Editor's Note: Dragonfly Wellness was also honored in the 2021 Best Cannabis Companies to Work For - Dispensary program.
At Dragonfly Wellness, company culture is founded on the belief that businesses have a moral and social responsibility to take care of their communities.
According to Chief Strategy Officer Narith Panh, well-trained and passionate people in the cannabis industry can empower others to make better choices about healthcare through education about the benefits of medical cannabis. In fact, Dragonfly Wellness, which operates roughly 50,000 square feet of cultivation space in Moroni, Utah, as well as a retail pharmacy in Salt Lake City, unites its employees under this common goal.
A willingness to enact change is a trait that the company seeks out during the hiring process.
“I think so many of us feel like we have an opportunity to impact change by being involved in the industry, and that’s something that’s key with our company and our staff,” Panh says. “We make sure we hire the right people. Not people [who] are just cannabis fans, but we’re hiring people who are cannabis advocates, people who are out there and are not only patients themselves but [who] are willing to share their story with others.”
Experience also is key in Dragonfly Wellness’ hiring process, he adds, and for lead cultivation positions, the company looks for candidates who have experience in growing quality cannabis at scale, as well as those passionate about the industry.
“When you truly care about the plants and the products that we’re making, it impacts the quality of the product that ultimately gets to the patient,” Panh says. “We never just hire somebody who wants a job. We’re hiring people who … align with our company values [and] care about uplifting and empowering our community, changing the narrative, and breaking the stigma ….”
Enacting change is not limited to those changes that happen within the company’s cultivation and dispensary operations. The company supports local non-profit organizations and community outreach programs, including the Geraldine E. King Women’s Center, a homeless shelter that provides services for women. Dragonfly Wellness provides the center’s clients with stipends to participate in community clean-up events.
Executives on the Front lines
Dragonfly Wellness treats all its employees as one family, where no one role is more important than another, Panh says. The company’s executives, Panh adds, not only attend community outreach events alongside employees, but they also work with staff in the cultivation and dispensary facilities when needed.
Panh and other executives have spent countless nights helping to plant, re-pot, harvest and trim cannabis, and have worked with employees to package and label finished product, for example.
“We believe in the philosophy that you should never ask something of your employee that you wouldn’t do yourself,” Panh says.
This philosophy also extends to the company’s pharmacy, where Panh worked every single day (and every hour the dispensary was open) for the first six months of operations. Panh consulted with patients, stocked inventory, and handled cash management, scheduling, cleaning and decorating. The night before the store’s grand opening, Dragonfly Wellness’ CEO cleaned the bathrooms for the patients, Panh says.
“Our leaders aren’t just some guys sitting in an office,” Panh says. “We’re there. We’re on the front lines. We’re learning and we’re engaging with patients. … I think that’s really indicative of the type of culture and organization that we have.”
The company does not offer healthcare benefits to its employees but is in the process of vetting different insurance program options, Panh says, and plans to provide more traditional healthcare benefits now that the company is larger and can qualify for employee-sponsored health programs. Dragonfly offers its employees a monthly stipend that allows them to purchase their state-allotted amount of medical cannabis, which is 113 grams of unprocessed flower in a 28-day period.
Dragonfly Wellness offers patient education through ongoing in-house training programs, and the staff is involved in content creation for training materials, which include how-to videos, articles and blog posts. The company is also developing Dragonfly University, an internal e-learning platform that will provide employee-facing education on best practices for cannabis cultivation, processing and retail.
“When you provide an opportunity for people to grow in an environment like that, they want to be a part of your organization,” Panh says. “They want to work harder because they see that there’s actually value in their hard work and efforts. That’s something we really believe in, is building up the skill set of our entire staff and providing them those tools and resources, not just expecting them to go out and do it on their own.”