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Battling Turnover? Do These 4 Things to Improve Retention at Your Cannabis Company

Want a happy and engaged workforce? Here’s how to build your cannabis retention strategy.




HOW’S EMPLOYEE RETENTION going at your cannabis company? Are you finding that people are sticking with you more than before? Have you noticed the ubiquitous industry struggle of employee turnover starting to improve?

If not, you may need to reassess your employee retention strategy.

As the industry has matured, we’re seeing folks stay in cannabis jobs for longer than they once did. That’s encouraging. In the early days of legal cannabis, it was like a revolving door of new employees coming and going at cannabis companies—which, as we all painfully know, is not great for the rapid scaling many newer companies need to get started on a path of healthy, sustainable business growth.

Cannabis employee retention trends

We’ve noticed a trend in the reasons people cite for seeking cannabis jobs right now. When the legal industry emerged, many people snagged any cannabis job they could find … but that’s not the case anymore.

The survivors of those early days of cannabis work now have cannabis industry experience and the skills that come with it. These are the people who, if they’re looking for new work, are searching for a dream position that they’ll stick with long-term, not just any job that will have them.


But be warned. If you don’t treat skilled cannabis professionals right, they’ll find somewhere that does. Once you have a stellar employee, you want to hold onto them like gold. Here are some key ways to retain great cannabis employees.

4 key strategies for attracting and keeping great employees

1. PROMOTE VALUES AND CULTURE. We humans spend so much of our time at work. Often, we spend more time with our work-family than we do with our home-family. More than half of workers surveyed say they have missed important life events because of poor work-life balance.
You should strive to create a work culture that offers not just flexibility but which also aligns with Frederick Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation. This means promoting conditions that human beings need to be motivated and satisfied over the long haul—achievement paths, responsibility, praise, advancement, and meaningful work.
Employees who feel good about going to work every day are more likely to:

  • Feel inspired at work
  • Be committed to the work they’re doing
  • Bring new and innovative ideas to the company
  • Stay with the company long-term

2. PROVIDE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING. Culture and values are vital, but people also want to progress in their careers. They want to gain new skills and eventually move into higher positions. An employee’s spark will start to dim if you don’t provide growth opportunities. And we can’t forget that people want more money… and higher positions bring more money.

Work with your employees to visualize their career paths and have a plan to help them progress. Start discussing career paths with employees as early as the interview process and come back to these discussions at scheduled intervals. Use these meetings to re-align on goals and to identify and address misaligned expectations. This will support your company’s internal mobility and employee retention rate.

3. THE RIGHT MIX OF BENEFITS AND PAY. Society for Human Resources Management researchers have found that 92 perent of employees say benefits are essential to job satisfaction. Just a few years ago, cannabis companies didn’t need—or have the capacity—to offer well-crafted compensation packages. But as companies mature and become more focused on growth and profitability, they can use benefits and great wages to attract premium talent.


If you want premium talent, you need to offer competitive compensation supplemented with attractive benefits. If you don’t, that talent will go to your competitors. Keep a finger on the pulse of compensation trends both inside and outside the cannabis industry. Stay competitive with the market. Keep in mind that it costs more to onboard and train new employees than it does to bump up a current salary.

4. PERK UP YOUR PERKS. Perks are often seen as an afterthought but they are an effective way to communicate that you value your employees. We define “perks” differently than benefits. For perks, think desirable offers that are focused on the unique lives of your individual employees. For example, employee discounts, fitness membership offers, remote work options, company events, and more.

Ultimately, humans love feeling valued and cared about. And if you’re taking the time to offer perks that employees actually want, they’re going to feel that much more appreciated and committed to their relationship with your company. And don’t just wing it on perks—survey your employees and prospects to find out what kinds of extras they’d like from the job.

Plan to succeed with top talent

It’s a wonderful time to be in cannabis. We’re collectively sculpting an industry in real time. If you’re searching for top talent to shape and grow with your business, a key step is to build a cannabis employee retention plan. Follow these four steps and you’ll be well on your way to building your dream team.


David Belsky is the CEO of FlowerHire. For cannabis staffing, check out FlowerHire X – the only smart, virtual hourly cannabis staffing platform. FlowerHire X helps identify a fit early in the recruitment process. A good fit leads to longer, more engaged, and happier work relationships.



Cannaconvo with Peter Su of Green Check Verified

Cannabis Last Week with Jon Purow interviews Peter Su of Green Check Verified. Peter Su is a Senior Vice President with Green Check Verified, the top cannabis banking compliance software/consultancy in the space. A 20+ year veteran of the banking industry, Peter serves on the Banking & Financial Services committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He chairs the Banking and Financial Services Committee for the NYCCIA & HVCIA. He is an official member of the Rolling Stone Cannabis Culture Council. And, he is on the board of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable, serving as treasurer.

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