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3 Ways Cannabis Companies Can Innovate & Improve Hiring Processes

In an industry that’s evolving rapidly, it’s critical that cannabis companies nurture their ability to pivot, adapt, and innovate. This is especially true when developing and evaluating your recruiting and hiring processes.

There’s an amusing, yet relevant, story about a woman who was cooking a ham for Christmas dinner.

Her daughter, wanting to learn to how to cook her mother’s family recipes, watched her prepare the ham for the oven.

To her surprise, she watched her mother lop off both ends of the ham and throw them away before putting it in the baking pan.

They seemed like perfectly good pieces of ham, so she asked her mother:

“Mom, why do you cut off both ends of the ham before you cook it?”

The mother thought for a minute, and said, “Well, that’s how my mother cooked her ham. She taught me to cut of both ends before you bake it, but I never thought to ask why. Let’s go ask Grandma.”

So they went into the living room where Grandma was sitting, waiting for Christmas dinner. The two women asked her: “Grandma, why do you cut off the ends of a ham before you bake it?”

The Grandmother shrugged slightly and said, “Well, that’s the way my mother taught me to cook it. I have no idea why, but it was always great ham!”

Fortunately, Great Grandma was still around, so the three women picked up the phone to call her and finally put an end to this mystery. They explained the situation to Great Grandma and asked her, “Why did you cut off the ends of the ham before you baked it?”

Great Grandma didn’t even hesitate before saying, “Well that’s easy. My pan was too small. I cut off the ends so the ham would fit!”

For almost 100 years, 3 generations of woman had been throwing away perfectly good ham because one pan – that no one even uses anymore – was too small to bake a whole ham in the oven.

Just like Great Grandma’s ham recipe, we often see companies implementing outdated and ineffective hiring processes simply because “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Or worse, they’re copying what everyone else does without assessing if these policies are best for THEIR company specifically.

Many times, we even see companies flying completely blind and trying to make it up as they go.

The cannabis industry is changing and evolving daily. After decades of helping recruit high-level executive talent for cannabis companies – and companies in other highly regulated industries – here are a few things we’ve learned about streamlining and improving your hiring process.

1 – Scrutinize Your “Best Practices”

Just like Great Grandma’s ham recipe, there are many ‘best practices” that aren’t “best” at all.

Often this happens when recruiting policies lack specific benchmarks or tracking criteria to determine recruitment success.

The cannabis industry is in many ways still in its infancy, so it can be a challenge to measure success when you don’t have previous employee reference points.

In order to measure recruitment success, you’ll first need to clearly define a number of items including the following:

  • What are we trying to accomplish with this role?
  • What is the scope of the role?
  • What is the desired profile, including the desired “hard” and “soft” skills?
  • Who are the key internal decision-makers who will add value to the selection process?
  • What is the best way to construct the compensation package that makes sense for the organization and will attract the desired profile?
  • What is the process, or “candidate experience”, to win best-in-class talent for this role?
  • How do you want candidates to experience the culture and process of working with your company – both through the selection process and during their critical onboarding period?

Creating clear definition in these areas will provide some key benchmarks to determine if potential candidates are aligned with your goals.

Having these measurements in place will not only improve your hiring processes, but also elevate the quality of candidates who move through it.

2 – Make Education A Critical Component

Since the cannabis industry still lacks federal guidelines to set an overall regulatory cadence, transparency and education are key.

Educating each candidate thoroughly about your company, the role and the industry as a whole, will help avoid misaligned expectations in relation to compensation packages, the candidate experience, and the scope of the role.

This also gives your company an opportunity to vet candidates for their “why.”

Understanding why they’re interested in the position can mean the difference between hiring a passionate and experienced leader, and someone who is attracted to the industry for the “cool factor” of “working with weed”.

Education and transparency also helps avoid any conflict about objections a candidate (or their personal network) may have about the cannabis industry – increasing your chances of finding the best long-term fit, and avoiding headaches down the road related to heavy turnover or a negatively impacted organizational culture.

Not only should you focus on educating your candidates about the industry, but they also need to understand how your business works.

The most innovative and creative companies in cannabis – the ones that accomplish amazing levels of growth with agility and speed – all of them are extremely collaborative.

Making sure that every employee understands how the business works, what’s being measured, and the strategy behind the company’s growth will create a dynamic and diverse team all driving together toward the same goals.

3 – Remember, those “employees” you’re hiring are adult human beings just like you.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that this is a human-based business.

In an attempt to keep up with the rapid growth of the industry, sometimes we create so many processes, policies, and guidelines to keep people in place – that we often end up with systems that treat people like children.

The best way to streamline your hiring processes is to build a company that people actually enjoy working for!

Remember, these people you’re hiring are smart, capable, and responsible adults who have depth to them outside of your business. They have responsibilities, families, and mortgage payments – and most of them truly want to make a positive impact on the world they live in.

So if we mold our hiring practices and policies under the assumption that everyone who walks through our door WANTS to do an incredible job, then we can create systems that leave room for innovation, creativity, and growth.

In addition, while the goal is to hire long-term talent, it’s also important to remember that very few people stick with the same company for a lifetime.

Most people want to accomplish great things that bring meaning and purpose to their lives. As a result, they evolve and grow constantly – which sometimes means they move on.

Instead of trying to keep people for the sake of keeping them, which hurts both the company and the employee, build a culture that creates a army of brand ambassadors.

This way, not only is your company somewhere that people want to work, it’s somewhere that people want to be FROM.

So when they do inevitably move on to other opportunities, they’ll take the good word about working for your company with them and spread it to the market.

By making sure you stay innovative and evaluate “best practices” regularly, you’ll not only streamline your hiring processes, but also avoid wasting perfectly good proverbial ham.

At Hunter + Esquire, we not only believe in the professionalization of recruiting in the cannabis industry, we also believe in the humanization of finding the right people for the job.

We focus on big-picture growth and finding the best fit, rather than short-term numbers or putting bodies in seats.

If you’re looking to partner with an executive recruitment agency focused on relationship-based, long-term success, then contact us here.

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