Cannabis Knowledge & Insights

Functional Interview Questions for Optimizing Cannabis Industry Businesses

In this video and synopsis, we cover some functional interviews questions cannabis owners and operators can use to optimize their businesses, streamline hiring practices, and better organize their workforce.

Hey there Jim Breese from green growth CPAs and today we’re going to talk about conducting functional interviews for your cannabis company to streamline your workforce now as you grow the company and you hire people and hire contractors you’re gonna start to see that there’s some overlap and redundancy in job duties now this is just wasting money so what we’re gonna do in this presentation is explain to you functional interviews and why they’re important and then what specific questions to ask each and every one of your people from top to bottom within your organization to reduce that redundancy figure out systems you need to implement maybe even bringing some software to again streamline and organize your business so that you’re not wasting any extra dollars on people or on the workforce now if you need help with conducting these functional interviews then please reach out to green growth CPAs by visiting our website at green growth CPAs com or give us a call at eight hundred 676

your cannabis company again my name is Jim breeze here from green growth CPAs and as you know as you grow your company you start to hire a lot of people and there is some duplicate work being done and you want to optimize and streamline your company and what you’re gonna do is use functional interviews to reorganize and make a streamlined workforce for your cannabis business but before we hop into that I need to let you know that the information contained in this presentation is meant for guidance purposes only and not as professional legal or tax advice further does not give any personalized legal tax investment or any business advice in general so with that out of the way let’s review what we’ll cover today so first we’re gonna talk about the next phase of the cannabis industry and this is relative to where you’re at today we’re talking to current operators that are expanding and growing their business will break apart some thoughts about what you’re seeing the big boys having happen in their business and then what you need to do and consider going forward then we’ll discuss what functional interviews are why you should conduct them and then we’ll also review specific questions to ask when you’re doing these functional interviews so you can unpack your business and get color in context to what is actually happening within your workforce and then lastly we’ll give our final on reorganizing your company so the next phase of the cannabis industry so this here is for the current operators that are growing their business maybe they’re acquiring other businesses and as you see the industry mature there are mergers there are acquisitions and what’s gonna have to happen when you start to bring a few companies together or you start to expand into different licenses and different verticals you’re going to need to reorganize to improve the operations as well as reduce the overhead costs of the people so one of the goals here when you’re conducting these interviews is to reduce costs and improve the numbers of your business essentially trim the fat right there are some things that are just redundant and you’re paying more and more for six people to do eight parts of one job and it’s such that can we improve this system or focus one person so they can become specialized in this instead of having three or four seven or eight generalists touching on a specific task and what you’re seeing right now in the industry is even med men they announced a twenty percent corporate workforce layoff that’s a hundred and ninety employees that they laid off reorganizing the business improving the financials of the business and Condesa a large commercial cannabis cultivators based in California recently laid off fourteen percent of its workforce and froze hiring for another six positions due to lack of funding as you understand the cannabis industry is incredibly cash intensive in one of those higher burning things is the people of your business right you want to take care of them you want to give them the benefits in a livable wage especially in California which is potentially seventy five percent higher than what it is in the middle of the country it can be very expensive to have a lot of people but you need people to run the business so what you’re gonna see as these companies expand they have to contract what goes up must come down a little bit and so you’re seeing these corporate layoffs now reorganizing can be a very difficult and painful process but it doesn’t have to be but it’s also sometimes necessary for cannabis operators to survive if you have no money to make payroll and you don’t have a business you’ll be out of business in a month so if you’re faced with the prospect of downsizing or merging with another cannabis business there’s a good chance that you’ll need to decide who to cut and who to keep on so during rapid expansion especially in that explosive growth of a startup it’s easy to hire a lot of people that duplicate the work and in the grand scheme of the business again that cost you money that you don’t need to spend and I understand my team understands firing people can be painful but again it’s necessary the right people are imperative to a business’s success and this is where functional interviews come into play so what is a functional interview at the base a functional interview is used to assess employee or candidates knowledge skills and experience now many companies use these functional interviews during the hiring process to understand if a person has the capabilities to perform a job but you also see this in companies where there’s a lot of employees and we need to understand are they all doing the right job are they hitting their job description duties as their overlap and what’s really going on with the workforce I’m guessing you’ve seen office space right when they bring in those consultants and everyone goes into the conference room and they interview them hey tell us about your job and this and that those are functional interviews now functional interviews can also include a culture fit interview where the questions