5 Tips for Finding and Retaining the Best Talent

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The cannabis industry in the United States will generate $30 billion in 2022, according to both Headset and BDSA. To meet consumer demand, new companies are entering the space with increasing regularity and existing companies are growing at a rapid pace. But in spite of all the growth, many businesses are losing employees and struggling to find and retain talent. In the face of this “Great Resignation,” how can companies in the cannabis space build happy, successful, and effective teams?

Here are five tips your organization’s human resources department can apply today.


1. Clearly define your desired outcome for each position

By far, the biggest mistake most companies make during the hiring process is being too vague when writing the job description. It’s not enough to list the requirements and day-to-day tasks you expect from your candidates; instead, start with the outcome in mind. For example, if you’re looking to hire a salesperson, you could say something like, “We’re looking to increase our sales by 20 percent next year, and in order to do that, we need a salesperson to get us 100 new customers.” With the company’s desired outcome front and center, candidates know exactly what is expected of them and can judge for themselves if they have the skills to help your company reach its goals.

2. Make it clear what success looks like in the role

After defining the desired outcome for a position, it’s important to then show candidates a roadmap for how they can get there. To stick with our example of hiring a salesperson, you could say something like, “In order to help us get 100 customers, you will need to make X number of calls per day, and out of those calls, we expect Y number of closes.” Again, here you’re making it clear what the job will entail and how the position adds value to the business. You’re also demonstrating transparency right off the bat, which reduces turnover.

3. Cast a wide net

In order to find the best talent, you need to make job postings widely available to as many potential applicants as possible. Post not only on industry-specific job boards but also to other reputable sites.

Once you’ve begun interviewing, don’t stop when you’ve encountered the person you think is right for the job. No matter how much you like that candidate, keep in mind they may also be entertaining other jobs and offers. There’s no guarantee they will accept yours. Instead, find three people with whom you would be happy to work. This way, you’ll have viable backup options in case something doesn’t work out with the frontrunner.

4. Develop an intentional and clear onboarding process

You’ve finally hired an amazing candidate, and they’re now working for your company. Your job as a recruiter is over, right? Wrong. Finding talent is only the first step in the process. After hiring a new employee, you’ll want to do everything you can to get them up to speed and set them up for success. This means having a conscious and straightforward onboarding process. You’ll want to set expectations with the new employee and give them all the tools they need to thrive. This way, the new employee will know what they should be doing and feel they’re being supported every step of the way.

5. Maintain good communication and give clear feedback

As the new employee settles into their role, it’s important to keep lines of communication open and establish regular check-ins for at least the first ninety days. Make sure the new employee is getting helpful and clear feedback from their manager so they can improve their performance. Also provide new-hires a chance to give their manager feedback.  It’s important for managers to communicate with employees about the current status of the company, where their role fits in, and how that role might evolve in the future. Establishing regular check-ins from the get-go will ensure new employees and the company are always on the same page.

The employment market proved challenging in 2021, but following these tips will arm your company with the tools it needs to find and retain top talent in 2022.

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Karson Humiston is founder and chief executive officer at cannabis recruiting platform Vangst. Since launching in 2016, the company has connected thousands of people with jobs at leading cannabis businesses around the world. Humiston was featured on the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 list and Vangst was featured in Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies of 2018. Prior to founding Vangst, Humiston founded On Track Adventures, a student travel organization based out of St. Lawrence University.

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