It’s an odd time in the world – one where legal cannabis became a norm in certain states after decades of criminalizing the plant to excess. Some people have spent years behind bars for petty cannabis charges while, in a few cases, those who’ve enforced the laws in the first place have benefited from the legal market. No matter what, the industry is evolving quickly amid the “green rush.” Cultivators, manufacturers, dispensary operators, and more are adapting to the rapid scaling that comes along with high demand.
With the many changes that occur on state and federal levels, there is a high chance of overlooking crucial aspects that lead to the success of your company. Sometimes, it relates to the new regulations, and the slight oversight can be costly in the end. Significant issues stem from employment and workplace compliance laws. It gets even more complicated when rapid scaling occurs, and there are few individuals at the top of the food chain who end up having to overlook several departments at once. It can get tiring and overwhelming and leave room for blind spots. However, expanding one’s business comes with diligent planning to make sure that the needs of everyone, from management to regular staff, are catered to.
Division Manager of Higher Growth Search, Stacey Bryant, recently sat down with Cannabis Business Executive where she offered a few tips on managing rapid scaling. As a 15+ year vet in the cannabis industry, she’s helped cannabis businesses shift into the regulated market. These days, she offers advice on workplace development after filling up several roles in the industry, from cultivation to commercial sales.
Bryant broke down the five key areas that every cannabis company should keep a keen eye on. Brands that are proliferating should take note, as this could severely impact the trajectory of your company’s success in the ever-competitive and transforming cannabis industry.
Most companies seek employees that will grow with them from the ground up. However, the increasing demand for cannabis, along with the length of time needed to train employees properly, can turn into a headache for employers. It’s a time-consuming effort that warrants up to 40 days to interview, hire, and train employees. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for businesses to wait until they’re short-staffed to begin the process. All this does is cause a headache for yourself and the other employees who have to pick up the workload.
There are options for seasonal and temp hires, many of which occupy jobs throughout harvest or holiday seasons. Temp workers are often a bit easier to acquire in manufacturing and distribution departments, though consider the length of training time.
Every company wants to maintain a proactive stance on hiring, even with a stacked team. It’s easy to hire anyone who comes into the shop, but it’s more efficient to have employees, no matter the department, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the industry.
Employees might come and go, especially if they’re seasonal hires, but the hiring process requires diligence regardless. There are local, state, and federal labor laws that rapidly evolve. Specifically, with temp and contract workers, the utmost attention to detail must be considered to dodge fines and regulatory penalties. It could be as simple as misclassifying your employee’s paperwork, but a minor infraction can still have costly repercussions.
Workplace regulations extend beyond documents and into the work environment. Cultivation centers in rural areas require employers to provide access to toilets, hand-washing stations, and clean water for drinking. These rules, in particular, aren’t limited to the cannabis industry but workplaces across America. Bryant predicts that there will be a magnifying glass on these regulations with more states legalizing cannabis.
Ultimately, Bryant says that it’s pertinent to be in tune with regulation changes at a local, state, or federal level. Many times, businesses end up in violation of these rules for no other reason than simple mistakes. Unfortunately, those mistakes can often create more major, more expensive headaches down the line. It’s absolutely essential to keep up to date on all changes or, at the very least, have an advisor, assistant, or partner stay on top of policy changes to avoid facing fines and penalties down the line.
Why do you have employees at your company? Because they’re trying to get paid, and so are you. It’s the basic fundamental of running a business but paying your employees is a bit more than just cutting a check. Of course, every employee deserves to be paid fairly and promptly for the efforts they put in. However, it’s also crucial for rapidly scaling businesses is to stay on top of their payments to employees and keep their word.
Creating a proper payroll system for your employees will only help you in the long run. For one, there’s the issue of processing the payment and the diligence required to do it effectively. Employers must be keeping tabs on tax information when it comes to employees, creating a system to track down hours, sick days, and vacation time.
Keeping tabs on all finances, especially payroll, can alleviate future burdens amid rapid scaling. The best bet for any company is to create a system that reflects the business’s complexities and operations. The second best option is to hire a third-party payroll service partner who can manage payouts regularly.
We’ve touched on workplace regulations, payroll, and hiring employees. Perhaps, the solution for the majority of these issues, in the long run, is building an effective HR department. Human Resources can help bring clarity to the company when workplace regulations are constantly shifting. In a period of rapid scaling, it’s crucial to have at least one department dedicated to keeping tabs on employees and policies. Simply having a human resources team, or even an expert, can alleviate plenty of potential headaches in the future. Think about compliance issues, whether smoking accessories or packaging, training, or workers’ compensation. An HR department is an investment that companies should be making early on.
As your operations and team are multiplying, maintaining a professional presence is vital beyond keeping tabs on the finances and policies. It’s not simply for attracting a broader clientele or appealing to different demographics. Keeping a professional presence helps bring in venture capitalists and allows owners to easily weave through the investment world.
Professional presence might be an aspect that’s a bit trickier to handle. However, the help of a brand evaluation and detailed insight into a company’s long-term goals would help lay down the blueprint for where to go next. Things like launching a website or maintaining a solid social media presence can also help. Investors want to know what can help bring them money, and developing a reliable brand with a loyal following can be a surefire way of helping build your business even further.