Marijuana Business Magazine April 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | April 2020 50 COMPENSATION CONTEMPLATION Cannabis businesses with a record of successful hiring tend to start by identifying needs within the company and then using a mix of internal and external recruiters to seek candidates with the skills to fill those needs. “When we contemplate bringing somebody else to the team, it’s in context of what’s the business need. When we think about that, the first thing to get clear is what do we want that person to contribute,” said Steve Hardardt, senior vice president and chief people officer at New York-based multistate operator Acreage Holdings. He previously has led human resource efforts at companies such as tw telecom (now CenturyLink) and Honeywell. Ed Schmults, CEO of Massachusetts multistate operator Calyx Peak, starts the same way. “We say ‘Who do we need?’ We write up a job description, spend time on that and make sure we get that right. And then try to identify the skill sets and bring those people here.” Once the skill sets are identified, large cannabis companies primarily use their executives’ networks and in-house recruiters to find candidates, but they frequently complement those efforts with outside recruiting agencies. At Acreage, for example, Hardardt’s team consists of a vice president of human resources, a full-time veteran recruiter, plus six regional HR managers who fill posts in cultivation facilities, production facilities and retail stores in the company’s various state operations. Hardardt was recruited last year by Acreage board member Larissa Herda, who was CEO of tw telecom, where Hardardt was chief HR officer. CALLING FOR OUTSIDE HELP When internal efforts aren’t turning up the right candidates, Acreage turns to outside recruiting agencies. The company used five or six recruiters last year, Hardardt estimated. “We use them when we have a particularly challenging opening, one that we don’t think we can successfully source candidates ourselves,” Hardardt said. “It’s also an opportunity to find folks that may not be active seekers. In those instances, recruiters can reach out to candidates and develop their interest so we can develop a broader range of candidates.” Chicago-based multistate operator Cresco Labs has hired several specialists for its recruiting team, which over the years has built a database of more than 100,000 candidates. “I have a recruiter who specializes in cultivation. He just spends his time getting to know anybody and everybody he can around the country in cultivation through LinkedIn, networking, cold calling, whatever. I’ve got a recruiter who also specializes on the supply chain, warehouse and distribution side. Think more CPG-type companies. When we get positions like that, I’ll go to her and give her some specific directions, and she’ll pound her network,” said Scott Wells, Cresco’s chief people officer. Although “relatively rare,” Cresco will use an outside recruiter for posts that its internal team hasn’t been able to fill. Schmults at Calyx Peak estimated that half his management team was recruited through internal leads, and the other half—himself included—were found through a headhunter. Nowadays, however, Calyx uses recruiters only “intermittently” and relies more on internal leads. “As the industry grows and develops, poaching is an option,” Schmults said. “Identifying people you meet in the course of business and trying to lure them over, that’s a tried-and- tested way in most other industries.” For examples of successful hires that came through internal leads, Schmults points to Calyx Vice President of Merchandising JenMcLaughlin, whomhe worked with at FAOSchwarz, and Chief Operating Officer Ben Cook, whomSchmults contacted after Cook left California retailer MedMen Enterprises. Still, if a company can afford them, external recruiters can improve the recruitment process and introduce companies to candidates they might end up considering for future openings. “When you use headhunters appropriately, they’re very valuable and can bring in terrific people,” Schmults said. “But just because a headhunter finds you five people, you still have to do your homework on them and interview them just as hard as you would people in your own network to make sure they fit your company, where it is in its development, the kind of culture you’re trying to build and a mix of skill sets.” –Omar Sacirbey RECRUITING STEP BY STEP