The same forces fueling the Great Resignation have the potential to break down the worldwide supply chain, which could have tremendous implications for the cannabis industry.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have severely disrupted the vast network of products and services that are relied upon by businesses from every nation on the planet. But companies are responding.
For example, Intel is dropping $20 billion on a new factory in Ohio, and General Motors is spending $7 billion in Michigan on electric vehicle factories. And these are just the early adopters. Experts are seeing other companies making similar moves in multiple industries.
Another disruption that is less obvious, but arguably more profound, is the significant strain COVID has put on all levels of education. The overall effect, according to educators and researchers, has been to take two years out of the flow of education. For those graduating high school and college, two highly important years of their development have been, at best, substantially destabilized and analysts wonder how this will impact the next wave of people entering the workplace. In some circles, they have already been christened “Generation Interrupted.”
Prognosticators strongly suggest that by 2030, just eight years away, the workforce will operate on substantially different terms than it does today.
The pivot we are beginning to see will put more pressure on your hiring process over the next few years, because businesses moving their operations back to the United States will require more labor to run those new and upgraded factories, increasing competition for workers at all levels.
The advantage cannabis brings to this situation is the nature of the industry itself. Cannabis is uniquely positioned to appeal to the next generation of workers, because the industry is still new and finding its own position in the larger environment of business and the economy and often speaks directly to their issues.
Much of the language being attributed to Generation Interrupted is already embraced and spoken by the cannabis industry. Because of its background and history, there is much greater awareness of social justice and equity.
The values of equity and social justice are as important to the rest of us as they are to this new group coming up. Perhaps the only difference is in the amount of learning (and unlearning) we had to do to get there, a process that occurred for them at a much earlier stage.
For leaders in the industry, it’s our duty to be intentional, purposeful and sincere about how we approach these issues; those from the outside looking in (and many of us already inside the industry) will see right through us if we’re not.
It’s our job to make our values actionable, and to be genuine about it. Establishing ourselves as leaders who can be counted on to walk our talk will help ensure that long-term staff and teammates join us on the journey.
Eight years might seem like a long time to think ahead, given all the stress and challenges of just meeting revenue numbers for the month. But most business leaders I know want to be able to look back and be proud of what they accomplished. Getting to that moment means planning for it now, and building the foundational capabilities today that will lead to tomorrow’s successes.
Terry Smith is a consultant in the cannabis industry and a senior leader in organizational development and change management, specializing in strategic and operational management. He has served as an adjunct professor in the School of Business Administration at Portland State University. He is a certified facilitator and coach through Korn Ferry, The Leadership Circle, Organizational Systems International and Achieve Global. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.