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How to Staff Smart Amid Tough Times in the Cannabis Industry

smart cannabis staffing

When you hear the term “flexible staffing”, do you know what it means? A lot of people in the cannabis industry don’t. And that’s a shame. Flexible staffing can save cannabis companies money, make their business more flexible and agile, and ensure they hire the best people for the job.

I’ve received a lot of questions from CannabizTeam clients about flexible staffing, the role temporary staff, consultants, and fractional executives play, and the value they offer when there’s economic uncertainty. I wrote this blog post to answer those questions about flexible cannabis staffing. I want to educate more cannabis companies on why they should be capitalizing on flexible staffing. Not only because of the value it offers, but because I strongly believe it’s how cannabis companies will increasingly structure their workforces.

What is Flexible Staffing in the Cannabis Industry?

Flexible staffing is where a company supports its team of full-time employees with temporary staff, consultants, and fractional executives. Flexible staffing delivers tremendous value to cannabis businesses (especially during times of uncertainty):

  • Affordability – Temporary staff, consultants, and fractional executives are more affordable than full-time employees. Companies don’t have to provide benefits like health coverage and retirement packages, or pay them for overtime and paid leave.
  • Flexibility – Flexible cannabis staffing enables businesses to scale up and down their teams based on their needs. Flexibility also reduces full-time employee burnout through extra support when they need it most.
  • Agility – Pre-badged temporary staff, consultants, and fractional executives can hit the ground running. They don’t need to go through a company’s formal onboarding process or training.
  • Assurance – Companies can “try before they hire” temporary staff, consultants, and fractional executives. They can find comfort in ensuring they’re hiring the person with the right skills and expertise for the job.

Many of our clients use flexible staffing to bolster their teams, including TerrAscend. I recently asked their CFO Keither Stauffer why. He said, “Flexible staffing is an important part of our staffing model. We’ve built a bench of temporary staff, consultants, and fractional executives we can tap into seasonally, and when new business opportunities arise.”

two executives researching flexible cannabis staffing

When to Use Temporary Staff, Consultants, or Fractional Executives for Your Cannabis Business

Temporary staff are entry-level workers who do a job for a set period of time (ranging from a day to several months). For example, a lot of our clients use pre-badged temporary cultivation technicians to harvest during Croptober. Some of the jobs companies hire temporary staff to fill are:

  • Cultivation tech
  • Warehouse picker/packer
  • Manufacturing tech
  • Inventory associate
  • Budtender 

Consultants are senior-level talent with specific expertise that support either a project (ranging from weeks to months) or provide ongoing support. They are particularly useful when you need niche expertise your full-time team doesn’t have. For example, we recently helped a vertically-integrated cannabis operator hire specialized Finance and IT consultants for a systems conversion project. The most common jobs companies hire consultants to fill are:

  • Finance and accounting managers
  • Marketing managers
  • Retail managers

Fractional executives are talent who fill VP-level and above roles at companies for a few hours per week on an ongoing basis. They’re particularly useful when you’re starting a business and don’t have the budget to hire a full-time executive, or when you are searching for a full-time executive and need someone to bridge the gap. For example we recently helped a company that is expanding into Maryland and other East Coast states hire a fractional chief marketing officer. The most common jobs companies hire fractional executives to fill are:

  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • VP of Retail

I hope this blog post helps more cannabis companies bolster their teams and grow their businesses. If you’re curious to learn more, we’re here to help. Various obstacles can grow into more complex problems if you don’t handle them correctly. With flexible staffing, you can navigate these uncertain times with confidence. Reach out today to discuss how your company can thrive in challenging times with flexible staffing

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