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Cannabis Industry Trendwatch: Top HR Challenges (and Solutions) in 2020

October 9, 2019 - minute read

Each year, the cannabis industry finds countless ways to set new records, surpass expectations, and evolve in unexpected ways. With even more legislative and industry changes on the way, you may think it simply isn’t possible to prepare for the future. However, when it comes to meeting difficult compliance standards and defying overwhelming industry competition, preparation isn’t just a good idea: it’s necessary for the survival of your cannabis business.

The demands faced by the cannabis industry in coming years will be greater than ever. If your cannabis business isn’t operating with an in-house HR professional, a well-defined human capital management process could be all that stands between you and litigation, fines, and penalties in 2020 and beyond.

A Look Ahead: Cannabis Industry Regulation in 2020

Many growers and processors optimistically believe that the spreading legalization of medical and recreational marijuana means that compliance regulations will eventually be loosened. In reality, things are more likely to get a whole lot harder. As your consumer market and demand increase, regulation will also increase on the part of both state and federal governments. In fact, the DEA’s annual cannabis quota is expected to be 30% larger than this year’s quota of 2,450,000 grams

Moreover, industry competition has made it increasingly difficult to earn state and multi-state licenses and additional facility authorizations. In Illinois, for example, only 75 prospective dispensaries will be awarded licenses in 2020 (for a grand total of 130 in the state). Each license will cost $5,000 to apply for, according to the legislation signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Despite these challenges, many cannabis businesses are achieving compliance and even flourishing. How, you may ask? Because they recognize the value of proper HR management when it comes to their workforce, and they’ve put controls into place.

Why Cannabis Businesses Need HR in 2020

Whether it comes in the form of hiring an HR specialist or implementing a human capital management (HCM) platform—or both—putting safeguards in place makes good business sense. Businesses need tools that can track critical compliance data and spot operational inconsistencies, alert management to upcoming regulatory deadlines, and guide decision-making for optimal success--all of which contribute to a strong compliance defense and competitive industry offense.

Here are some additional reasons you’ll want to have a robust HCM platform on your side as the cannabis industry reaches new legislative heights in the new year.

  • Clear and Consistent Evidence of Compliance

HCM software is designed specifically with the avoidance of compliance pitfalls in mind, especially those that continue to change. With an HCM system and support team in place, you won’t need to wonder if you missed a form update, hourly rate increase, or another new policy requirement. Moreover, the data it produces can substantiate your claims in situations where audits, compensation claims, and other investigations are concerned. Whether it’s ICE requesting I-9 verifications, the DEA conducting a facilities inspection, or a lawyer accusing you of a labor law violation, your entire operation will have the necessary and updated documentation needed to guard against workforce-related legal issues.

  • Better Workforce Retention

2020 is going to bring with it rigorous background checks and state-mandated hiring prerequisites in addition to labor competition. Employee dissatisfaction is also a growing concern, because busy employers are often too consumed with regulatory compliance and scouring job boards to fully engage, train, and support their new employees.

A human capital management platform allows smarter and speedier recruiting and superior applicant tracking, as well as effortless onboarding, benefits administration, and HR management processes and workflows. This ensures you get in front of the right applicants fast and can provide the best possible experience for them through onboarding and beyond. HCMs that feature a Learning Management component/portal can host online training and facilitate employee certifications as well. This allows you to stay consistent with training and nourish employee job satisfaction- all of which can help bolster a competitive, healthy retention rate. 

  • A Process for Facilitating Growth

Not only does HCM software offer compliance and retention management for what may be the industry’s most challenging year yet, it encourages the expansion of individual businesses. A powerful HCM system will help you solidify your reputation as a professional and credible business operation to investors and growing consumer markets. Furthermore, the consolidation of smaller producers and growers continues to increase as the cannabis sector matures. Growth and expansion require a scalable system to keep your data compliant, clean, and free from error. There’s unprecedented capita to be gained in 2020 if you are equipped to manage it properly.

EPAY Systems helps cannabis businesses meet their challenges with our all-in-one, customizable HCM platform. Built with the complex hourly workforce in mind, it offers a complete solution to maintaining HR compliance and avoiding growing pains. See how we can help you and request a demonstration today!

Filed Under: Compliance Human Capital Management Workforce Management Cannabis