Photo: © Ken Blaze

Typically, people work at a company for about four years before moving on, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is even lower when looking at data for millennials; 22- to 37-year-olds have about a three-year tenure, according to median figures.

Creating a positive company culture is important, not only because it improves the environment and makes for a more enjoyable experience, but hiring is expensive and time consuming, and it’s a job seekers’ market (as most of you may know, given the high turnover rates in the cannabis industry).

The president of GIE Media, the parent company of Cannabis Dispensary, noted these statistics showing that company loyalty is declining during a recent all-staff meeting, where we gather for lunch and to hear updates. Our B2B publishing company turns 40 soon, but we are still refining, revisiting and improving policies to attract and retain staff, changes I’ve witnessed since starting about seven years ago.

For example, the president now recognizes significant anniversaries during these meetings for people who have worked for the company for one year, five years, 10 years and so on in increments of five years. They receive some sort of thank you, whether that be a gift card to an upscale local restaurant or even a weekend trip for those who’ve dedicated two decades to GIE.

But those aren’t the only incentives GIE provides. The company has 401K and student loan repayment matching programs—in addition to hosting multiple company outings, including a fall clam bake where employees are encouraged to bring their families.

Feeling connected and appreciated increases loyalty.

Each year, GIE sponsors a marathon relay team, where each employee in teams of five runs a segment of the race. About 50 people participated this year. I’ve ran for the past seven years, but this year felt different. More people participated than ever before, so it was easy to find colleagues and cheer them on when they started legs or give high-fives when they completed their sections. We all had GIE-branded shirts, so even if you didn’t know a co-worker personally, you could still congratulate him or her, knowing that person was on your team.

Our company, like many in the cannabis industry, is growing very quickly, creating new positions, especially to improve our digital offerings. Sometimes it’s tough to find the time and the right opportunity to get to know colleagues. Although we are all publishing magazines, they are in very different markets, ranging from recycling to pest control, aerospace to cannabis. These events and company meetings help us remember that we’re all in this together. Conversations with people in different industries remind us we’re all working toward the same goal and can learn from each other. Feeling connected and appreciated increases loyalty. It’s not just a given anymore.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that people are increasingly siloed in their own duties and deadlines, especially if your company is vertically integrated or includes multiple locations. What opportunities can you provide to bring people together, to recognize them for their contributions and remind them they’re all on the same team?

Michelle Simakis, Editor |