Jushi Holdings Inc., a multistate owner and operator of cannabis cultivation, processing and retail licenses based in Boca Raton, Fla., has opened six dispensaries with plans for more and grown to about 250 employees in the past two years. How has the company managed such fast growth during a short time frame?
Founder and CEO Jim Cacioppo says the start-up emphasizes “building strong, high-performing, capable teams” that work together to ensure the company’s success. “When you are working hard to build something that matters to everyone, it is important that your employees feel like everyone is equally in this together,” Cacioppo says. “As CEO, I’m always asking about how others are working together and what I can do to remove any obstacles in their way.”
Jushi operates separate, disparate brands that include: Beyond/Hello, the company’s group of dispensaries in Pennsylvania; The Lab, the company’s extraction and manufacturing arm; and The Bank, Jushi’s cultivation and genetics arm. However, employees serve as consultants across brands and multiple departments are involved in every decision, including product input, says Nichole Upshaw, Jushi’s vice president of human resources. “In other industries, people operate in silos, but in the cannabis industry, everything is so complicated,” Upshaw says. “Every single person had a full-on career doing something totally different before they came here, and there’s this other bank of knowledge and information we can tap into.
“At a start-up, everybody’s plate is full, but people here are willing to take on extra to help out the organization, no matter what department they’re in,” she says, citing examples like employees pulling all-nighters to make a license application deadline or staff staying an hour past close to make sure patients have good experiences and get the products they need.
Part of that dedication comes from actively recruiting people passionate about cannabis. Some who were once Beyond/Hello patients are now on staff and serve as natural brand ambassadors, who are able to “bring their whole selves to work,” Upshaw says. Many of the people working at Beyond/Hello can empathize with patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, who are cancer survivors or struggle with depression and anxiety. “We care about building a community where people feel welcome,” Cacioppo says.
Cacioppo says managers spend a lot of time and effort assessing job candidates but aren’t afraid to let them go if it’s not a good fit. Most employees are paid a minimum of $15 per hour, and if employees have a medical prescription, they can earn discounts at Beyond/Hello dispensaries, among other perks and benefits.
The company welcomes employee feedback and takes it seriously, trying to find solutions to problems that come up, like supply shortages. “If this openness is encouraged from the top, it permeates throughout the organization,” Cacioppo says. “Our senior leaders do not sit still. We are in our dispensaries, cultivation facilities and visiting our future operating sites.”
Overall, he believes employees stay with the company because it’s a purpose-driven business. “I believe people want to be a part of not just a winning team, but a team that believes in why they are playing,” he says.