even with a large hiring pool. Once the right candidates are on the roster, the challenge becomes motivating employees to meet objectives and overcome obstacles.


One of the best ways to attract talent, retain top performers, and keep employees happy and engaged is to consider employee compensation packages: benefits, perks, and incentives. While competitive salaries and financial awards have proven to be successful motivators, more companies are beginning to offer outside-the-box compensation and incentives to help retain top talent and maintain motivation, especially in the booming cannabis industry. Here are some of the most popular incentives.

Flexible schedules

The pandemic completely reframed how, where, and when business is done. Offering employees the flexibility to work from home full- or part-time or decide their own hours can go a long way. According to a small-business survey by Zenefits, 73 percent of employees believe a flexible work schedule increases their job satisfaction, and 78 percent believe flexible work arrangements increase their productivity. Employees also indicated they appreciate vacation and time-off policies that support a healthy work-life balance.

Extensive parental leave

Parental leave is a highly debated topic in the United States, and companies that offer accommodating policies can stand out from their competitors. Paid leave programs can increase employee loyalty, improve retention, and reduce turnover, thereby minimizing the need to hire and train replacements. (Temporary workers can be a great option for employees out on parental leave.) Furthermore, offering parental leave for both parents makes it easier for women to remain in the workforce after having a child.

Travel incentives

Think beyond traditional cash incentives in employee compensation and consider offering things like paid travel, flight vouchers, or bonus vacation time as performance bonuses. Programs that reward employees with travel for their time and commitment increase both loyalty and engagement.


Offering employees equity in the company can help boost morale and give employees a sense of ownership. If everyone on the team has the same goal in mind, working together becomes much easier. Employees play a significant role in a company’s financial success, and equity employee compensation can help businesses recruit, retain, and reward their best workers.

Health and wellness stipends

Prioritizing health and wellness is a great way to reinforce company culture and help employees increase productivity. Self-care and staying healthy are increasingly important, especially as the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Encourage employees to spend their stipends on things like gym memberships, fitness classes, health coaching, or even mental health counseling.

Ongoing training and education

Employers can strengthen their teams by offering ongoing training and education opportunities, which invest in intellectual property for the company and can be key for retaining top talent. Workers are more likely to stick around if they feel valued and motivated to advance within the company. Consider providing them with the resources and capital they need to enhance their skills and grow in their careers.

Cryptocurrency bonuses

Bonuses are designed to set measurable goals for employees and recognize their achievements in order to keep motivation high. Innovative employers are bringing cryptocurrency to the table as a benefit to attract top talent in industries across the board. Companies in more mainstream industries have been offering cryptocurrency as a benefit to employees for some time now, and it’s time to bring this initiative to cannabis as the industry continues to adopt new technologies.

Prioritizing competitive base pay, bonus structures, and benefits packages is critical when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Consider what your company can offer to stand out from competitors and find employees who will help your business grow. Implementing alternative employee compensation programs may require some additional upfront costs, but it will be an invaluable long-term investment.

The best way for your company to save money is to retain talented employees. Turnover always will be costlier than earning the loyalty of high-quality workers.