When it comes to running a cannabis dispensary, choosing the best HR software is one of the most crucial determinants of how successful your business will be. With the right HR software, HR processes like hiring, onboarding, and digitizing documents are easily streamlined and safeguarded from human errors.
The current dispensary landscape is a unique and often difficult-to-navigate industry. According to New Frontier Data, the U.S. legal cannabis industry was estimated at $13.6 billion in 2019, and the number of jobs dedicated to the handling of marijuana was projected to reach 743,000 by 2025.
Cannabis policies vary across states, with the drug being legal in 38 states, 19 of which allow its sale for recreational purposes. Under federal law, cannabis is still illegal as a Schedule I substance.
However, across the board, there are stringent requirements for dispensary employees to have up-to-date licenses and for you to store those documents. This is where HR software comes in.
While different dispensaries may require different solutions, it is recommended that you choose a solution that integrates with the rest of your workforce management suite, payroll accounting systems, and POS system.
HR professionals working with dispensaries are constantly looking for the best ways to deal with the ever-changing laws and requirements regarding cannabis. This means finding HR software solutions that make it easy for dispensaries to operate legally while also reducing compliance responsibility and allowing easy adaptability to new laws.
Here, we cover some of the top things to look for in HR software for a dispensary.
For HR leaders and managers in any industry, lowering employee turnover rates and extending employment lifetime as much as possible are important goals.
This is particularly true for dispensaries, as the cannabis industry is a budding and highly dynamic one. The laws regarding marijuana are in constant flux, and so dispensary managers have to be prepared for sudden changes in the dispensary’s human capital needs at all times.
It is essential for your dispensary to have an HR software solution that allows you to recruit, hire, interview, and onboard additional staff when necessary.
The best HR software offers high integrability with other facets of your dispensary software tech stack like payroll, time tracking, and scheduling. It allows you to easily acquire employee information and to do administrative tasks like running payroll, keeping track of employee time off requests, birthdays, or holidays.
With integration, you create a cohesive ecosystem that allows seamless interactions between the different parts of your dispensary software tech stack. For example, your scheduling software can communicate with your payroll software to adjust an employee’s payment basing on the shifts worked without needing you to manually enter the data.
The fact that the legal cannabis industry is fairly new and rapidly evolving means dispensary owners need to prioritize finding solutions that keep them compliant with the ever-changing state and local HR policies across the country.
One of the major hurdles encountered by cannabis businesses is wage compliance. You have the responsibility of ensuring that your employees’ documents correctly classify them and identify their federal and state compliance requirements. You also need to ensure these records are signed and stored safely.
This is why it is imperative to find an HR software solution that allows you to digitize employee documents, have them e-sign, then store the documents withing the system. This way, you can maintain accurate records, payroll calculations, and timely tax fillings all from one secure location.
In the cannabis industry, employees need to have a criminal record check and also have a lot of documents signed and stored before they are hired.
For several years, companies have been using applicant tracking systems to increase their candidate pool while screening for the best possible candidates and reducing the time burden that hiring requires.
The best HR software for a dispensary should provide access to a customizable applicant tracking feature to ensure you are only bringing applicants with no criminal records and with the required documents to the final stages.
With this software, you can customize and configure your preferences and processes in many ways. It also comes with add-on features like sourcing of passive candidates, video interviewing, and pre-hire assessment, all to reduce the time spent on the hiring process.
When selecting the best HR software for your dispensary, consider the solution that saves you the most time. Having a system that allows you to digitize employee documents means your employees can have a paperless self-onboarding process, saving you quite a lot of time.
With the applicant tracking feature, you can bypass the paperwork and manual screening and interview scheduling of candidates, again saving time. Additionally, with integration of all the parts of your dispensary software tech stack, you can easily track your KPIs and automate reports, saving the time you would have spent on doing this manually.
There are key features that should be part of the package when you are selecting the best HR software for your dispensary.
For any recruiter looking to source high quality candidates while reducing both monetary and time costs in the recruitment process, an applicant tracking system (ATS) is the best solution.
With ATS, you can automate the entire hiring process including job posting, candidate screening, digitizing candidates’ documents, and scheduling interviews.
ATS not only streamlines the hiring process, it also uploads all the information associated with each individual candidate and files it under their name. This makes it easy to find this information later.
Other functions carried out by ATS include:
· Allowing candidates to view their application status
· Easing communication between members of the hiring team
· Leveraging employee data to better understand employee growth
· Automating employee onboarding
Candidate screening and interviewing can be a complex and time-consuming process. This is why hiring managers have adopted interview systems designed to assist and automate the interviewing process.
