Dont Panic: Wurk's All-In-One Workforce Management Solution Saves Cannabis Companies From Payroll Crisis

When cannabis companies received a letter from payroll provider Paychex saying the company was no longer offering its services starting in May, they panicked.

“That puts a lot of clients in the cannabis space at risk because, in the announcement, Paychex said they could no longer process payroll or taxes for those clients as of May 1st,” Scott Kenyon, CEO, and executive chairman at Wurk, the industry’s first all-in-one workforce management solution, told Benzinga exclusively.

Kenyon explained that the tight timeline gives clients little time to transition to a new provider, a process that could take up to 12 weeks.

Wurk was quick to react.

In response, the company sought to create a solution for all clients in the industry who may be affected by this issue.

“That is a very tight timeline. These clients started to panic, and that's how we jumped into this and tried to put together a solution for every client in the industry,” Kenyon continued.

Wurk To The Rescue

Wurk aims to rapidly cater to a large number of new customers. Kenyon stated that the company has assembled a group of specialists who will oversee the entire sales process for new clients. And new clients have shown a positive response to this approach.

“Right now we want to serve quickly a ton of new customers coming,” Kenyon explained.

Wurk was the first payroll service provider for cannabis companies, and indeed, they have processed the most money in the industry.

According to Kenyon, doing payroll through personal accounts is unsustainable as the industry grows. And Wurk is there to help.

“As the industry grows, we need a professional environment that allows people to focus on their core tasks, not payroll. We call out those differences between ‘let's save a couple of dollars,’ and ‘let's go use somebody that has processes documented with major banking institutions that can protect us from mistakes,’” Kenyon said.

Kenyon noted in the long term, Wurk looks forward to educating the industry about “where is it wise to cut corners and save a couple of dollars, and where is it not.”

“I do not think that is possible with payroll because there's just so much to risk for so very little savings.”

High Risk

As a CEO with extensive experience in tech and human capital management services in the cannabis industry, Kenyon understands the risk of operating in the industry.

He acknowledges the risks associated with money movement, both inside and outside of the cannabis industry, and the importance of having strong banking relationships.

“What keeps me up at night is there are a lot of fly-by-night payroll providers in this industry. We're going to have around 20% of the market share for cannabis payroll. Paychex was probably the second largest, and our guess was they had about 10%, Kenyon said. “After that, the next closest firm has, less than probably 3%.”

“Where are those other 60-plus percent of clients out there? How are they servicing their employees through their payroll partners?” Kenyon asked. “My guess is a lot of them are doing it through partners who are not telling their banking institutes that they are in cannabis. So it's all kind of like don't ask, don't tell. And that all works until somebody asks.”

Furthermore, Kenyon emphasized the significance of payroll services in avoiding employee dissatisfaction caused by payroll glitches and retaining talent and underscored the importance of retaining skilled individuals at all levels for the industry's prosperity and development.

Improving Human Capital Management

Wurk uses data to drive best practice sharing and provides clients with regular updates through customer success managers.

By sharing its data and plans, Wurk empowers business owners to access benchmarks and take appropriate action based on industry standards, ultimately driving best practices and contributing significant value to the industry.

Kenyon noted retention is a significant issue in the cannabis industry and, to address this problem, Wurk has developed new offerings including a pay early option, which allows employees to access their paycheck up to 13 days before receiving it for a nominal fee of $5.

“That makes companies stickier to work because we're the only person that provides that kind of service,” he explained.

Additionally, Wurk introduces clients to various banking institutions. Within a network of multiple banking partners, Kenyon's company helps address one of the biggest concerns banks have with cannabis companies - how they run their payroll.

“We introduce our clients to a handful of banks that we have partnered with and say, ‘Hey, depending on what you're looking for, here are the different contacts,’” he added.

Proactive, Innovative, Responsive, And Scalable

Kenyon mentioned three factors that distinguish his company from others in the market.

Wurk's unique advantage lies in its exclusive dedication to the cannabis industry. He noted that this focused approach enables them to be more dedicated, innovative, and customer-centric, enhancing their ability to serve clients proactively and responsively.

In addition, the firm has revamped its entire customer support model and offers a segmented service model that caters to clients who want a self-service model and those who want a “white-glove” option.

Finally, the CEO explained that as companies grow from 17 to 30-35 employees, their needs change and they require a more scalable platform.

“Our product is scalable and works just as well for Nico and Scott's dispensary as it does for Trulieve, Curaleaf, and the big boys of the MSOs. Whether you have 10,000 employees or 17, our platform is going to deliver even more than what is needed at that time,” Kenyon said.

Rather than switching to a new payroll provider, companies can use Wurk's offerings to address changing employee needs, such as detailed scheduling options and performance review systems.

This approach allows companies to mature without seeking external solutions.

“When you have 17 employees, you have certain needs, but all of a sudden you're like, ‘Wow, I have different needs.’ You can use the platform to scale. If employees are asking for more options, Wurk can help,” concluded the CEO.

Scott Kenyon, CEO of Würk, will be speaking at the most successful cannabis business event in the world, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, which returns to Miami for its 16th edition.

This is the place where DEALS GET DONE, where money is raised, M&A starts, and companies meet investors and key partners. Join us at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in Florida on April 11-12. Don’t miss out.

Secure your tickets now.

Photo Credits: Scott Kenyon - Wurk (Yarygin on Shutterstock and photo and logo on LinkedIn). 

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Posted In: CannabisNewsEntrepreneurshipCommoditiesLegalManagementEconomicsSuccess StoriesExclusivesMarketsTechInterviewGeneralCannabis BankingpaycheckspayrollsScott KenyonWorkforce Management/Human ResourcesWurk
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