are designed to see if an employee or a candidate their personal and work style is a good fit for the hiring organization’s culture so do they fit into your company do they jive with the rest of the people that are there do they have the same mindset right culture is one of the most important things you can teach somebody how to do the job duties but if they’re a bad person that’s cancer to the culture and that cancer needs to be removed now functional interviews simply again are just to learn what people do how they view their job and their work environment and what value that they add to the business and cannabis operators can use these functional interviews to find who to keep on board and usually you have an outside consultant your management team or an HR team conduct these interviews and if you’re in the merger and acquisition portion of a business it’ll usually be the acquiring company that will send out their consultant their management team or their HR team to bring on these people and see who to keep what’s redundant and that’s the people that we cut now why you should do functional interviews I’ve kind of alluded to a few of these here but let me break it down a little bit further simply it’s really hard to achieve positive cash flow in the cannabis industry for a variety of reasons right the heavy burden of taxes of Licensing and all the real estate that comes along with it the manufacturing equipment and everything else right so you need to find where you can slim down on cost which is pretty easy to do when you see ten people standing around at a corporate office talking about whatever at the watercooler when it’s like yo we need you guys to get to work and add more value to the business now by the end of the functional interview the business must clearly understand what each employee does on a day to day basis things like how well does each employee perform their job how does the team work together and how do employees perceive each other so throughout the process you’re gonna use functional interviews to find three things first find any unnecessary overlap in roles between team members second identify any gaps in processes that need to be filled and then third find ways that the company could improve from the perspective of the employees now each stakeholder in the business whether that’s an executive or someone on the frontlines working in the retail salespeople in the business have their own unique take on how the operations can be improved so entertain every idea wait each opinions merit and implement the ideas that seem most helpful now you may not get it right every time but you have to test to grow your company now make sure when you’re going into these functional interviews that you have an end goal in mind before even starting this way you can assess each idea that you hear with in the interview in relation to where you hope to end up to that goal right so having goals will also offer guidance on which questions to ask so some goals could be do you hope to recover a certain amount of salary back into your budget or maybe you’re looking to close certain areas of the business and redistribute talent and let people go you see very often some people have all the verticals they have retail and manufacturing and distribution even cultivation when you start to look at your income statement the consolidated financials you start to think okay well something’s not right here we’re losing money but it’s not every segment of the business when you start to peel back and unpack the balance sheet in the income statement maybe you realize it’s one particular aspect maybe it’s cultivation so you’re interviewing all those cultivation people to see hey do they know any other cross-functional duties can they fit here or there or are they just a cultivator and they don’t have any other place within our business so understanding why you’re doing this specifically for your company will help you guide the questions to ask and finally make sure that you have each employees Job Description with you before you begin now this will help you compare their actual work against their assigned responsibilities to objectively measure their performance the best end result may not be to fire someone can you move that team member again to a different role where they will thrive based on their skills and what they know about the company another thing to think about is are there any job functions that you can assign to help the team reach its goals or may will rewriting the job descriptions set people up for success so keep these questions in mind as you assess your onboarding talent or your current talent at your business so now that you understand what functional interviews are and why you should actually conduct those for a growing business let’s see also explosive growth or a lot of hiring let’s talk about specific functional interview questions now in the process of helping a few of the green growth CPAs clients we’ve learned that some questions can help assess on-the-job performance so again depending on your goal here are some things you may want to ask to your existing team members so first how long have you been with the company right you may not know everybody within the business so start with the basics build some rapport and Trust and don’t dive into the heavy stuff right away these interviews can be quite intimidating for the members that are being interviewed other things you can ask like what’s your current title here do you like working here simple things like that to kind of break the ice lower the walls so you can start to ask the other questions next ask what is a typical day or week for you in your job this question helps you get an understanding of how an individual uses their time what specific tasks they complete and whether or not that matches their job description again what you should have on hand while you’re doing the interview next ask them how does your job add value to the business so this allows them to really look back on what they complete and what tasks they do and see do they understand how their role contributes to the business how does it help the business grow how does it help the business create more value more revenue or cheaper costs things of that nature you want someone that can clearly articulate their value to the business there pretty much I don’t want to say fighting for