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Restore Interactive Dispensary Communication

In this rapidly growing cannabis industry, dispensaries and their HR professionals are grappling with the unending quest for talent – but not just any talent. Quality standards must be met, and they demand candidates with excellent, targeted skills in the newly developing cannabis industry. Among the capabilities hardest to find interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively across all levels of the cannabis business.

HR is the center of gravity for most organizations as managers seek new talent and try to ensure that the existing dispensary workforce has the skills needed to carry out the company’s mission. In turn, HR managers must communicate the return on investment for the policies they recommend and the training and development effort they seek to fund.

That should not be hard to achieve when you are focused on assessing and developing self-awareness among employees as well as communication/verbal skills. This indicates that at a minimum, these ‘soft skills‘ are critical in today’s business world and represent capabilities that cannabis companies value at all levels.

There is a concern with the impact the digital age is having on new talent, many HR managers wonder if new recruits will communicate with fellow humans as well as they do with gadgets and devices. How will they handle conflict, influence others and manage others when they have learned much of it only through technology-based relationships? That is assuming, of course, that people actually work together in the future.

HR managers often take notice when an employee whose workspace is down the hall sends an email message on a vital issue instead of arranging to speak firsthand with someone from HR, a common experience at many firms that are losing the communications skill set because of the obsession with smartphones, texting, and email.

So what can HR do? After all, HR isn’t responsible for the widespread use of technology in companies. HR managers see their role as framers of policy and defenders who keep their organization out of legal trouble. But they also recognize a responsibility to oversee the talent pool.

The HR person in each firm must set an example and demonstrate that he or she not only can interact well with his or her own team but communicate with all employees and with management at all levels, say industry experts. People expect HR executives to be better at communicating and they expect HR to have this skill set.

Certainly, HR plays a key role in assessing the talent of a new generation of future leaders. In fact, many senior executives at cannabis companies large and small regard HR as central to these evaluations. But they also call upon HR to devise ideas on how to overcome any skill deficiencies in future and current talent.

A major concern is the Millennials and Generation Z who have been populating the workforce. HR is asking, ‘Do these future leaders, raised in a technology-based society, have the interpersonal skills to be future leaders? Do they value these skills?


Traditional Performance Reviews Not the Answer

One way to measure these skills is through regular performance reviews. But many HR managers will tell you that review forms have become outdated and generally do not adequately gauge interactive skills. Instead, they are recommending regular dialogue and feedback meetings where coaching and communication are stressed.

HR is huddling with company leaders to advise them on when and how to structure these vital sessions. This generation deeply values conversation with their leaders – they want to get to know their leaders. And even though they are digital, they value face-to-face communication, particularly around lots of feedback from their managers.

HR has a bigger role than ever in coaching and guiding the new generation of workers to become better leaders. HR needs to understand the employees’ career goals and ambitions. One of the informal functions of an HR professional is to advise senior managers and see to it that the ability to communicate is ingrained in the company’s culture.

Savvy HR executives are not shy about recommending to top executives what they need to do to develop and safeguard talent. Some HR experts report that restoring the lost art of interactive communication begins in the interviewing process.

They often see managers being groomed for promotion into high positions, but when it’s time for the assessment, the hiring leader finds that his or her ‘anointed‘ manager cannot communicate at the level necessary to run a major project or launch a new product. Somehow, this major shortcoming was not uncovered until it was almost too late.

If the cannabis business as a whole and the executive team do not value these interpersonal skills or do not focus on them, the interaction will not happen. And they should be linked to the competencies required to fulfill the organization’s strategy. Indeed, communication and interaction are tied to the success of the company.


HR’s Leadership Role

To be effective in restoring interactive communication as a top skill set, HR must take a leadership role and assert itself to top management. Industry experts say that HR leaders must form partnerships with senior executives, including the CEO, to formulate plans that both see to the needs of current employees and make the company culture attractive to new employees, thanks to HR’s focus on communication.

Employees want to know about management policy, rumors they have heard. It is a way to gain insight on what the company and industry are doing, what I think about mega-mergers and how they affect our company, what’s on people’s minds.

Communication and working collaboratively with others are always high on the list of skills necessary to succeed, regardless of the cannabis industry job, and HR is at the forefront of the cannabis company’s communication efforts. The head of HR attends all division meetings and is involved in everything.

Many business observers continue to worry that effective and valuable face-to-face communication capabilities may be going the way of typewriters and fax machines. It’s HR’s special task to see to it that these skills not only do not disappear but are restored to their proper place in the organizational, human capital value chain.

Let us know what you think.