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Tech Industry Vets At engin sciences Use AI To Fix Cannabis's Big Problem

December 8, 2020 7:31 am
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Tech Industry Vets At engin sciences Use AI To Fix Cannabis's Big Problem

Up to 60% of Entry-level Cannabis Employees Leave Within 2 Months

The meteoric rise of the cannabis industry brings multiple impacts  – medically, socially, economically – but one aspect critically needed for the growing industry, are the workers.

The spiraling growth of the U.S. cannabis industry is evidenced by the workforce numbers. A 2020 industry report from Leafly shows the industry employs about 243,700 full-time employees, a 15.5% annual increase from the previous survey. Given that pace, the report projects 250% employment growth over the next decade, a faster growth rate than in renewable energy, medical patient care, or even IT and data science careers

Unfortunately, according to a report by analytics company Headset, almost 60 percent of entry-level cannabis employees leave within their first two months on the job. In fact, the same report found that, in Colorado, only 15% of employees remained at a company for more than twelve months.

Looking to solve this retention issue is engin sciences inc, whose virtual talent management system (VTMS) leverages AI to find the fit between job seekers and cannabis companies. engin’s tech blends psychographic and skills data with industry leading recruitment firm FlowerHire’s HR and recruiting expertise to help candidates seeking careers in cannabis match with their ideal company. By gamifying the application process on any job site, HR managers can quickly evaluate applicants, engage with viable candidates, and help people find jobs to which they are best suited.  In the end, it saves recruiters and agencies time, while helping job seekers and companies find a good fit. 

“During the pandemic, so many hourly and frontline workers have been displaced from their jobs, we are proud that our tech is helping people find a fit in one the the few industries experiencing a hiring boom at this difficult time.” said engin sciences chairman Alex Shah.

The origin of the X platform VTMS and the team behind it, represents the beginning of a breakthrough trend in the cannabis industry.

Taking The Lead

It was not these industry figures alone that drew together the founding members of engin sciences. In truth, the sheer gravitational force of the cannabis industry, coupled with the emerging promise of cannatech, pulled them together.

Ashesh “Alex” Shah, serial tech entrepreneur and founder of The London Fund merchant bank, was drawn into cannabis when his college classmate introduced him to the CEO as well as the Chief Revenue Officer of cannabis delivery giant Eaze. Since each was a veteran of the tech and startup worlds, their discussions quickly led Shah to realize that most of the sophisticated VC-backed talent was still absent from the cannabis industry.

In 2017, Shah brought his team of seasoned professionals together and founded the award-winning anti-counterfeiting and consumer engagement platform solo sciences, a firm that quickly established itself by protecting and validating brands in the midst of the 2019 vape cartridge counterfeiting crisis. This drew the attention of Akerna Corp. (NASDAQ:KERN), which acquired solo sciences for $22.5 mm (a mere 22 months after its founding). Additionally, Akerna named Shah to be the first CTO of any publicly traded cannatech company.

As Shah became entrenched in the industry, he built a close relationship with FlowerHire CEO David Belsky and Chief Revenue Officer Sloane Barbour, another technology industry veteran, who revealed that FlowerHire’s clients employ over 45,000 hourly workers. Unfortunately, they couldn’t service this demand without some assistance.

During this time, HR tech firm and specialists in the science of workplace happiness, Good&Co (another of Shah’s ventures) sold to publishing firm Axel Springer. After the sale, Shah’s co-founder and long-time software architect Dr. Valerie Fraysse took over as CTO and continued to drive the technology behind the company’s culture-first staffing philosophy.

Seeing the opportunity, he introduced Barbour and Fraysse to found engin sciences. Leveraging their experience over the past decade driving the evolution of AI-assisted hiring and workplace satisfaction as VP of Sales at Hired.com, and as co-founder and CTO of Good&Co  they collaborated to codify decades of validated research to alleviate this pain.

From the Ground Up

The engin sciences team recognized that the growth sectors occurring across the cannabis industry – agriculture, manufacturing, lab sciences, research, logistics and retail – all depend on hourly and frontline workers efficiently delivering to satisfy the industry’s high demand.

The need for this core workforce serves as the foundation for the engin sciences X platform and its functionality in providing greater efficiency in pairing talented employees with the appropriate employer. Their VTMS ensures that businesses dependent on hourly workers retain the skills, tools, and experience needed for successes, reduced churn, and maturation of the industry.

engin designed its X platform to be private-labeled, so recruitment agencies like FlowerHire could capture recurring revenue from markets too expensive to have serviced previously, such as placing hourly workers. While engin’s X platform could help any number of industries (hospitality, retail, etc), a partnership with FlowerHire allows engin to immediately address nearly 4000 monthly job listings in the cannabis industry.

Marketed as FlowerHire X, the VTMS allows cannabis companies to create listings from 15 core job profiles containing 50 soft and hard skill attributes tabulated into a PowerProfile. Listings can be marketed on general job sites from Indeed, LinkedIn, Craigslist and Google Careers to specialized career portals like CareersinCannabis.com. While there, the apply button drives applicants into a gamified application process that quantifies their responses and compares them with the listing’s PowerProfile to generate a FitScore.  This indicator helps applicants avoid applying for positions that don’t fit them well and HR managers avoid the daunting task of sifting through a large number of candidates who don’t have the matching skills for a particular opening.

And PowerProfiles are not static, they are engineered to evolve, refine and branch into new categories.

As the industry grows and new data is incorporated from an increased diversity of brands, employers, and candidates interacting with the platform, the AI brings increasing refinement, bias reduction, and personalization benefits for all participating in the hiring process.

A Defining Moment

The November beta launch of the FlowerHire X platform generated over 500 applicants in less than a week, from candidates seeking jobs at Eaze, Nature’s Remedy, Jushi Holdings Inc. (OTC:JUSHF) , TerrAscend, and Cloud Cannabis.

“The traction already exceeds our expectations for engagement, and is on its way to delivering a long-awaited, wholly unique cannabis industry talent acquisition platform,” said Barbour. “The demand to join the beta program has been tremendous.”

Effectively leveraging AI technology and data insights provided by engin sciences’ API, cannatech is now poised to make a massive stride in solving a central problem facing the cannabis industry.

FlowerHire and engin sciences aim to establish the FlowerHire X platform as the industry standard, able to nimbly address the long and short-term needs of the fast-evolving industry.

For cannabis brands, growers, and retailers, this tool significantly increases the ability to find and retain employees, which is a critical key to the cannabis market. As important as any technology or logistical advancement, hiring with confidence will define every aspect of the cannabis industry.