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How to Staff Your Dispensary

 November 27, 2019  Written by David Melnick
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As we move closer to the big announcement as well as having just come off of the excellent MoCannTrade job fairs (kudos to them and their hard work), applicants should be developing a plan to efficiently and effectively staff their businesses should they earn a license. The focus here is on several non-standard qualities to look for when generally hiring for a dispensary (hiring for cultivation and manufacturing facilities can be a bit different, although the overarching principles still apply).

There are plenty of individuals extremely eager to become involved with this new industry and a key to a successful business (even outside of cannabis) is hiring the right people. To that end, everyone has their own definition of what is the “right” person.

However, before you answer this question, it is important to establish and understand what your mission, vision, and values are as a company.  Having a sound understanding of these items will greatly assist you in your search for high quality talent. It will allow you to better assess whether a candidate is a good match for the image that your business wants to portray. Finding those who truly believe in why your business exists can have a profound positive impact on operations.

Beyond the standard qualities such as being hard working, a team player, and reliable, some additional items to consider in a candidate include the following:

  • Resiliency – ability to effectively deal with adversities in one’s life
  • Emotional Intelligence – capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions
  • Curiosity– drive to be inquisitive and seek out new information
  • Integrity – capacity to do what is right and be honest with others (especially patients and caregivers)
  • Entrepreneurial – being self-motivated
  • Adaptability – effectively reacting to the constant change of the cannabis industry
  • Purpose Driven – just to reiterate the point made above!

Now, you might be asking why strong cannabis knowledge is not on the list.  While this is an important quality (and one that should be valued), the knowledge itself can be learned. It is the underlying passion for the benefits of the plant and the desire to continuously learn and evolve as an individual that encompasses many of the items noted above and can quickly bridge a knowledge gap between candidates.

Additionally, there may be specific qualities of individuals you determine do not fit your company culture. It is by no means easy to weigh conflicting characteristics when making a hiring decision. To help make these determinations a bit easier, establishing robust hiring policies and procedures is a good place to start. (For specific employment practices, it is best to consult a licensed attorney.)

Irrespective of the quality of the people that you bring onto your team, if they are not treated properly, they will seek other opportunities (a common occurrence, especially in a retail setting). Continuously investing in your team and rewarding them for their hard work (and it does not always have to be monetarily) will help foster a positive working environment and lessen the likelihood that quality employees walk out the door.  Being known as a great place to work can have a monumental trickle-down effect on your dispensary and help position it for long-term success.


Disclaimer: The information presented here is meant for educational purposes only. Medical decisions should not be made based on advertising. Consult a physician on the benefits and risks of specific medical products.

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