Photo: © Ken Blaze

Company culture can seem like an intangible aspect of business. Yet experts in most industries would agree that it’s essential to have a positive work environment for an organization to be successful in the long-term. So, how can cannabis dispensaries create an engaging company culture?

Knowing what matters most to employees is a start, and that’s exactly what Cannabis Dispensary wanted to discover as part of the “Best Cannabis Companies to Work For – Dispensaries” awards program. CD, in partnership with the Best Companies Group, an independent research firm that specializes in identifying great places to work, conducted a workplace study in the fall of 2019. For cannabis dispensaries that applied for the award, we asked their employees how well their companies handled leadership, communication, relationships, work environment, training, pay and benefits, and more, and you can read the results in this issue.

Participating dispensary leadership also completed a questionnaire about company policies, practices, benefits and demographics. Results from the employer survey were weighted at 25%, while the employee engagement section was worth 75% of the total evaluation.

Five dispensary operators, some of which are vertically integrated, scored high enough to be crowned among the “Best Cannabis Companies to Work For,” and you can read more about each. In addition, the co-founders of top-ranking Greenhouse Wellness, Gina Dubbé and Dr. Leslie Apgar, will share insights on how they built a strong cultural foundation for their Maryland-based dispensary at the Cannabis Conference, April 21-23.

Knowing what matters most to employees is a start.

The Employee Engagement & Satisfaction Survey asked employees to rank statements like “The leaders of this organization are open to input from employees” using a scale ranging from “Agree Strongly” to “Disagree Strongly,” and the results are interesting. Those who earned the “best” distinction scored much higher than their counterparts in questions about leadership and planning; for example, 90% of employees from “Best Companies” answered statements like “I have confidence in the leadership of this organization” favorably, while other companies averaged 71%.

“Best Companies” also performed much better on average on questions about role satisfaction (91% versus 79% for other companies), corporate culture and communications (87% versus 72%) and training, development and resources (84% versus 70%.) Overall, many employees surveyed indicated they were satisfied with their relationships with supervisors, as the averages of those questions were 92% for best companies and 84% for other companies.

Questions about pay and benefits, however, carried the lowest overall averages for both “Best Companies” (74%) and other companies (61%.) Eighty-three percent of employees from “Best Companies” agreed to the statement “My pay is fair for the work I perform,” compared to other companies at 59%. Both groups fell short when it came to specific benefits, like retirement and life insurance.

Many business decisions are data-driven, and we hope this research can help you determine which company benefits and programs you can prioritize to create a positive culture that will lead to happier, more productive teams and a more successful business.

Michelle Simakis, Editor |