Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Building Out a Cannabis Talent Acquisition Strategy

Vangst/Oct 26, 2023

hero-graphic-Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Building Out a Cannabis Talent Acquisition Strategy

Optimize Your Cannabis Talent Strategy: 10 Key Questions and Action Steps

As the cannabis industry continues to flourish, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for businesses aiming to stay competitive. Whether you're a seasoned player or a budding startup, your success largely depends on the quality of your team. Vangst has been a trusted resource to cannabis businesses of all types and sizes, and we’re here to guide you through the process of building an effective talent acquisition strategy for your cannabis business.

Today we’ll dive into ten key questions that can help you shape your talent acquisition approach while providing key action items you can apply to your own team or business. Let’s get started!

1. What is your company's current culture?

Take a moment to reflect on your organization's culture. What's working well, and what could use improvement? A positive workplace culture is critical to attracting and retaining top talent. When candidates see your commitment to a thriving work environment, they'll be more likely to choose your company.

Action Items:

  • Self-Reflection: Start by looking inwards. What is your company's culture? Is it rooted in teamwork, innovation, or something else? Think about the values that drive your organization. Are they aligned with the cannabis industry's unique needs and opportunities?
  • Employee Feedback: Engage in candid conversations with your current employees. What's working well, and what could use a little TLC? Encourage them to share their thoughts on the work environment, company values, and day-to-day experiences. Their input is invaluable.
  • Industry Trends: Keep an eye on the evolving cannabis landscape. The industry is dynamic, and your culture should adapt to its changes. Stay current with industry trends and regulations, and make sure your culture reflects the flexibility needed to thrive in this fast-paced environment.
  • Define Your Vision: Once you've assessed your current culture, set a clear vision for where you want it to be. This vision should reflect the values you want your company to embody. It's the cornerstone of a successful cannabis business

2. What are the gaps in your organization you're looking to fill?

Identify the areas where your business is currently lacking and requires reinforcement. Be specific about the roles you need to fill, and consider the long-term goals for each position.

Action Items:

  • Gap Identification: Start by conducting an in-depth assessment of your organization. Where do you currently see gaps? It could be in roles related to cultivation, manufacturing, sales, compliance, or any other crucial area. Be specific about what's missing.
  • Long-term Vision: Think about the future. What are your long-term goals for each role? Understanding where you want these positions to be in a year, two, or even five years will guide your hiring strategy.
  • Skill Set Analysis: What specific skills and expertise are needed to bridge these gaps? Make a list of the qualifications, experience, and traits required for success in each role.
  • Budget and Resources: Assess your budget and available resources for new hires. This will determine your ability to recruit, onboard, and support new team members effectively.

3. What skills do you currently have on your team? What skills do you think you would benefit from adding?

Assess your existing team's skillset and identify where there may be gaps. This knowledge will guide you in targeting candidates with the right expertise to bridge those deficiencies.

Action Items:

  • Skill Inventory: Begin by taking stock of the skills already present within your team. Identify the strengths that have brought you this far.
  • Gap Analysis: Next, pinpoint areas where your team may be lacking specific skills or expertise. Are there any crucial gaps that, if filled, could take your business to the next level?
  • Skill Wishlist: Create a "skills wishlist" based on the gaps you've identified. What skills do you believe would greatly benefit your organization? Prioritize them based on their relevance and impact.
  • Training and Development: Consider whether some of the desired skills can be cultivated within your existing team through training and development programs.

4. What are the traits of a successful candidate in this role?

Define the key attributes and qualities that would make a candidate successful in the positions you're looking to fill. A well-defined job description will help you attract the right individuals.

Action Items:

  • Define Success: First, clearly outline what success looks like in the roles you're hiring for. Think about the results, impact, and behaviors you expect from a successful candidate.
  • Skill and Qualification Requirements: Specify the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience needed for the role. Make a list of both technical and soft skills that are crucial for effective job performance.
  • Culture Fit: Consider the culture and values of your organization. What traits align with your company's ethos and working environment? Highlight these to ensure candidates will be a good fit.
  • Ask the Team: Get input from your current team members or department heads. They can provide valuable insights into what qualities have contributed to success in their roles.

5. What resources do you have available for new hires?

Consider the support and resources you can offer to new employees. Training, education, and mentorship programs can make your company more appealing to top talent. Are there any partners who could help fill in these gaps?

Action Items:

  • Resource Assessment: Take stock of the resources you can offer to new employees. This includes not only tangible resources like training materials and tools but also intangible ones like mentorship and guidance.
  • Training and Education: Develop robust training and education programs. Ensure that new hires have access to comprehensive onboarding processes, as well as ongoing learning opportunities to help them grow in their roles.
  • Mentorship Programs: Consider establishing mentorship programs within your organization. Pairing new employees with experienced team members can be an invaluable source of support and guidance.
  • Partner Collaboration: Explore partnerships with industry organizations, educational institutions, or other companies that can complement your in-house resources. These partnerships can help fill in gaps and provide specialized knowledge.

6. What does the onboarding process look like?

A smooth onboarding process is essential for setting your new hires up for success. Provide clear expectations, training, and support to help them integrate seamlessly into your team.

