Marijuana Business Magazine February 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | February 2019 76 might bring. She also gives employees an opportunity to share feedback and tell her what can be done better. “It’s important they know we’re listening and communicating,” she said. Have fun. Host employee happy hours, staff meals and team-building ac- tivities, and participate in corporate so- cial giving campaigns, Mazor Power said. Sales contests are also an effective way to engage employees, added Mazor Power, who created a friendly sales competition for budtenders to win a trip to Hawaii. If you create a fun, positive environ- ment, you’re more likely to retain happy employees, Power noted. “We sell mari- juana,” she said. “We can’t take ourselves too seriously.” WHY IT MATTERS TO BUDTENDERS Javier Torres, a budtender at Giving Tree, said he feels involved in what’s happen- ing with the business, and his managers have done a good job making him feel engaged. Whether it’s asking for his input on sales, products or how to better serve patients, Torres said, he and his cowork- ers’ opinions are valued. “There’s an emphasis on positive communication, and that’s important,” he said. Torres also values the transparency that Mazor Power has cultivated. From sales figures to changes in operations or information about what’s happening with the cultivation or extraction teams, the owners and managers share insight with employees so they know what’s happening throughout the business. “There’s no hid- ing information from each other,” he said. Torres also appreciates that Giving Tree offers full medical, dental and vision coverage, and he’s happy with the company’s profit-sharing contribution into his retirement account. “Profit shar- ing is something most people would love to have,” he said. “It has given me a head start to planning for the future.” The sales incentives that Mazor Power mentioned leave an impression, too. “I’ve never worked for a company that wanted to buy dinner for me and a spouse or a family member,” he said. “Those incen- tives come from a place of positive intent.” Finally, Torres emphasized the importance of educating employees. Giving Tree’s preshift meetings cover information on new products or changes in operations, and meetings with Mazor Power or the company’s medical director do deeper dives into new research or ways to serve medical patients. “They make sure the education is there for everybody,” Torres said. “That’s the most important thing. Everyone gets to learn.” Ask the right questions. A good first step toward retaining budtenders is hiring the right talent. To that end, Native Roots trains its managers to ask interview questions that illuminate behaviors, and to distinguish descriptive, detailed answers from theoretical answers. A theoretical answer to a question would be: “I build trust within teams.” An answer that gives more insight to behaviors—a preferable approach— would explain how the candidate builds trust within teams and include an example of how the candidate has done that in other roles. “Some things aren’t uncovered in the interview process that should be, and there are characteristics you can look for before they manifest on the job,” Hodgdon said. Check in. I n addition to a three-day training and onboarding process for all new employees, Native Roots’ managers schedule 30-, 60- and 90-day check-ins for all employees. The check-ins are used to find out what’s working and what’s not, and to direct employees to additional training and resources. “Sometimes we don’t press pause enough to ask about everything going on in someone else’s world,” Hodgdon said. “When we let people know they have a voice and can share feedback, it has an awesome impact.” Provide training and continued education . Make onboarding and continued education fun and easy to access, and provide training on skills that can be applied to other industries or Native Roots Headquarters Denver Number of employees 600 Number of retail stores 20 Markets Medical and Recreational Javier Torres Courtesy Photo Christine Hodgdon Courtesy Photo Adam Cole, left, and Cameron McWilliams of Native Roots Courtesy Photos Lilach Mazor Power Courtesy Photo How to Keep Top-Tier Budtenders