Hiring New Employees with the Right Resources for Your Regulated Cannabis Business

Written by Jenny Germano

Whether you are an established regulated Cannabis operation or a pretty new business, one thing you all have in common is employees. 

Hiring employees can either be a daunting task or one filled with pride and excitement in building a dream team for your business. If your company is suffering from employee retention issues, it could be a very undesirable task at hand - however solvable.

Here are a Few Tips for Hiring New Employees

  • Look for employees who already have a work history in a regulated environment such as health care, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health and sanitation, or the restaurant industry. 
  • Give them specific instructions to follow for the application process. Did they follow the instructions? This will let you know if they are going to be subordinate.
  • Did they submit a cover letter with their resume and is it professionally done? This will be an indicator of the quality of the employee.
  • Are they providing references? If so, take the time to check them! References will tell you a lot about the type of employee they will be. If none were provided, ask for them.
  • Ask the applicant about their goals and plans for the future – this will tell you if they are goal oriented.
  • Always do a working interview to see how they interact with employees and your customers. 

Finding the correct resources for your new Cannabis operation can be time consuming and there could be things you are not doing properly when it comes to Employee Labor Laws in your State.

For those of you in the State of Colorado, here are some resources from the Colorado Labor Department. We actually found these links on the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division's Website listed under MED "Resources and Statistics"

If you are out of State, check your Labor Departments Website under the section called "employers" and see what resources they offer for new and existing businesses. 

Here are some resources for New Cannabis Businesses and Existing Cannabis Businesses from the Colorado Labor Department. 

  • Register your business through MyBizColorado for an Unemployment Account
  • Quarterly Reporting Requirements for Pay Premiums and Wages Here
  • New Hire Reporting - Note* This is required. For more information Here
  • Verify Worker's Comp Coverage Here. Employers are required to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance for one or more employees (with few exceptions).
  • Employment Verification Here. Upon request of the director, an employer shall submit documentation to the director that demonstrates that the employer is in compliance with the employment verification requirements.
  • Verify Wage and Hour Law Compliance Here. Verify your compliance with minimum wage, overtime, and pay laws and regulations.
  • Ensuring Proper Worker Classification Here. Ensure you are classifying your workers correctly. Employee/worker misclassification occurs when an employer mistakenly classifies a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee.
  • Employment State and Federal Posters Here. These should be displayed in a employee common area such as a break room. 

*Note Resources from Colorado Labor Department "New Hire Checklist"

Following Labors laws is part of complying in operating a business in your State. If you are not following all labor laws, you risk getting costly fines. 

Having a revolving door with employees can cost you more than it does to retain them. Here are some reminders and tips for retaining employees. 

How To Retain Good Employees 

  • Offer health insurance, 401(k), IRA mutual fund, or an investment in company stock.
  • Every quarter have an employee appreciation event such as treating them to lunch or taking the team bowling or to some other fun outing. The point is to choose some type of activity or act that lets them know they are appreciated -- and not just once a year.
  • Award employees with performance-based incentives like gift cards, company swag or a bonus and a raise.
  • Provide ample training for all levels of employees; educating them on compliance, the business mission, and how important they are, empowers employees. 
  • Give them team and individual goals to reach . . . and acknowledge their successes.
  • Utilize the “sandwich effect” when correcting or reprimanding employees – start with positive feedback, then deliver your negative and then close with a positive.
  • Allow employees to give feedback in a safe setting and contribute to new ideas.
  • An important element to retaining your workforce is how your employees are managed.
  • Ensure that your management team is experienced and the management systems you have in place are strong and consistent.

Operating in the regulated cannabis industry and being under the microscope of compliance on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Not to mention you are setting the standards in a new industry.

Utilizing all the tools and available resources in your state can help combat the overwhelm and piling on your plate. Do it the right way from the beginning and avoid all the headaches it will create later in your business if you do not comply with State Labor Laws.

ICS Consulting specializes in Compliance based services, such as Third-Party State Regulatory Audits, State and Local License Application Support, Technical Writing, Standard Operating Procedures Development, Compliance Operations Training, Employee Retention Solutions, and Employee Onboarding. For more information on how ICS Consulting Service can help your Cannabis Business, book a free 30-minute consult and we'll help you map out your next steps to be successful in the Regulated Cannabis Industry.