We are in the midst of a cannabis boom.
Cannabis businesses have been opening up left and right, but there is still one glaring problem: diversity.
Diversity in leadership staff has lagged behind other sectors for years now. To ensure that the cannabis industry reflects the communities it serves, all cannabis entrepreneurs should consider investing time and resources into diverse leadership staff recruitment.
Diversity can be defined in many ways. For this article, diversity will refer to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and age. Why is diversity so important when it comes to cannabis? Let's find out.
What is Diversity in the Cannabis Sector?
Diversity refers to the understanding that we live in a world where all people are different.
Diversity in the cannabis sector has encompassed everything from racial and ethnic diversity, socioeconomic differences, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ability level, or disability status.
If there are no females at your dispensaries or no POC(person of color) in your grow op, you may be lacking diversity.
Why is Diversity Important?
Diversity is important because it allows for a well-rounded and balanced workforce. Diversity also means that the people on your team won't all look like you, but they can serve different communities.
Finally, diversity is also important because it is a marketable feature in the cannabis world. Opening your dispensary to all kinds of cultures helps you build up a large client base right from the start.
What does Diverse Leadership Look Like?
In terms of cannabis, diverse leadership looks like this:
- Hiring employees of different cultures, races, and ethnicities to work at your establishment.
- Having a team that reflects the community's diversity you intend to serve (for dispensaries, this may mean hiring native-Americans).
- Make sure your workforce is diverse by encouraging other businesses to sponsor job fairs or host their own.
- Being committed to making sure your business reflects the diversity of cannabis consumers.
Why should Cannabis Businesses Care?
As demographics change, so will consumer interest in different cannabis products as well as production methods.
We must include all voices and perspectives at the table when we discuss these changes. Diverse leadership staff will help you achieve this through:
- Democratic decision-making.
- Diversity of knowledge and experience.
- Enrichment of the business environment.
- Providing a good example for other businesses in your field to follow (if we always talk about diversity but don't practice it, why should anyone else?).
The Benefits of Diversified Hiring
The greatest benefit is that you will begin to get a good reputation for being an inclusive cannabis business.
Nowadays, a brand's image on social media can affect sales immensely. If people start seeing your business as one that reflects their values, they will be more likely to support you over a competitor who doesn't share these values.
This is especially important because cannabis consumers tend to stay loyal to the companies that best reflect them.
Cannabis trends are only going to become more diverse as time goes on. If you want your business to be up-to-date in the future, you need to hire people who can think outside of the box and share their insights.
Another benefit of diversifying is that it helps reduce biases in the workplace. Studies have shown that people expect men to be leaders and women to be followers, regardless of their qualifications. Businesses that hire a diverse range of employees are less likely to develop biases in the workplace from the get-go.
Finally, your business will also stand out on social media if you make an effort to be inclusive.
Social media is a crucial way to engage with your customers and create a community around your brand. As more and more people join social networking sites, it becomes critical to have diverse representations in photos, videos, comments, etc.
How do Cannabis Businesses Approach Hiring Diverse Leaders?
To find diversity, we suggest using a hiring platform specialized for the cannabis industry to ensure you are reaching a broad range of people.
Another option is posting at job fairs and hosting your job fair. We recommend going outside of your immediate area to find the best candidates since you will probably have a hard time finding diversity in your backyard.
Once you have found the perfect candidate, interview to see if they are a good fit for your company, and voila! You have diversity on your team.
It's important to note that you shouldn't hire someone just because they're a minority or refuse somebody else just because they aren't. Make sure their personality and skills match what your business needs.
After all, diversity is about more than just race or gender; you want a diverse team of people of different personalities, races, and backgrounds to help with creative thinking and problem-solving. The best businesses are those with the most diverse teams.
What Happens If You Don't Diversify?
There are many examples of businesses that have lost out to competitors for being too homogeneous. In the startup world, it's been noted that companies led by women and people of color grow twice as fast as their male-dominated counterparts. Part of this is because diverse teams tend to be more creative and productive.
And now that we're talking about startups, there is another essential thing to note: the cannabis industry is extremely young. We aren't talking about a business that has been around for decades; many people are choosing where to invest in cannabis right now, and your business's image will make or break you.
There is no room for a negative reputation, and you don't want to be called "discriminatory." If you need to hire someone who is not yet qualified for a position, try developing them into that role instead of hiring the most experienced person from another business.
If your cannabis business's goal is to be the number one in your industry, you've got to have a diverse team. It's time for cannabis businesses to change their perception and become more inclusive of women and minorities eager to join this exciting new industry.