Across the cannabis industry, businesses are crafting novel approaches to boost productivity and elevate employee talent to maximize employee satisfaction and drive their bottom line.
Employee engagement is one often overlooked tool for understanding the labor force. This single metric measures job satisfaction and performance. Engaged employees not only increase company profits and improve output but also highlight workplace satisfaction — an understated metric that can help retain current employees and attract future talent.
Like employee engagement, automation helps cannabis companies lower production costs and boost overall efficiency. Traditional wisdom holds employees and automation at odds, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Instead of pitting employees against automation, it’s critical to examine how their collaboration can amplify the effects of both. Automation might guide future innovation, but human ingenuity is crucial to the workforce.
As we celebrate Employee Appreciation Day on March 4, we must acknowledge employees’ diverse talent and what it adds to the flourishing industry. Throughout this article, we will explore how humans and automation can complement each other to strengthen cannabis organizations.
The Cannabis Industry is Ripe With Automation
The cannabis industry is seeing increasing use of automated technologies in day-to-day operations, and across many industries this is likewise the case. For instance, edible manufacturing relies on automation to generate a high yield of consumer products with measurable efficiency. People haven’t been erased from the equation by any means. Human creativity remains integral, guiding the product formulation and development process.
Consider luxury goods like craft beer. These customers often carry an expectation of intricately handcrafted products in which human ingenuity shines through, showcasing differences that could have been otherwise overshadowed due to reliance on automation.
Though pondered as a tool to replace human labor, automation could be better served as a method to enhance human innovation and employee creativity. Automation can grant employees more time to focus on skills development, rather than repetitive tasks and manual labor. This newly freed-up time can help employers hone team members’ talents and enhance them accordingly, diverting automation where it could help to serve the team.
1.) Allow Automation to Streamline Appropriate Processes
Automation is a meaningful part of the overall workplace ecosystem. Automation has long been a part of the agricultural industry, influencing each part of the cannabis production process from regulated seed to sale software management to automated trimming to streamlined packaging improvements — underscoring automation’s positive impacts.
Streamlining automated software processes allows companies to generate intricate data for regulatory agencies, track products at each step of the production process, and simplify analysis to identify areas for improvement. Trimming automation has transformed the harvesting process, allowing companies to yield high levels of consistency and reduce labor hours to allow small-scale operators to produce quality products with less overhead. Meanwhile, automated packaging has led to fewer errors and raised overall efficiency.
2.) Recognize Where Automation Falls Short
Automation has its limitations. For example, there is a significant cost barrier for large automation tools. Over time, equipment will require various servicing and upkeep, meaning capital must be available to cover those various expenditures. Automation lines may also require new leases on property and equipment at premium prices. Due to the fragmented state-by-state regulatory framework, economies of scale are still unaccessible and small cannabis operators will find it difficult to overcome those barriers.
Even largely praised benefits often have disadvantages. For instance, mechanized cannabis trimmers can trim off too little or too much product, creating a noticeable difference in the finished product. In response, some cultivators will argue for hand-trimmed flower because of the difference in the better-finished product quality.
Automation can and will fall short at times, and strict focus on automation could stifle culture and innovation, further hindering workplace progression. Tailor automation to your company’s culture and deploy it in a way that empowers employee growth and spurs creativity. Automation can make a happier workforce and a stronger industry.
3.) Prioritize Specialized Talents in a Diverse Workforce
It’s time to shift the perspective to focus on how human innovation and automation complement each other — starting with how the duo can promote diverse talents.
Familiarity with technical aspects of automated equipment is integral to employees’ professional development in the cannabis industry. This ushers in higher-level specialized knowledge, better equipping employees to troubleshoot and find solutions, leading to a balance in which employees operate as a critical part of the organization.
Creativity drives the cannabis industry, and employees who move on to excel at other workplaces, collectively elevate the talent pool and foster shared learning opportunities. Automation is helpful, but its function is not absolute. At the helm, human-centricity remains the priority — engaging employees and prioritizing idea generation unable to be captured by automation alone.
4.) Implement Cross-Departmental Procedures
To ensure quality, utilize cross-departmental checks such as by implementing and maintaining regularly evaluated standard operating procedures (SOPs). Repeatedly assess the role of employee ingenuity alongside automation with consideration to both successes and areas that need improvement in your processes. Incorporate cross-department SOPs as a method to reduce the risk of siloing employee roles and ensuring their skills stay relevant. Affirming employee roles as part of a semiautomated cross-company web pushes innovation, diversifies talents, and promotes skill-sharing, all of which are vital to enriching the employee experience.
Automation has made a home in the cannabis industry, reducing production costs and boosting efficiency. During this excitement, don’t lose sight of what makes your business thrive — your employees. Take this Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate your employees and their differences and uplift them by reminding them this industry and its
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