Fire & Flower is a leading cannabis retailer with 61 locations across Canada, providing the educated and curated experience that everyone deserves when buying cannabis. Jesse Cheetham is the Director, Team Relations and Engagement who has helped grow the team from 12 to 500 staff in under two years. With 80% of the team in retail, Cheetham is focused on finding quality hires who align with the brand’s values to be the face of Fire & Flower.
Working in cannabis retail isn’t like working in other places: Cannistas have to be able to connect with customers, be ambitious self-starters, adhere to regulatory requirements, and work in an ever-changing environment. “Above all, the ideal candidate has to be able to handle both continuous evolution and offer comfort to customers through education,” explains Cheetham. “We need people who are okay with moving fast, and comfortable with change. Unlike working anywhere else you need the ability to adapt and evolve to continuously improve.”
Already having a values-focused hiring process in place meant that Fire & Flower had strong managers in each store, setting the company up for success to bring on other strong team members. Those managers just needed the right tools to help them build their teams.
“We aim to empower our leaders, it’s important that they’re able to control the quality of team members they bring in.”
Jesse Cheetham, Fire & Flower
Decentralized hiring for store managers
Fire & Flower’s initial hiring process used a centralized model, with HR posting manually on LinkedIn and Indeed, receiving applications via an email inbox, and passing them along to the store managers. However, this created a bottleneck to quickly getting stores the applicants they needed.
To get stores set up and staffed quickly as the brand was rapidly growing, Cheetham knew Fire & Flower needed to move to a decentralised hiring model, and find a way to give store managers the tools to effectively recruit in their communities.
“We wanted to promote the entrepreneurial nature of each shop manager,” explains Cheetham. “We aim to empower our leaders, it’s important that they’re able to control the quality of team members they bring in.”
Fire & Flower set up their decentralised hiring model around HigherMe, which gives store managers the tools they needed to manage their entire hiring process from screening applicants to scheduling interviews to selecting a new hire. It also gives Fire & Flower the ability to control how their employment brand is presented to job seekers. Best of all, it was easy to get set up quickly and managers were eager to learn more about the new software.
“The recipe for success for leaders in multi-unit retail or hospitality is the ability to control the employment brand while giving the General Manager the tools to bring in top talent.”
Jesse Cheetham, Fire & Flower
Fire & Flower’s hiring success with HigherMe
Since implementing HigherMe, many of the manual hiring processes for Fire & Flower’s managers have been reduced, with increased efficiencies in communication with candidates, speed to hire, and scheduling interviews.
Fire & Flower’s job posts are created and managed using HigherMe. Their careers page lists all locations currently hiring, and job seekers who visit the page will see the retail location closest to them listed first, helping to bring in applicants from the local community. Each job post is customized to include the job location, description, and company branding.
Fire & Flower averages over 1,500 applications per month. While most applications come via HigherMe’s integration with Indeed, their second largest source of applications comes from the Fire & Flower company website. Anyone who visits Fire & Flower’s website has an easy way to apply for a job, bringing in qualified candidates who already know and love the brand.
With HigherMe, Fire & Flower have been successful in scaling up and finding great people, while maintaining a strong brand.
“The recipe for success for leaders in multi-unit retail or hospitality is the ability to control the employment brand while giving the General Manager the tools to bring in top talent,” explains Cheetham. “It’s important at a local level that managers are really engaged in the community in a really efficient way to bring in top talent, and that’s what HigherMe has given us the ability to do.”