Action Items:

  • Clear Expectations: Begin by setting clear expectations for new hires. Provide them with a detailed outline of what their roles entail, your company's values, and the goals they will be working towards.
  • Structured Training: Develop a structured training program that covers not only the basics of the job but also your company's unique processes, safety protocols, and industry regulations. Make sure they have access to resources and materials that support their learning.
  • Buddying System: Consider implementing a buddy system, where new hires are paired with experienced employees who can guide them, answer questions, and help them acclimate to the team and company culture.
  • Ongoing Feedback: Create a system for regular feedback and check-ins during the onboarding process. Encourage open communication and address any concerns or questions promptly.

7. What are the goals you have for this new hire once they're onboarded?

Set clear objectives for new hires, both in terms of their role-specific responsibilities and their career growth within your company. Be transparent about the timeline for achieving these goals.

Action Items:

  • Role-Specific Objectives: Begin by setting specific, role-related goals for the new hire. Clearly outline what is expected in terms of daily responsibilities, project outcomes, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Career Growth Trajectory: Beyond immediate responsibilities, discuss their long-term potential within your company. Define career paths and potential opportunities for advancement, aligning these with their personal aspirations.
  • Timelines and Milestones: Establish a timeline for achieving these objectives. Break the goals into achievable milestones, and communicate deadlines and performance review points.
  • Regular Feedback and Support: Throughout their journey, provide ongoing feedback and support. Regular check-ins allow you to gauge progress, offer guidance, and address any concerns.

8. What, culturally, are you looking to add to the team?

Define the cultural traits that are important for your team. A cohesive culture that aligns with your values can improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Share this with potential candidates to help them understand your organization better.

Action Items:

  • Cultural Traits Assessment: Start by evaluating your current team's cultural traits. What values and behaviors have contributed to their success? Identify the strengths you want to preserve.
  • Define Cultural Values: Clearly articulate the cultural values that are important to your organization. Is it innovation, collaboration, integrity, or something else? Consider how these values align with the cannabis industry's unique demands.
  • Share Your Culture: Communicate your cultural expectations with potential candidates during the hiring process. Be open about what you value in your team, ensuring they have a clear understanding of your organization's cultural identity.
  • Promote Cultural Alignment: Develop strategies to promote cultural alignment within your team. This might include team-building activities, recognition programs, or regular discussions about the cultural traits you want to foster.

9. What are the soft skills you're looking for in a candidate? Hard skills?

Clearly outline the soft skills (like communication and teamwork) and hard skills (industry-specific knowledge and technical abilities) that are essential for success in the roles you're hiring for.

Action Items:

  • Soft Skills Identification: Start by identifying the soft skills that are crucial for success in your organization. Is it effective communication, adaptability, teamwork, or problem-solving? Be specific about the soft skills that align with your company's culture and the demands of the cannabis industry.
  • Hard Skills Specification: Next, define the hard skills necessary for the roles you're hiring for. This might include knowledge of cannabis regulations, technical expertise in cultivation or extraction, or proficiency with specific software or equipment.
  • Create a Skills Matrix: Develop a skills matrix that outlines the soft and hard skills required for each role. This matrix will serve as a reference during the hiring process, ensuring that you are looking for candidates who meet all the necessary skill criteria.
  • Skills Assessment: Use the skills matrix to assess potential candidates. During interviews or evaluations, ask questions and conduct assessments that directly address the identified soft and hard skills.

10. Is the compensation competitive? How about compared to the compensation of the other team members?

Make sure your compensation packages are competitive within the cannabis industry. Candidates often consider this a key factor when evaluating job offers. To dive deeper into standard cannabis salaries, consult Vangst's yearly Salary Guide for valuable insights.

Action Items:

  • Salary Benchmarking: Begin by conducting a comprehensive salary benchmarking exercise. This involves researching and analyzing compensation trends in the cannabis industry to understand the competitive landscape.
  • Team Compensation Review: Evaluate the compensation of your existing team members to ensure fairness and consistency. Identify any discrepancies and take steps to rectify them, aligning salaries with industry standards.
  • Benefits and Perks: Beyond base salaries, consider the benefits and perks you offer, such as healthcare, retirement plans, or performance bonuses. These can significantly impact your compensation package's attractiveness.
  • Stay Updated: The cannabis industry is dynamic, and compensation trends can change. Regularly review and adjust your compensation packages to remain competitive and aligned with the industry.

Proud to Work in Cannabis

Building effective talent acquisition strategies for cannabis businesses is a multifaceted process that requires thoughtful planning and a deep understanding of your organization's needs. Vangst, with its extensive experience in cannabis recruiting, can be your trusted partner in this journey, helping you find and attract top talent to drive your business forward.

By answering these ten essential questions, you'll be well on your way to crafting a talent acquisition strategy that not only attracts skilled professionals but also aligns with your company's culture and long-term goals. Partner with Vangst and watch your cannabis business thrive with the best talent in the industry. Ready to take the next step in cannabis recruiting? Contact Vangst today and explore the possibilities that lie ahead in the dynamic world of cannabis business.

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