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Hiring for Diversity in the Cannabis Industry

diversity hiring in cannabis industry

Bias is part of how our brains work. The human mind has several cognitive biases, which allow your brain to cut corners to process complex information quickly for survival purposes. However, that can lead you to non-rational decisions. We develop bias blind spots throughout life, even though we strive to be moral, fair people. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with our bias blind spots. One place where bias leaks into is the cannabis hiring process. And although the industry is seen as progressive, 90% of cannabis executives are white men. So, how do we hire for diversity in the cannabis industry?  

By analyzing your process and correcting the system, your cannabis company can start hiring for diversity. You can reduce bias in your organizational procedures by adjusting your methods of applicant evaluation. However, you need to first recognize the partiality problem so that you can correct your procedures. We’ve created this guide for diversity hiring so that we can help the legal marijuana space push toward restorative justice and racial equality. Read on to learn how to hire for diversity in the cannabis industry.

diversity hiring benefits in cannabis

Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in Cannabis 

With a diverse workforce in the cannabis industry, you will have the advantage of more perspectives, allowing your creativity as a whole team to flourish. Of course, you also need to focus on knowledge sharing. With a culture of knowledge sharing and a diverse workforce in the cannabis industry, there is more potential to innovate and solve problems creatively.

Additionally, your cannabis staff will be more relatable to a bigger audience. A wide range of people make up the cannabis community. If your company reflects the melting pot that is the cannabis community, your audience will slip into the loyalty loop easier. Therefore, you can increase your marketing opportunities with a diverse cannabis staff. Look at the numbers, and you’ll see that racially diverse teams outperform less diverse teams by 35%. With a more diverse cannabis team, your company employees have more potential to grow consistently—both in mindset and performance. Therefore, hiring for diversity in the cannabis industry is a no-brainer.  

Diversity Hiring Audit 

The first thing your company must do is conduct a diversity hiring audit. And this isn’t just an audit of the hiring process—but your cannabis brand overall. Thoroughly analyze your hiring process so you can make the appropriate adjustments. Are your cannabis job postings inclusive? Consider what you are asking on the job applications. Ask for gender identity rather than sex, replace the ‘other’ category with ‘non-binary,’ and provide a place for pronouns they identify with. Is your cannabis brand’s career site welcoming to all cultures, races, and identities? Go beyond having diverse workforce images. Consider your branding and what type of audience it attracts. Additionally, analyze the benefits you’re offering. For example, does your benefits package include floating holidays to accommodate diverse cultures, flexible schedules, and the option to work remotely?  

Most importantly, you must live up to the words you are saying. Hiring for diversity in the cannabis industry is about following through. What is your brand doing to support diversity in the cannabis community? Candidates will analyze your brand. So, taking notes on how your brand presents itself and the actions it takes is critical to the diversity hiring audit. You may even benefit from conducting an anonymous survey to measure diversity at your company right now. Utilize Survey Monkey or a similar tool to conduct anonymous surveys to look at where your company stands.  

Cannabis Candidate Sourcing 

If you are failing to attract diverse candidates, there is plenty you can do. The “it is what it is” mentality must be broken. Once you have done your diversity hiring audit, you will have a clearer picture of your shortcomings. Then, you can hone in on the different sectors of the hiring process, starting with candidate sourcing. Here are some approaches you can take to make your cannabis candidate sourcing inclusive: 

Edit Your Job Descriptions  

Job descriptions are often gender-coded in subtle ways. Certain words attract more male candidates. For example, “dominant,” “powerful,” and “ambitious” tend to attract more men. To check if your cannabis job posting is targeting male candidates, use this gender decoder tool and make the adjustments. Also, cut out any unnecessary jargon or corporate language, as it deters talented, young individuals from entry-level positions. Lastly, limit your job description to must-haves. Studies show that men will apply to a job if they meet 60% of the qualifications, and women are likelier to apply if they meet close to 100% of the qualifications.   

Present Your Workplace Diversity 

The best way to attract diverse candidates in cannabis is by being a diverse company and showing it. According to a Glassdoor survey, 67% of job seekers consider diversity an essential factor when evaluating a company. Not only should you showcase your company’s diversity on your social media channels and website, but you should also involve a diverse set of individuals in your cannabis hiring process. If your cannabis company’s diversity could be better, voice that you are trying to build a more inclusive team.   

Workplace Flexibility 

If you want to attract more diverse cannabis candidates, offering workplace flexibility is critical. By offering work-from-home options and flexible hours, your cannabis company will attract talent with diverse backgrounds across the nation and even the world. Taking away a flexible schedule or remote work options means you will miss out on plenty of talent. Also, workplace flexibility is more inclusive since it acknowledges the employees’ lives outside of work. Not only will you attract diverse candidates, but you’ll have a more productive team. According to a survey by Boston College Center for Work & Family, 70% of managers and 87% of employees said that working a flexible schedule had a positive impact on their productivity.   

Cannabis recruiting with diversity in mind takes time and patience. If you do not have enough time to adjust your candidate sourcing appropriately, using cannabis recruiters is a wonderful option. However, you must find the right cannabis recruiters who practice sourcing diverse talent.

Candidate Screening and Shortlisting 

The standard candidate screening checklist, including prior companies, schools they attended, GPA, and memberships, will decrease the chances of diversity. Additionally, asking about simple information like age, gender, and ethnicity may also hinder diverse hiring. This type of information does not directly affect job performance and may steer you toward judging candidates unfairly without being aware of it. You can decrease bias in hiring by doing blind screenings or evaluations of candidates for all your open cannabis jobs. Also, you can use personality assessments to ensure you stick to a diverse hiring approach.   

Here is a list of things to help you perform an unbiased candidate screening: 

  • Avoid pre-screening via social media 
  • Collect data relevant to the cannabis job’s requirements and cut out unnecessary information 
  • Conduct assessments that help you gauge the candidates’ abilities for the specific cannabis job 
  • Use personality assessments to increase the potential of diverse hiring  

If you do not have ample time to make these adjustments for candidate screening, reaching out to the right cannabis recruiters for support is a viable option. A cannabis recruiting firm that makes diverse hiring the norm can be a huge help.  

Select for Diversity to Fill Cannabis Jobs 

You can give underrepresented groups more attention within the hiring process by selecting for diversity. A cannabis company can fix hiring imbalances by considering identity characteristics when making hiring decisions. Additionally, a cannabis company can set numerical diversity goals. However, you must be consistent with the law. Specifically, the inclusion effort needs to aim to improve “a protected group’s low numbers in a certain job or sector and the disparity results from past barriers to opportunity—in the larger workforce, or in your company.” For example, an organization may aim to hire a certain percentage of women in statistically male-dominated roles. Determine the obstacles that create diversity imbalances and start creating solutions to help your company select for diversity from there.  

Diversity Hiring for Cannabis Jobs: Takeaways 

  • Do a diversity hiring audit for your current cannabis hiring process 
  • Find ways to source diverse candidates  
  • Edit your cannabis job descriptions  
  • Showcase your company diversity 
  • Provide workplace flexibility 
  • Conduct blind candidate screenings and evaluations 
  • Aim to select for diversity  

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