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5 Ways to Motivate Employees in the Cannabis Industry

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In any industry, relationships matter, and perhaps there’s no relationship more important than the one between a company’s leader and their employees. Every single day each one of your employees makes a choice to show up and work diligently to keep your cannabis company alive and well. You may think that proper compensation and benefits are enough to motivate employees in the cannabis industry, but those two factors can only do so much.

With a motivated workforce, you’ll be able to handle any obstacles in your path and meet all business objectives. However, if your team feels disconnected, they’re more likely to hit cruise control and turn in a mediocre effort at best. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 61% of American workers say they are burned out at their job, and 31% report high levels of stress at their workplace. To alleviate tension in your work environment and help you retain your best talent, we’ve researched the five best ways to motivate employees in the cannabis industry. 

High Turnover in the Cannabis Industry

It’s no secret that there’s a high turnover rate in the young cannabis industry. For a field that’s growing so rapidly, the issue of the revolving door isn’t too surprising. A report from Headset Cannabis Intelligence identifies that high-growth marijuana dispensaries (40% or more) have high turnover rates. Without a doubt, the primary cause of high turnover in the industry is too much attention to company needs and not enough on employees. Effective team motivation can boost morale, prevent burnout, and reduce stress levels. We believe these five ways to motivate employees in the cannabis industry will help with the retention of your best workers.

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1. Balancing Employee Empowerment & Coaching

Instead of thinking of yourself as the boss, envision yourself as the team’s coach. You’re there to empower your employees, building a relationship with a foundation of trust. At the same time, you’re helping your cannabis team develop confidence in themselves by trusting in their skills and sound decision-making abilities. Along with empowerment, you should also be a guide for them through active coaching. Give them effective strategies and distinct direction along the way without micromanaging or utilizing an authoritarian management style. By balancing empowerment and coaching, you’ll build a healthy relationship with your team that will lead to their evolution. Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of VaynerMedia, gives incredible advice that complements the empowering and coaching leadership style our cannabis staffing firm believes in: “when you realize you work for your employees and not the other way around, things start to change.”

2. Create a Positive Work Environment 

Most working cannabis professionals spend a large chunk of time at an office. So, if it’s a dull and shabby environment, happiness will be lacking. Make the workspace a pleasant habitat by ensuring all technology is working and updated. No equipment should make an employee dream of throwing it out of the window. Provide comfortable furniture, desk chairs that are built for long days, and lighting that illuminates the space nicely. You’ll also want to provide healthy beverages and snacks since you’re only as productive as what you consume. The human brain consumes 20% of what you eat and drink, which impacts how productive you feel. 

3. Set Goals to Create Meaningful Work

We are closure-seeking people, so setting measurable goals for your cannabis team will motivate them and satisfy their craving for completion and progress. Spend some time to help each one of your team members visualize what success looks like in their specific position. It would also be helpful to connect their objectives to the company’s major goals, providing clarity to their purpose. Nobody wants to coast through the day doing busywork that makes no impact. According to Harvard Business Review, 9 out of 10 people are willing to trade a portion of their earnings for more meaningful work. Any cannabis staffing firm will tell you that cannabis employees who know how they are contributing to the big picture will go the extra mile. 

4. Recognize Achievements 

Acknowledging the hard work of cannabis employees is crucial to keeping everyone motivated. By recognizing achievements, your team will feel inspired to continue performing at a high standard. There are a variety of cannabis jobs, and all of them have their own unique challenges. Take the time to understand the challenges your cannabis employees face, so you can award them when they overcome obstacles big and small. Achievements don’t have to be numbers-driven, as something like handling a difficult client deserves praise as well. You can recognize achievements verbally. But, if an employee or the team reach a worthy accomplishment, a reward would be more fitting. Anything from a gift-card to free lunch will motivate employees in the cannabis industry and make them feel appreciated. 

5. Offer a Flexible Schedule

In the digital age, this is a no-brainer. According to a report from Workest, 73% of employees agreed that a flexible work schedule increased their job satisfaction. The same report also showed that 78% of employees believe flexible work arrangements enhance their productivity. Offering the opportunity to work from home every Friday, having a short day once a week, or letting staff come in later can go a long way. There’s also plenty of health benefits to occasionally working from home. For example, you can decrease stress by avoiding long commutes and having more time to sleep. You can also be more sympathetic toward vacation requests, as work-life balance is vital to ideal health. 

Do You Have Cannabis Staffing Needs?

Healthy employee motivation in the cannabis industry is crucial to sustained success. By utilizing these five ways to motivate employees in the cannabis industry, you will stand out as a progressive employer in the space. 

Our cannabis staffing team is here to help your company grow. If you’re looking to build your team with cannabis executive, full-time, or temp talent, we can help you find the best candidates. On the other hand, if you’re looking for cannabis jobs, we can assist you as well. Contact us at

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