Six Human Resource Tips For Marijuana Businesses


There’s more to Human Resources in the cannabis industry than just hiring and firing, salary and benefits. Here, Caela Bintner of Faces Human Capital Management in Denver and Gil Price of Price Management Group in Seattle offer tips on thinking through human resources issues to help cannabis companies minimize financial risk and maximize investment in their employees.

Marijuana Business Dailys 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook, estimates that cannabis-related companies in the U.S. are now employing between 100,000 and 150,000 workers, so the need for Human Resource management is growing.

Create Robust Job Descriptions

Founders need to communicate what is expected of each employee, both to hire the person with the right skill set, and to have a joint understanding of the job to turn to in the case of poor performance. A set of company job descriptions can also expose overlap or gaps in work flow and responsibility. Employees that "touch the plant" have very strict laws they need to abide by, so be sure your hires are rule-followers or they could put your whole business at risk.

Verify Employee Eligibility

Some cannabis company founders have non-traditional business backgrounds and may not realize that Federal law requires all new employees to complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. The I-9 form helps companies ensure their employees identity and their authorization to work in the United States. A company that is federally audited and has neglected this important step could face consequences.

Understand Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Classifications

The FLSA are the minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and other employment standards. Some jobs in the legal cannabis sector are still new and employers may not know how to classify them. Should the staff who tend the cannabis plants be considered exempt, or should that classification be reserved only for geneticists who develop a companys unique strains? And who gets overtime? Other employment laws to understand include disability accessibility, family medical leave, record retention requirements, etc.

Hire The Best, Not a Best Friend Employers in the legal cannabis sector might begin by hiring friends they can trust, but if there are issues with commitment or a skill mismatch, the relationship will sour. Founders should look for a diverse workforce that can bring different perspectives and life experiences along with their skill sets. For example a pot shop may employ some frequent cannabis users and some more casual users, to connect with and advise different types of customers.

Minimize Turnover

Communicating cultural issues like product excellence, work-life balance, teamwork or other parts of the founders vision is key in both word and deed. Creating an employee handbook including policies for time off, safety, security, laws that might be applicable to the employees work, etc. unify the staffs understanding of their on-the-job rules. Job training, employee development and periodic scheduled reviews help keep the lines of communication open.

Create Compelling Compensation

Cannabis companies need to attract and engage the best employees they can with benefits like health insurance, direct deposit if possible so employees dont have to be paid in wads of cash, and other perks. While some job seekers are targeting the cannabis market, employers can cast a wider net by offering compensation that is competitive in and out of the industry.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Six Human Resource Tips For Marijuana Businesses
Author: Julie Weed
Contact: Forbes
Photo Credit: Julie Weed
Website: Forbes