How Successful Cannabis Executives Reduce Employee Turnover

All managers have been there. You invest time and money into grooming the ideal employee, and then POOF—they inform you that they are moving on to another job. Employee turnover is a concern for every organization across every industry, but in the cannabis industry, where new companies are forming every day, the grass at another company can seem greener. Some managers may grumble under their breath, but others realize it is not always wise to blame the employee but to understand why they left and how they can retain valuable staff members in the future. We spoke with Kim Lester, director of human resources at the+source, and Janet Hoffman, vice president of human resources at The Green Solution to better understand how they try to retain members of their team.

A meaningful workplace culture starts with the onboarding process for an employee and may be one of the most important aspects of retention. Done right, this process immediately sets the tone and lets an employee know the goals and mission of the organization and how they fit into the larger picture. “We instill four core values from the moment an employee walks in,” Lester told mg. “Being humbly confident, wellness-minded, forward-thinking, and seriously fun encourages team members to see themselves woven into the culture and focus their efforts towards the same goals and company standards.”


Hoffman has also invests considerable effort into effective onboarding. All Green Solution employees go through a four-hour orientation before they start the job. “During the training session, new hires learn about everything TGS (The Green Solution)! New hires are provided with our company history, mission, and vision.” An employee handbook is issued and company policies, operating procedures, and expectations are clearly communicated during the orientation. “We try our best to provide as much information upfront so their transition to their new position is as smooth as possible,” Hoffman said.

Janet Hoffman Green Solution mgretailer
Janet Hoffman, VP of human resources, The Green Solution

No matter what an employee says, they are not going to want to stick around in an entry-level position forever and often, the best candidates, already familiar with the organization, are already working for your company. Promoting from within rewards employees, and lets others see that they can move up the company ladder too if they put in the work. “The majority of our leads, supervisors, and managers started with TGS in entry-level positions,” Hoffman said.

“Promoting people from within into the right seat ensures their passion, skill capacity, and industry specialized comprehension is utilized to the highest potential—all while strengthening company culture,” Lester said. 

Kim Lester The Source Dispensary mgretailer
Kim Lester, director of human resources, the+source

Proper training should be fluid and extend beyond the initial onboarding process. “Growth plans not only create a sense of professional advancement and fulfillment but also cultivate loyal and quality employees who contribute to the overall strength of a company,” Lester said. “Past their initial training, all employees are offered growth plans that outline their future within the company. Each employee’s plan is re-engaged every quarter to ensure proper time and attention is given to each individual team member.”

“In addition to our new hire orientation, all employees are assigned a training curriculum in our learning management system,” Hoffman said. “Many of the training courses are specific to each job or position. Our online learning coupled with our on-the-job training prepares our employees for their jobs whether they are new to the company or newly promoted into a leadership position.”

Lester and Hoffman also stress that there is no one approach to training and keeping employees satisfied. “Part of our instilled company culture is to view everyone with empathy and an open lens,” Lester said. Employees need to be treated as individuals, with a unique success plan strategy implemented for each member of the team. 

Of course, beyond support and training, some tried and true perks can be quite effective as well. “TGS offers a robust package of benefit offerings as well as an employee discount,” Hoffman said. “We also do our best to provide our employees with product samples when available so that they are able to provide first-hand advice and guidance to our patrons.”