Even before cannabis was deemed an essential service, cannabis has been increasingly perceived as a fast-emerging industry with a lot of opportunity. And since the pandemic, the number of employees who are searching for jobs with purpose has increased (1). People want to work at an organization that aligns with their own values. (That’s certainly true for the FlowerHire team!) There has been an influx of people evaluating cannabis as a potential career path.
The problem is that many of these people still don’t know what it’s actually like to work in cannabis. A career in cannabis requires a unique level of commitment that many other traditional industries don’t face because the challenges – for example, unregulated, fast-paced, and long hours – can be unlike any other industry.
But not unlike other jobs, some people find out about the challenges of working in cannabis after they’ve already joined a team… This can cause increased churn and a decrease in employee retention. For your cannabis employee retention strategy to work, you first need to have employees that are a good fit at your organization, and have the skills for specific roles. That’s where a cannabis recruiting agency can help.
What makes recruiting for the cannabis industry different from other industries?
There’s a current debate among some business strategists whether the cannabis industry is even an industry yet… Some consider it a “space” opposed to an “industry” since we’re still figuring out the answers to questions like:
- What is scale?
- What is pay grade?
- What is the level understanding of esoteric knowledge needed to grow cannabis at scale?
- Where do you find the right people?
- Which employees get equity in the company?
There are a lot of people outside of cannabis – and even new entrants to the market – who misconceptualize what cannabis actually is. They may define the industry singularly as consumer packaged goods (CPG) agriculture, retail, direct-to-consumer, tech, wellness, or entertainment.
The truth is cannabis is all of the above. And more. And even as public perceptions are dramatically changing for the better, it’s also culturally stigmatized – and heavily regulated. Any attempt to compare cannabis to other industries, ignores essential pieces to the puzzle. At FlowerHire, we’re choosing to call cannabis an industry, but recognize that some may consider it a “space” since the industry is still in its infancy.
The point is, it’s important to choose a recruiting agency that understands the uniqueness of the cannabis industry – including the culture, the challenges, and the vast variety of business models and roles. A recruiting agency that understands the cannabis industry is much more equipped to find the right people that will thrive and grow in and with your organization.
There are many traditional recruiting agencies with a strong reputation in other industries or roles (i.e. executive roles, CPG, agriculture, tech). And they’re getting cannabis clients. But it’s rare that they know what it takes for individuals to be successful in the cannabis industry. Industry knowledge is essential for recruiting (4)
Benefits of partnering with a cannabis recruiting agency
When hiring a professional for help, you want the professional to know more than you. A cannabis recruiting agency should understand both the large and nuanced differences in different cannabis business models nationwide.
We can’t speak for how other recruiting agencies operate, but FlowerHire cannabis recruiting agency:
- Candidly educates candidates on the cannabis industry
- Vets candidates on whether the organization and the cannabis industry is a good fit
- Has in-depth experience with a wide range of struggles cannabis companies have faced and how they were resolved
- Understands the critically-nuanced dynamics of a cannabis company’s organizational chart
- Provides insights and feedback to the cannabis company regarding the types of role(s) needed
- Offers opportunities for strategy ideation and advisement
1 Cannabis recruiters educate candidates
When you work with FlowerHire cannabis recruiting agency, you get professionals with deep industry knowledge who use that knowledge to educate and make informed recommendations (2).
Even professionals inside the cannabis industry may diminish the unique dynamics of the industry. And, unfortunately, many other recruiting agencies will take anyone with a pulse, a CV, and a desire to work in cannabis. Some just don’t realize what working in cannabis is actually like, nor do they realize the implications for not providing education to the candidate.
We’ve found that people who come into the this industry without being educated on the realities of cannabis before they enter, often end up wanting to leave the industry in only a few months.
For example, the CFO who became aware of the real challenges of bringing in revenue for the company because of IRS Section 280E deduction restrictions, found his job to be much more difficult than he expected – the only option was for the company to go into debt. A CFO may not want to work in an environment where debt is the only option. If the realities of cannabis were discussed upfront, situations like this, that are costly and disruptive to both the employer and the employee, can be avoided.
FlowerHire vets candidates by providing them with information and education so they can be empowered to make the best decision for their own life and career. We don’t convince candidates if cannabis is right for them… they convince themselves.
Once the candidate understands the realities of the space and it’s still a “yes”, then we use our industry expertise to assess if an opportunity is a good match for both the candidate and the company.
2 Cannabis recruiters provide feedback to the company on the type of role needed
A cannabis recruiting agency that has seen the inside of a lot of different cannabis organizations, and how they operate, can make valuable recommendations. This gives the team the ability to advise and provide feedback to your company on:
- The type of role you need to hire for
- The skill set required for a given role
- The skill set you will likely need in the future
- The number of roles you should be hiring for in a department
When you come to us and tell us you’re ready to hire for a specific role, first we’ll go into depth about:
- Where are you today statically?
