While numbers are shifting, it’s clear that small businesses seldom have resources to dedicate to human resources; a 2017 USA Today article shows that the majority of assets are used for business growth and development.
While new business owners often see an internal HR representative as a luxury they can’t afford, there are affordable HR solutions they’re often unaware of – and that are well worth the nominal investment. Most aspects of human resource work are proactive and it’s less costly for a company to invest in HR tools upfront than it is for them to deal with HR crises down the road.
We point to three (3) primary areas where businesses can shore up HR support:
- Cultural expectations and feedback mechanisms (which often take the form of company values, employee handbooks, and periodic “check-ins”)
- Communication guidelines (usually defined as part of project management)
First things first, write a vision statement for your company and define basic guidelines for workplace collaboration. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or complex, but having these expectations set at an employee’s hire makes conflict resolution much easier down the road – and may preclude it altogether.
Additionally, it’s important to show your employees how you want them to interact. One of the best ways to prevent employee conflicts is by implementing ongoing personal coaching. There are licensed systems that help both managers and employees prepare for workplace conflict and, as needed, work through conflict resolution.
But the best way to set a company up for success is by implementing clear project management direction. Implement a formal process, like one of the many offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), that leaves no ambiguity of responsibility in communications.
Managers should not think of project management as only a tool for productivity, but to foster positive, clear, effective communication in and among teams.
For each stage of the ADDIE project management model, for example – Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation – make it clear to your employees how they should communicate their findings and accomplishments. Templated emails and call scripts are often helpful, and immediately set the tone you want for employee interaction.
When it comes to ADDIE and using a Learning Management System (LMS) platform to facilitate HR activities, there is a reason why Moodle LMS, the world’s leading open-source learning management system, is used by over 100 million users worldwide – because it is open source and provides organizations with a feature-rich solution to ensure their learning needs are met and exceeded.
Due to this, Moodle LMS is becoming a leading choice for cannabis business eLearning used by HR. Moodle is used by countless organizations in healthcare, enterprise, and even non-profit arenas to ensure employees are provided with eLearning opportunities to meet their performance goals.
Some of that effective communication is grounded in soft skills training that you can use Moodle to facilitate, track, and report. And while there are costly programs available for this kind of instruction, we always encourage cannabis business owners to start with free guidance from reputable websites like entrepreneur.com, CareerBuilder.com, inc.com, humanresourcestoday.com, and other similar sites.
Many of these offer easy exercises that can be used during staff meetings or one-on-one check-ins to help improve employee relationships.
Another often-forgotten HR tool in small businesses is job review. Modern companies are slowly moving away from formal performance reviews in part because they create a certain amount of anxiety and address performance/communication issues too seldom.
Many companies have switched to a more informal, frequent ‘check-in’ process that builds rapport between manager and employee while also nipping potential office conflicts immediately. Central to successful HR management is clear and regular documentation – not just for employee performance reviews or conflict resolution, but in every aspect of company business.
If you have a meeting, designate someone as the note-taker and have him or her sends the meeting notes to everyone who attended immediately afterward. This will make expectations clear. If there is confusion at this point, it can be cleared up before it spirals out of control and creates an HR nightmare.
At the very least, business owners should pay for a membership to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). For only $200, subscribers get a year’s access to webinars, employment law information, sample forms, how-tos, handbooks, and more.
It’s kind of a no-brainer for cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs.
Lastly, take the time to attend HR networking events in your area. SHRM has chapters all over the U.S., while other non-profits and HR organizations – including universities – frequently offer free seminars and courses.
Given these tools, there’s no reason why a cannabis business owner can’t effectively manage his or her company’s HR needs. The resource commitment (both time and money) is small, and proactive HR management will mean fewer personnel issues down the road.
Increasing the level of retention is key to your company’s success, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by implementing positive, frequent, and open communication with your staff. Compensate your talent well, and offset any big business offerings with lifestyle and work schedule benefits you can afford.
Give your team ownership over your company’s success and encourage them to continue training. And finally, when your company is big enough, hire human resource professionals to support your talent – while giving you time to further company goals.
Trust us – your retention efforts will reward you with a successful and profitable future and, after all, your cannabis company is built by those you choose to hire and retain.
Let us know what you think.