Attracting and Keeping Top Talent in the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry is always in flux. To illustrate, 2020 has presented its fair share of challenges for both expansion and hiring in the cannabis business. As new markets like Michigan and Illinois see astonishing growth figures, other more established markets like Colorado and California are struggling to show profits. Similarly, for the first time in history, publically traded cannabis companies in the U.S. and Canada are being held accountable for profitability. Either way – if a cannabis company is experiencing rapid growth, or downsizing for profitability – it’s more important than ever that they have the proper employee team in place. Similarly, businesses must consistently revise their approaches to hiring and retaining cannabis industry employees.retaining cannabis industry employees

As of January 1, 2020, 33 U.S. states have legalized cannabis in some form. Moreover, it is said that 16 states will have cannabis legalization on their 2020 ballots. So, with all the growth in the cannabis industry, and more companies launching within the industry, how do employers remain competitive in hiring and retaining employees? Also, how do they keep employees around during difficult times?

Be Proactive in Searching & Sourcing

Not to be confused with recruiting, talent sourcing is the process of identifying, researching, and networking with probable job candidates. The hope is, these “passive candidates” will one day become applicants when the time is right. Sourcing is important because it improves the quality of hiring by way of an extended vetting process. Also, it’s a great way to keep track of candidates that are not necessarily marketing themselves online.

It’s advisable that large companies continue to source potential candidates throughout the year so they can reach out when there is a hiring need.

Sourcing Outside of the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry represents a brand new line of work. To this end, recreational cannabis markets were only realized 5 short years ago. Therefore, the demand for cannabis industry talent sometimes outweighs available applicants. If this is the case, M&F Talent recommends that businesses source candidates from outside the cannabis industry.

Every week, M&F Talent sees hundreds of qualified applicants who are interested in working with cannabis. Many of these people are passionate, motivated, and experienced. Even more, many of them are comfortable working with cannabis industry startups. Don’t let unrealistic requirements for cannabis professionals keep you from hiring the right person.

The Interview Processretaining cannabis industry employees

With decades of experience in recruiting, the team at M&F Talent has come to realize that the interview process is a delicate time. As such, if you are interested in attracting and hiring the top talent in the cannabis industry, be sure that you are timely and attentive with your communications. To this end, there is no better way to have a candidate “go cold” than by not following through on scheduled calls and meetings.

Throughout the interview process, it’s vital that candidates know they are a priority for your company. Because, how they are treated during the interview phase is often a reflection of the general work environment. As such, a key to hiring the best applicants is by making sure their needs are met throughout the entire interview process.

Salary & Retaining Cannabis Industry Employees

The cannabis business presents some extremely unique challenges when it comes to employee compensation. Namely because, most cannabis companies can’t pay salaries that are competitive with more “traditional” industries. Therefore, many industry experts see a direct correlation between high turnover rates and lackluster employee wages.

If you are interested in retaining cannabis industry employees, it’s advisable that you find creative ways to compensate for lower salaries. There are a variety of options for this process. For starters, higher-level employees are oftentimes offered equity in the business as part of their wages. Secondly, entry-level employees and mid-level management teams are often incentivized by perks like discounted products, free meals, and endless networking.retaining cannabis industry employees

Partnering with a Recruiting Firm 

Because recruiting firms like M&F Talent specialize in sourcing, vetting, and interviewing candidates, we can be a great resource for busy hiring parties. Even more, staffing agencies generally find candidates quicker because we specialize in the process. The hope being, outsourcing a 3rd party cannabis recruiter will help the overall productivity and efficiency of your HR department.

If you would like to learn more about M&F Talent or our recruiting services, please contact us at