Turning Good Intentions Into Equitable Hiring Practices

Filed Under: HR, Last Word

When most Americans think about Nantucket Island, the first thing that comes to mind is not necessarily about its cultural diversity. 

The Green Lady Dispensary has shown that hiring a diverse staff on island is achievable with the use of equitable recruitment and selection processes accompanied by an understanding of the local community. For a small island with only an estimated 10,000 year-round residents and the seasonal challenges of a tourist economy, The Green Lady Dispensary is proud to have hired an inclusive staff. We have strived to open our doors and present opportunities that have not been historically accessible or inclusive.  

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

Are you subconsciously judging your candidates based upon their speech, dialect, clothing, hairstyle, or mannerisms? None of those characteristics preclude a person from being good at their job. All of us are guilty of having misinterpreted a first impression or of being predisposed to societal biases. In other words, try not to say, “I don’t like that about them!” too quickly. 

When it comes to cultivation, I have heard and seen problems with hiring women and people without experience. The beauty of cultivation is that there are a lot of entry level positions for people without experience. 

Cultivation requires hours and hours of deep, deep cleaning! Basic but critically important horticultural tasks such as removing the fan leaves, carrying soil and pots, repotting, moving plants from veg to flower are a day to day activity. How about touching up with hand watering? All these responsibilities can be fulfilled by individuals with no prior experience cultivating cannabis. If your goal is to create a diverse workplace environment, then start by giving people a shot at getting involved. Remember some of those possible negative predispositions you could have by judging a book by its cover? Keep in mind that a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, dialect, clothing and hairstyle mean nothing to a cannabis plant. 

Don’t Make A Resume The First Barrier To Entry

If you come from a certain economic or educational background, you’re expected to already have the perfect resume to deliver at a moment’s notice. But if you want to hire a diverse staff, don’t always expect that. Don’t make the lack of a resume the reason you instantly set aside potential candidates. At the Green Lady Dispensary, we’ve implemented unique hiring procedures. We’ve made a dynamic interview process our primary method for hiring new staff-members. 

We start by considering multiple sources from which applicants can apply for jobs. Limiting how and where people can access the application limits the applicant. Potential candidates have reached out to us in various ways such as emailing a basic introduction, word of mouth, referrals from friends, Facebook posts, and store walk-ins. We conduct multiple in-person interviews, starting at an off-site location. 

We choose an off-site location (like a coffee shop) because it’s a more neutral setting than the dispensary. Entering a vertically integrated cannabis facility for the first time can be overwhelming, which doesn’t allow for the candidate or the interviewer to be themselves. Ideally, the interviewer(s) can meet the applicant more than once to ensure that they didn’t judge them incorrectly the first time. This is also why we involve more than one manager in the process and garner multiple perspectives. Finally, we invite the applicants to get a tour of The Green Lady Dispensary. 

These hiring practices can be time consuming. However, investing time and effort into your staff is the most valuable thing you can achieve for your business.

Motivation Can Be As Strong As Experience

After working for 30-plus years in the manufacturing and sales industries and comparing that human resources experience against the cannabis industry, I can tell you for a fact there is so much untapped potential waiting out there. The pent-up enthusiasm and interest to participate in the legal industry is astounding. Anyone owning a cannabis business on the Eastern seaboard is in the best possible position to make a difference in people’s lives and the local economy. 

Few (if any) potential employees applying for a job on the East Coast have any experience in the cannabis industry, so everyone comes in on an even playing field. Any lack of experience is often outweighed with a whole lot of energy and determination to find a place in this emerging industry. 

As employers, we should recognize the importance of this historic moment and attempt to do better than we have in the past. Whether it is the retail sales agent or the consumer entering a dispensary for their first legal encounter with cannabis, the opportunity to bring people together who share a common interest and passion for legal cannabis transcends socioeconomic backgrounds, race, gender, age or sexual orientation.

The Green Lady Dispensary, Nantucket’s original marijuana dispensary is a women- and minority-owned business, run by Nicole Campbell, her husband and their daughters. Originally from New York, Campbell spent 30 years in the agricultural industry as a vice president of marketing before relocating to Nantucket to focus on the cannabis industry. For more information visit https://www.thegreenladydispensary.com/


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