The Importance of Being Open

Departments - From the Editor

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February 7, 2019
© Joe Skodzinski

“Motivate your employees by sharing monthly statistics like sales relative to forecast, and expenses relative to operating budget. The more transparency to this level of information, the more invested employees will be in the dispensary’s success.”

I can’t understate the impact this statement by Colin Kelley (who wrote this issue’s Bottom Line) can have on your ability to retain employees at every level of your company, not to mention your company’s profits.

In a previous editorial management position, I was not privy to the company’s Profit & Loss (P&L) reports, and I experienced first-hand what the resulting limitations were. I didn’t know where the bulk of our revenue was, nor did I know where the fastest growth was. I didn’t know if my editorial team was spending too much time on tasks or products that did not drive revenue. For example, we were spending 20 percent of our time creating the publications’ email newsletters; did the newsletters comprise 20 percent of our revenue or anywhere near it? The lack of financial insight was hindering growth. And not only that, but my team never felt like they were a key part of the business.

Cannabis Dispensary’s parent company, GIE Media, does share monthly financial updates with all employees. If employees are aware of financial stressors and opportunities, they can act on those. When they receive messages such as, “We need to work harder to meet our numbers,” or, “We are doing great and need to continue focusing on this area of the business,” with financial context, they can better understand what is needed of them and potentially contribute valuable insights to impact the bottom line.

This leads to the concept of engagement.

Approximately 70 percent of workers are not engaged in their jobs, according to Gallup’s 2017 “State of the American Workplace” report.

And, as the Society for Human Resource Management reported, “Those numbers translate into more than just a shortage of smiles around the lunchroom. Engagement correlates with productivity, customer service and profitability. So, for example, organizations with strong employee engagement scores generate revenue growth at a rate 2.5 times higher than companies with lower marks, according to the Hay Group, a management consulting company.”

But how do you create engagement? I, and supporters of “open-book management,” believe it’s more than liking what you do.

“Most people think of engagement in individual terms—feeling fulfilled by the task at hand, wanting to do a good job. We see engagement as being part of a team that’s competing to win,” wrote Bill Fotsch and John Case in an article in Harvard Business Review.

And creating a driven team is not difficult. “It’s surprisingly easy to generate this kind of engagement among employees when you make the economics of the business come alive by sharing some key financial numbers,” wrote Fotsch and Case. “It’s an open-book approach: people begin to watch these indicators. Then they figure out how to move them in the right direction.”

With hiring and retaining qualified employees being a major challenge in the cannabis industry, open-book management can help you keep valuable staff. And the other great part about it? It’s a cost-free approach with a potentially big payoff.

Noelle Skodzinski, Editorial Director | nskodzinski@gie.net