Photo: © Ken Blaze

Welcome to our second-annual tips issue, where we close out the year sharing dozens of strategies to help you improve your business. In this issue, you’ll find insights from experts on topics such as expanding and franchising your business, evaluating a potential acquisition and attracting more Gen X customers.

Though the article topics are varied, a strong theme persists throughout the issue—the importance of treating employees well and fairly. Showing staff you appreciate what they do, especially around the holidays, with spoken words and written thank-you notes is important. It matters, it costs nothing and takes little time. However, actions tend to speak louder than words, and to be competitive in this job market, companies need to do more year-round.

Human resources expert and regular HRHQ columnist Maria Denzin didn’t just write about ideas for keeping associates happy for this month’s issue. Her tips revolve around making sure another dispensary doesn’t scoop up your staff. Poaching is a business reality in a job-seeker’s market, and one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is money. Retailers can’t just pay the market rate to keep great employees. They must do better.

This sentiment was echoed by Bianca Blanche, a flower host with Original Cannabis Café (formerly Lowell Café,) a cannabis consumption restaurant in Los Angeles. Blanche notes, “By compensating budtenders properly, it tells them you care about their well-being and want to see them succeed. A happy budtender equals a happy customer.” Most of us know this, but not all have internalized it, as some budtenders in even expensive markets like L.A. don’t make a living wage.

Dockside Cannabis, featured in this issue’s cover story, also works to ensure budtenders—who Dockside co-founder Aaron Varney says are the “face of the company”—are making competitive wages, both regionally and nationally.

Benefits are important, but as Denzin notes, they must cater to what really matters to your employees. Vacation time is more important to some than a 401K. Others value a work-life balance or trust and flexibility, where time-off requests aren’t met with resistance or aversion. Discovering what each person on your team wants and customizing benefits when possible demonstrates how valuable they are to your operation.

These strategies not only benefit your employees, but they benefit your business. “The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary—and that’s a conservative estimate,” according to a 2019 Gallup report. “A trillion dollars. That’s what U.S. businesses are losing every year due to voluntary turnover.”

What’s perhaps more important is that in many cases, employee turnover can be avoided by working to keep your employees happy. “The most astounding part is that most of this damage is self-inflicted,” reports Gallup.

Whether you’re looking to create a better workplace for your employees and prevent talented employees from leaving the company or make important decisions about expansion or marketing, this issue of CD is designed to help you close out 2019 with implementable strategies for the coming year.

Best wishes for continued success and a healthy and happy holiday season!