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Many Cannabis Employees Are Fleeing Their Jobs. Here's How to Keep Them Around.

Four retention strategies tailored specifically for the cannabis business.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Competition for a cannabis workforce has arrived. The industry is finally at a place where employee turnover is slowing down because of the improved perception of the plant and better wages and benefits.

As a result, many cannabis industry employees are actively recruited by other cannabis operators because they have industry experience. 

This means cannabis companies need to think about growth for the individual employee. After all, there may not be a more qualified person than the person you already have. For this reason, companies must create a retention policy as quickly as possible. 

On a high level, the cannabis industry has a unique ethos compared to other businesses. The primary focus cannot be about making money. There needs to be a healthy mixture of running a sustainable business and having a mission-driven nature for the company and the industry. Does your company ethos reflect and align with company values, the cannabis industry, and your hires?

While the cannabis industry is not conventional, employees still look for conventional aspects in a career path. Here are four things to consider when structuring your employee retention plan:

Related: How to Create a Winning Employee Retention Strategy

1. Training and development

Train your employees and develop their skills to support internal mobility. Employees like having multiple opportunities at the same company – it’s both exciting and provides a sense of security. Even though the days of most employees working for decades for the same employer are long gone, who wants to jump around from company to company in search of a career path? Talk with your employees to see where they envision themselves in three years, five years, and ten years. Layout your employee’s career path with them. Their career path should align with both their professional development goals and your company goals.

Related: These Are the Top 5 Most In-Demand Skill Sets for the Cannabis Industry

2. Comp and benefits

As the cannabis industry matures and more talent migrates from other sectors, you must monitor compensation trends in the cannabis industry and other industries. There was a time when cannabis companies were not offering benefits, but well-crafted benefits packages are emerging. And when you’re feeling hesitant to bump up your employees’ salaries, remember that it costs more to train and onboard a new employee than it does to increase a current wage.

3. Solid company values and culture

Company culture is arguably the most essential part of your retention strategy. Many people spend more time at work than they do with their families, so finding a company that shares values is critical for personal happiness. Plus, a good cultural fit benefits the company just as much as it helps the employee. Employees who have aligned values with the company are more likely to be committed to the company, unleash their creativity, and be excited to go to work every day. Defined company values and culture, combined with employees that fit and align, leads to long-term prosperity.

Related: Employee Retention: 4 Tips to Help Keep Your Top Talent

4. Having a voice 

What type of employees are you trying to attract and retain? What kind of discounts and benefits (cash or otherwise) will ideal candidates want? Don’t just come up with what you think they would like. Ask them what they want. And use their answers to inform the perks you offer. The offer of a company picnic may not entice your employees – they may enjoy more flexibility with their schedule, more paid time off, discounts, or employee events that they would opt to attend when they’re not working. Take a look at your defined company culture, and be sure to offer company perks that align with the culture of your workforce.