Marijuana Business Magazine October 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | October 2019 92 “I wouldn’t say the cannabis industry has a very unique way of constructing their compensation packages,” said Edouard Thoumyre, managing partner of Accur. “Even though cannabis is growing very fast, which makes it attractive, to be able to take those people away from the wine and spirits industry, they have to offer things that go along with what wine and big spirit companies offer.” Employers often try to mirror the perks packages of the industries they’re trying to lure from, which could mean offering a high base salary. Some cannabis com- panies are developing key performance indicators, or KPIs, similar to those used by other businesses, Thoumyre said. Typ- ical KPIs might include sales or profit per employee as well as absenteeism. But KPIs also can be more specialized, depending on the company. “When a brand has a premium feel and is a very strong brand, instead of having commission or bonuses that are tied only to sales, there are a lot of qualitative aspects that come into play to get your bonus, such as the quality of merchandising and the ability to keep price at the same level across retail stores,” he said. GETTING CREATIVE BEYOND PAY Current hiring by cannabis businesses is often driven in response to immediate needs companies are facing, whether it is adding salespeople to grow the brand or recruiting executives to lead new op- erations, said Christine Hodgdon, chief operating officer at Vangst, a Denver recruitment firm. “Because cannabis is growing so fast and evolving and regulations are changing daily, there’s a lot of reactive hiring,” Hodgdon said. “Reactive hiring causes you to just do whatever you need to do to fill a gap or pain point. The more structure that cannabis companies undertake and the more planning ahead they do in workforce planning and analysis will allow them to design more creative compensation plans six months before they need the person.” A thoughtful approach from companies around hiring could save them time luring needed workers by presenting the information candidates want to see upfront. Compensation plans could also save employers money by offering salaries that align with their budgets and industry standards. In addition, a compensation plan offers an opportunity for companies to get creative with benefits beyond pay. Paid time off is increasingly offered by employers, as is health-care coverage and retirement benefits such as a 401(k) plan. Companies have just started to think about the type of long-term incentives they can offer in their plans to reduce employee turnover, Hodgdon said. “I haven’t seen as much of those retention agreements coming through yet. I do think that will be a trend and some bigger players will start to implement those to make sure they’re keeping their top talent,” Hodgdon added. “Profit-sharing is a long-term incentive. Obviously, another incentive cannabis companies can start to offer is 401(k) matching at a vesting schedule. A lot of people will stay through the vesting of their match.” Recruiting firms such as Vangst may be able to help clients understand what similar companies are paying for top-notch talent. Courtesy Photo Edouard Thoumyre Courtesy Photo Perfecting Your Pay Plan