their job at this point but they’re showing examples of exactly why you should keep them on in your business next you should ask them what do you think you’re being measured on by your manager now this helps them see if they know what they should be focusing on and when you interview their manager is the manager actually looking at the right KPIs for their team now if you’re speaking to a manager and also learn if in how they measure their direct reports it’s very easy to get caught up in a conversation a manager comes to a c-level or to a senior manager and says oh Michele is doing such a bad job or mike has got a bad performance well maybe that’s just one person’s view of it and maybe they’re not measuring them by the right things they don’t even know how to measure their subordinates so getting information from both sides triangulating an opinion can really help you make sure you’re making the right personnel decisions next you want to ask them what’s the hardest part of your job and what’s the easiest part of your job what this allows you to do is learn about what they find challenging and then uncover any issues with certain processes or job functions for example if three out of the five people bring up not being able to keep up with all the clients that they work with well then maybe it’s time to implement a proper CRM system now if they say hey this is the easiest part of my job I love this part and then you talk to other departments and they don’t have that same system or tool maybe it’s time to buy more seats or buy more licenses for a specific software that allows the second team who has a very hard time with that same task to feel some relief and to get some more optimization within their team so it’s just about finding what is the friction in the business and what’s the smooth sailing parts of your business and lastly ask them what’s working at the business or division that you’re in and then what’s not working it’s a little bit similar to that hardest part of your job or easiest part of your job but it gives them more 30,000 foot approach and allows them kind of the leeway to talk about maybe personnel or maybe it’s talking about systems or maybe it’s talking about specific clients things like that these are for general improvements that can be made for the business and also lets you know well look this is what we can double down on ninety percent of people say they like this specific aspect of our business and this is what’s really working a we should really really triple down double down on that now this is where you start to see all the different levels of people and how they perceive your business you could be running a few dispensaries in the people that are at the front lines dealing with the customers versus the people that are managers and just counting cash and making sure that the payrolls being met and all the people are being paid out they’re gonna have different views and sometimes those people on the front lines never get heard from now this allows them to share their thoughts that they may be sharing the general manager but it doesn’t get up to the c-level team or to the senior team there this allows you again to get in the front lines or get in the middle and see what’s really happening and how you can improve your business now this is not an exhaustive list of questions and you should ask follow-up questions pry a little bit deeper into the hardest part of their job ask them why do you think you’re being measured on this specific aspect of your job or why do you think the business does that if they say that’s really not a good thing that’s not working for their business getting some context to their answers in that follow-up question write these questions are just used to start a discussion it’s not just a drilling down into them have a two-way conversation with the people that you’re interviewing now once you’ve interviewed your entire workforce or a division of your workforce or a segment or vertical or wherever you’re at you need to look at reorganizing your cannabis company now after you get all the information from the functional interviews you need to triangulate the data that you got with the end goal from the onset of these interviews right why did you even sit down to do this again wasn’t to recover cash was it to reallocate people was it to cut a specific division what was it going to be right so when you think about will you be cutting certain amount of salary costs then if yes collaborate with your senior team and consultants to choose who stays who goes in who gets reallocated to another function of the business now if the goal was to improve the systems of your business take time to collectively understand the interview responses and then see which processes need to be optimized what tools need to be purchased or what consultants need to be brought in for a deeper dive into a specific aspect of the business now it’s very easy to get overwhelmed in the reorganization process so really give yourself the thought that there’s no one way to respond or one right way to respond to what you’ve found during these interviews each organization is unique in its needs and it’s up to the senior team or the managers to make choices that are best for the company and you’ll never know if you took choice a you can never know what choice B there’s no crystal ball where you look back and say well what if I would have done this or that make a choice stick to it have conviction and confidence and go down that path and if you make a mistake have the humility to say hey I was wrong or we were wrong let’s try this instead it’s okay to change your mind just try something something move forward if you want different results you have to do different things now hopefully this presentation has brought you some values so you understand the purpose of functional interviews and how it can improve the operations of your cannabis business now if you need help with reorganizing your cannabis business workforce with functional interviews we have deep experience in this we’ve helped many clients optimize and reorganize their workforce so reach out to us via our website at green growth CPAs dot-com or give us a call at eight hundred 676 interviews to reorganize your cannabis business then please reach out to green growth CPAs via our website at green growth CPAs com or give us a call at eight hundred 676