Use Checklists to Track Dispensary Staff Tasks

All members of the dispensary team benefit from having well-established protocols, but given the amount of compliance management, the need for ongoing education, and daily retail activities, it can be overwhelming to get it all done. Not to mention you want to make sure it is all completed properly and all records are properly maintained. From the recruiting and interviewing process to an employee’s last day, dispensary management can be easier and more compliant with the use of checklists to track and ensure the completion of processes related to goals, tasks, and responsibilities. 
From day one, your hiring or human resources manager needs to have a set of checklists to keep track of a new employee’s onboarding and training. Setting up a new hire orientation with a clear checklist of activities and required paperwork for personnel files will ensure compliance with employment laws and assures the new employee they are joining a quality, professional cannabis organization. When there are clear guidelines and processes,  it helps shape employees’ perspectives about what is expected of them as a member of the organization.  The use of checklists to ensure the introduction of company policies, providing logins, access credential information, and training on the standard operating procedures of the employee’s department sets clear standards and supports the employee in their journey to be successful. 
There are a number of daily, weekly, and monthly activities that need to be accomplished at the dispensary. Execution of these tasks may be a team effort, such as opening and closing the store or cleaning and maintenance, therefore having a checklist helps avoid the run around of “I thought so-and-so was doing it” and makes it fairer when assigning tasks. – No one wants to be responsible for cleaning the men’s room every day or shoveling the walkway every time it snows. Tasks such as cash or inventory management may be more role-specific and require clear audit trails to support other activities like purchasing, accounting, and regulatory compliance for banking or seed-to-sale tracking. Checklists for these important duties help create a record and prevent oversights.
Dispensaries are responsible for educating their patients and customers on a ton of topics. If knowledge is tied to performance or how hours are scheduled, having checklists allow management and the employee to stay in sync on progress. Product knowledge checklists can help track an employee’s training and understanding of general cannabis knowledge and terpenes, which may allow them to step away from the front desk and onto the sales floor. Knowledge of required IDs, how to get a medical card, and managing the check-in system may allow a dispensary associate to work the front desk in addition to serving patients on the floor. A dispensary may also have checklists for each vendor and their product lines to help employees explain key benefits and selling points to drive sales. An employee seeking promotion may need some cross-training in other departments. A checklist of specific goals, tasks, and responsibilities will empower them with clear guidelines to be successful. Ongoing education is central to being a dispensary employee, and having checklists that align with an individual’s interests and career intentions helps managers foster employee growth. 
By using checklists and having new employees acknowledge receipt of training and policies, management can better assess performance in terms of rate of progress or need for redirection. Employee growth and development are critical to dispensary success. Minimizing turnover helps create a sense of stability for the rest of the team and the customers. When disciplinary action or performance improvement plans need to be implemented, checklists help ensure fair treatment of the employee and document the matter clearly for all parties.  On the other end of the spectrum, goal setting and tracking, and performance reviews all need checklists as well to set up each employee for success. Raises, bonuses, and promotions are the typical drivers behind high employee performance. Therefore having clear criteria for assessing and awarding compensation or role changes helps employees align with expectations. Checklists for these types of changes also ensure these rewards are being managed ethically and without discrimination. 
Having clear protocols and well-trained staff helps reduce the chance of something going wrong at the dispensary, but inevitably small crises happen. Emergency management can be more effective and less stressful by having a response plan with a checklist. Response plans may be related to a weather disaster, a security breach, a patient having an adverse event, or a medical emergency occurring at the dispensary. These checklists should all include contact information for the leadership team as well as first responders. Depending on the circumstance, the checklist may have an event reporting form to fill out or an inventory list to verify in case of loss or damage. Having all forms, processes, and contact information in one place will help authorities or first responders do their job and streamline post-event activities so the business can resume as normal. 
No matter how great your organization is, sometimes employees leave. The goal is that they leave because they retire, but regardless of whether it’s their choice or for the good of the dispensary, employee departure needs to follow a checklist.  Whenever an employee is leaving the company, an exit interview should be conducted with a witness present to collect updated contact information to send COBRA, W2s, and retirement plan rollover instructions. The dispensary manager or human resources manager needs to inform the employee of how and when their last check will be provided. And for security, the collection of credentials and removal of access codes and logins needs to be completed. The checklist should also include notification of the regulatory authority regarding the change of employment status. Exit interviews can be awkward, sad, or stressful, depending on the circumstances around the employee’s departure. By having a checklist to follow, managers are less likely to get flustered and forget something or do or say something that may introduce liability for the company. 
Checklists may seem simple and lack sophistication, but when implemented properly, they can have a big impact on how well your dispensary operates. Many cannabis businesses still have clipboards and paper to track these tasks and activities, but going digital is advised. Digital checklists don’t get lost as easily and may prevent inaccurate dates and timestamps. They can also be managed without taking up space and provided quickly in case of an audit. Review your standard operating procedures so you can start holding your teams accountable for the tasks required at the dispensary. Hopefully, you will see improvements in performance, more productivity by your managers, and less stress in case of an emergency.

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