Creating an Employee Training Guide For Your Dispensary

Dalia Holmes

Building a quality team should be a primary goal for your dispensary, and making sure your team is trained, and provided with everything they need to succeed is key.

For these reasons it is essential that your dispensary have an employee training guide or manual, to help your new hires thrive.

What is an employee training guide?

An employee training guide is a book created by management that helps train employees for their position using a step by step process for each task they are in charge of.

Guides, or manuals, should include relevant step by step instruction for each task the position must accomplish, but can also include other relevant information like resources, company goals or culture.

In a nutshell, an employee training guide should help set your new hire up for success, and clearly share expectations and roles.

Why you need an employee training guide.

Building a quality team by taking the time to find great talent for your dispensary takes time and effort.
Once you have located, interviewed, hired and onboarded your new team member, you should do everything you can to ensure you are setting them up for success so they stick around.
According to go2HR, “40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.” When employees aren’t performing at their best their job satisfaction can fall, not to mention the fact that turnover is costly in time and in money.   So much so that the Huffington Post reported that “companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on training average 24 percent higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments.”  

This means that not only can the development and implementation of effective training programs save money in terms of employee turnover, but they can actually make a company more profitable in the long run. Quality training guides and programs are an investment in your business.


8 Things to include in an employee training guide for dispensaries.

  1. Table of contents and structure
  2. Company culture
  3. Clearly defined tasks and roles
  4. The rules
  5. Company goals
  6. Encourage collaboration
  7. Accessible and attainable training
  8. Resources for if they need help


1 - Table of contents and structure.

Make your employee guide easy to navigate. Organize it in a professional way, in a binder with clearly defined sections. You want it to feel easy, professional, and you also want them to feel special. Creating a document that is easy to navigate will contribute to their understanding of your requirements. If they don't understand the guide, or their role, that could be a symptom of a poor training guide.

2 - Company culture.

During the employee onboarding process sharing company culture and value is key.
The employee training guide is the perfect place to share the company’s culture and help them understand the important company values. 
You can share the culture in the guide itself, or even consider a  welcome package as part of onboarding to give with the guide.
Remember that the first few days with onboarding can make all the difference in employee engagement and ultimately retention with your company, so make it count.
Also, giving your new hire the opportunity to understand the culture will help them succeed and show up in an appropriate way.

3 - Clearly defined tasks and roles.

It is important to define clear expectations in your training program and how they align with your company’s primary purpose. In addition to the expectations, it is important to define the purpose of training using clear learning objectives. It is also important to have a clearly defined role identification section so employees know what they are responsible for, and what now. Ensure that there are process guides for each department and active roles.
This will help new employees understand each department and better demonstrate how each department functions together.

4 - The rules.

Setting staff up for success means sharing the rules. Sharing rules and systems up front with the employee will make them feel comfortable and aware of how to do the right thing. 
If this is something you do in person as well, make sure whoever shows them the ropes is someone who thoroughly knows the company rules, policies, and culture.

5 - Company goals.

Employees who feel they are part of a larger mission will thrive better than those who don’t. Make your company’s mission statement known. Share goals with your employees and help them create their own personal and business goals. Working at a dispensary can be an exciting opportunity to learn, grow and set personal targets - encourage them to own targets that align with the bigger picture, and cheer one another on as a team.

6 - Encourage collaboration.

A successful training guide will be inclusive and comprehensive and promote cross training. Promotion opportunities may not be written in an employee guide but make sure employees know that the opportunities are there. After all, growth is a huge driving factor in employee retention! Allow training to be fluid and make it a point to seek help from existing employees for mentorship and training opportunities.

7 - Accessible and attainable training.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but creating a training program that is accessible, attainable and personable to employees is key.

This helps employees feel valued in the training process. Also, in the cannabis industry, having employees who have up to date licenses is the law, and something that you should help them stay on top of, and keep track of as a team, be it by using your HR system, or keeping detailed notes.

Shadowing can be another helpful component. Pairing new employees with existing employees for shadowing opportunities is most effective if the employees are certified trainers in their areas or have successfully met certain knowledge guidelines.

Direct demonstration and hands-on training with supervision are two other ways to incorporate successful training programs. The key is to have a variety of opportunities to invite learning.

Remember that training never officially ends. Starting your training program with a manual helps decrease the time required by others to train new employees and increased consistency in training programs.

By providing ongoing professional development and training opportunities, employees will continue to be successful long after their initial training phase. Allow for continuous mention of company goals and collaborate with employees on setting and meeting certain goals.

Remind them of the mission statement and encourage your team to professionally develop by creating cross-training and promotion opportunities.

Creating a great employee training guide and program takes careful consideration and allows for a wonderful return on investment.

8 - Resources and the tools they need.

From log-ins to uniforms, make sure your employee is set up for success on their first day and doesn’t have to ask you for anything.  
Your new team member should feel like you are excited for them to join the team, and have anticipated their every need.  This leads to feeling valued and appreciated, another key to retention.  Consider including links or operations around how they can go about connecting with you if they have a concern or request.

We hope that this was a helpful resource to help you create a quality employee training guide at your cannabis dispensary.
If you need more information about recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding a new hire, we recommend you check out our guide below!

employee training manual cannabis

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