Record numbers of Americans are filing for unemployment benefits—the Department of Labor has reported more than 16 million seasonally adjusted initial claims since March 15. But some cannabis companies are hiring amid the coronavirus pandemic. Among them is Curaleaf, a vertically integrated company with operations across the country.
In the two and a half weeks leading up to April 8, Curaleaf New York had hired 27 people, Lanett Austin, director of human resources and outreach in the state for the publicly traded company, said on April 8. Out of those 27 new hires, about 90% indicated they had been laid off from their previous jobs.
“We know firsthand how challenging it can be to be an essential worker, and we're so proud that our team members are proud to be giving back and serving our community. So, we’re happy to assist in any way, shape or form,” Austin said. “Overall, the morale is definitely a serious morale, but they know that they are doing something much bigger than just themselves, and it is rewarding and challenging both at the same time.”
Curaleaf hires people who care about others, and if those hires don’t have experience in cannabis or know a lot about it, the company can teach them, Austin said. Many of its hires come from the retail sector, including the clothing and grocery industries, specifically.
The company is continuing to hire for full-time and part-time positions at its four dispensaries in the state—in Queens, Carle Place, Newburgh and Plattsburgh, which are all open for curbside pickup and delivery only—as well as positions in cultivation and manufacturing at its 72,000-square-foot Ravena facility. Among job openings are those for entry-level growers, dispensary associates and fill technicians, as well as per diem pharmacists at each of its dispensaries.
Due to stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing measures—and in a state that has about a third of the total confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S.—the company has had to find new ways to conduct the interview process.
“Our hiring process starts with human resources, so it's still the regular submission online of your resume and a phone interview,” Austin said. “After that, most normally, we would invite people into our space to do an interview. But now, everything has transitioned to Zoom and digital platforms for both the hiring manager and the HR representative, to have face-to-face vis-à-vis webcam for their interview process.”
Prior to the pandemic, onboarding involved group training in classrooms and tours of facilities, Austin said. Now, Curaleaf hosts webinar training, and one-on-one onboarding onsite and online.
The company continues to provide essential services while thanking employees for their efforts, Austin said. “We offer several employee assistance programs, such as if it's counseling, if it's financial needs,” she said. “We also just gave a recognition bonus to all of our team members that are working currently right now on the frontlines."