The best HR software for your dispensary should include interview systems that allow:
· Interview scheduling
· Customizable interview templates
· Video interviewing
· Easy communication between hiring managers and candidates during the recruitment process
· Integration to ATS to allow tracking of candidates
Onboarding is one of the most important aspects of human capital management. A good onboarding program ensures new hires have a shorter ramp-up time while simultaneously increasing employee retention.
Typically, new employee onboarding in dispensaries consists of a lot of paperwork, a code-of-conduct video, and a safety demonstration. The process is often rushed and not appropriately supported.
With the right HR software, employee documents can be digitized and uploaded to an online onboarding platform, enabling employees to self-onboard with the assistance of pre-provided guiding templates and structured assessment protocols.
Because of the numerous unique regulations regarding cannabis businesses, HR departments often find themselves dealing with large amounts of paperwork to ensure compliance. State and local regulatory agencies can request reviews of these documents at any time when necessary. As a result, employees spend a considerable chunk of their workday sifting through mounds of paperwork to find particular documents.
Large amounts of paperwork also leave the business prone to documentation disorder and errors that could lead to non-compliance and disastrous legal repercussions. For these reasons, it is crucial for cannabis businesses to digitize their documents.
The best HR software options on the market offer document management features that digitize documents and centralize the dispensary’s records. To enhance efficiency, these systems offer seamless integration with the rest of the workforce management suite.
The software can also help cannabis businesses comply with government regulations and corporate policies regarding document governance. By automating compliance, you allow the software to takeover and streamline the processes of ensuring employee documents are complete and remain up-to-date.
When selecting the best HR software for your dispensary, it is important to find a solution that integrates fully with the rest of your dispensary software tech stack. This means it should work seamlessly with your POS system, as well as your workforce management and payroll software.
Quite often in the cannabis industry, businesses find themselves mired with the tedious process of manually transferring data between multiple software applications. In many of these cases, the software solutions are not built-for-purpose and do not integrate well.
By ensuring that your HR software is integrable, you can save valuable time and money you would have spent having to manually duplicate data and transfer it from one software program to another. With integrations, data can exist in multiple locations without needing continuous manual updates.
Furthermore, with integrations, you can streamline employee scheduling, time tracking, and time off requests to eventually simplify your payroll process. Historical sales data can be funneled from your POS system and automated sales forecasting to inform your scheduling decisions and increase profitability.
All businesses in every industry are subject to tax rules and regulatory compliance. However, for cannabis companies, there are unique and more complex laws that require a more meticulous attention to detail.
Because failure to comply with the cannabis-specific tax rules can have catastrophic financial and legal implications, it is vital for dispensary owners to source HR software options that allow the business to remain compliant with minimal effort.
The IRS Tax Code 280E, which states that no deduction or credit shall be allowed in running a business that consists of trafficking a controlled substance, is a major hurdle for many cannabis businesses. It limits cannabis businesses from claiming tax deductions for their business expenses and makes a large portion of dispensary revenues susceptible to tax, reducing business profits.
Good HR software allows you to accurately store 280E records, saving you valuable time and preventing costly mistakes when making 280E deductions. The digitization of documents also makes it easier to access these records and centralize them. The software also helps you remain up to date with state and local regulations through alerts and notifications.
To ensure that your cannabis business attracts and retains the best talent, it is essential to offer competitive benefits packages.
Unfortunately, the hindrances in accessing financial services that affect the cannabis industry as a result of its illegal federal status also spill over onto employee benefits management. Until recently, benefits options for cannabis were very limited, but with the increasing legalization of cannabis across states, there has been more uptake by insurance and financial companies.
Additionally, Section 280E bars cannabis businesses from making deductions towards employees’ 401(k) benefits. Some companies are creating tailormade 401(k) plans that allow businesses to exploit loopholes in the law for the benefit of their employees.
Some HR software solutions offer employee benefits programs that may include:
· Health insurance, including medical, dental, and vision
· 401(k) benefits
· Identity theft protections
· Tax credits
The cannabis industry is still fairly new, and the options for HR software solutions specifically designed for cannabis businesses are still relatively limited. Since many dispensaries will be seeking out the services of a cannabis-specific HR software solution for the first time, accessing a free trial is a great way of figuring out whether the software is the perfect fit for your dispensary without incurring extra costs.
At KayaPush, we are dedicated to simplifying the human capital management processes of cannabis businesses. Are you looking for the best HR software for your dispensary? Start your free 14-day trial with KayaPush today.
Want to learn more about the best technology for your dispensary? Download the free guide below!