- What is the time table at which you’ll develop?
- At what point should you hire this person?
Through talking about the intention of your operation, we’re able to hone in and calibrate to make informed recommendations for you about who you need to hire.
Examples of how FlowerHire may provide feedback
The type of role
A company may come to us ready to hire a Chief Operating Officer. But we may recommend you look into a Chief Financial Officer, because they’ll have more of the skills needed to support more areas of your business.
Or we may suggest that you hire a growth phase executive versus a public-facing executive – someone who has experience in the rapid growth phase of a company.
If you’re opening a manufacturing facility, and you come to us asking for an extractor, we will ask: What type of extraction do you do? CO2, ethanol, hexon, subcritical? Your answer changes the dynamic of who you’re going to hire. And this also changes the numbers.
Or we’ll show you a spectrum of hires of varying skill sets. Someone at the lower range of the salary range, some at the mid-range, and some at the high-end..
You may find a person at the desired salary, but then still think the person is underdeveloped for the role. So it’s important to see what someone who demands a higher salary has to offer. Because you might decide it’s worth it to pay more for the higher priced person. Think about these questions:
- Where is your organization headed?
- Are you hiring someone who is ready for today and the next year?
- Are you hiring someone who is ready for today and still needs to be developed for the next role?
The number of hires
Since we’ve seen the architecture of other cannabis organizations, we know the time table for when you’ll need to hire for specific roles.
For example, some people come to us and say, “We need a cultivation person, we just broke ground on our cultivation facility.” While we appreciate the proactive planning, we’ll advise them to hold off until it gets closer to the date – the cultivation facility won’t be done for about a year.
3 Cannabis recruiters are well-connected in the industry
Cannabis recruiters are among the most well-connected people in the industry (3). And we’re truly not just saying that to boast… The whole business of a cannabis recruiting agency is predicated on meeting as many people as possible that permeate the space. This provides an invaluable holistic, high-level lens on the industry (a lens we love to discuss and “geek out” on with our partners and clients).
When you’re running a business in such a rapidly-changing and fast-growing industry, it’s typical to be hyper-focused on what you’re doing at risk of ignoring aspects of what’s actually happening outside of your business. Being hyper focused is essential for your company’s growth! But, monitoring external dynamics and factors is also essential for making informed business decisions and developing a successful strategy.
That’s why so many executives take the time to speak with us and ideate about what’s going on in the industry. It’s impossible to know all the industry developments when you’re so immersed in the happenings of your company. We’re here to advise by discussing, informing, and giving you space to ideate your next moves.
We make it our job to stay current and well-read on cannabis industry news, from new taxes and legislations to mergers and acquisitions.
4 Cannabis recruiters have a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in cannabis
What does it actually take to be a good cannabis executive? The best people to answer that question are the people who have done the work themselves. And not many people have actually done the work themselves. So when you’re choosing a cannabis recruiting agency, think about:
- Does this agency understand what it actually takes for someone to be successful in the role I’m hiring for?
- Will this agency be able to pinpoint the person who will actually succeed in the cannabis industry?
- Are there people at this agency who have actually worked in the cannabis industry and understand the dynamics?
5 Increased value, more loyal relationships, and lower transaction costs when you use a cannabis recruiting agency
When you use one recruiting agency for all of your cannabis industry needs, the hiring process becomes more strategic across the company, which captures more value. Do you have the time to explain your hiring strategy to multiple service providers? And be sure they have a comprehensive understanding?
When you use one agency, the administrative cycles of managing relationships with multiple vendors decreases. The relationship with the recruiting agency becomes stronger and deeper when that’s the only relationship to manage (2). Plus, you’ll have lower transaction costs. Do you have the time and resources to partner with multiple service providers?
FlowerHire’s deep cannabis industry knowledge and effective traditional recruiting strategies is what will build your world-class, industry leading team.
Since the launch for FlowerHire X, FlowerHire now serves all levels of positions in the cannabis industry, including C-suite executive, senior-salaried, and hourly.
FlowerHire Senior Advisors (FHSA) finds key functional leaders and board directors for innovative executive leadership. FHSA combines traditional search expertise with profound cannabis industry knowledge to support optimal, informed hiring decisions.
FlowerHire senior salaried hiring finds candidates, from manager to senior vice president levels, that both have the skills and are a good cultural fit. The recruiters find a variety of candidates who meet your qualifications, want to grow with the team, and excel.
FlowerHire X, powered by engin sciences, uses artificial intelligence to match companies with hourly candidates for:
- Increased qualified applicants.
- Increased hiring speed.
- Decreased time spent.