5 Tips to Help You Retain Great Budtenders

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Did you know that the average turnover rate for North American budtenders is 55% per year? (Headset.io, 2022) 

When you have constant turnover, it’s hard to scale your operations or forecast sales. So what can you do to keep great budtenders? We have you covered.  

We spoke with professional budtenders, dispensary owners, and referenced the latest statistics to uncover the 5 top tips that will help you retain great people. 

1 – Have a thoughtful hiring process 

  • Keeping great people begins before they even walk in the door with a thoughtful hiring process. 
  • This means taking the time to do the following before you even decide to hire: 


  • Learn what to include in a budtender job description
  • Make sure you know what budtender certifications to look for 
  • Consider the type of culture hire you are looking for
  • Use applicant tracking tools to filter out poor matches


  • Have a streamlined process and interview SOPs
  • Define what a successful candidate looks like 
  • Use interview software to organize your interview questions and feedback
  • Have the offer letter ready


  • Use employee self-onboarding software to stay organized 
  • Attain all essential employee documents, certificates, and information 
  • Make sure they are set up to onboard successfully. 
  • Verify payment information to ensure they are paid directly and on time
  • Set up employee schedules that they approve of, and want to work

Why start with the hiring process? Because studies have shown that good onboarding is linked to retention. Additionally, the more you invest in finding the right person from the get-go, the less likely they are to leave because they are not the right fit for the role.

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KayaPush cannabis software

2 – Create a budtender training manual 

Every dispensary should invest in a budtender training manual if they want to increase their employee retention. 

A training manual will get your budtenders up to speed, allow them to study and learn SOPs and product information on their own time.  It will also ensure they feel appreciated and taken care of.  

We recommend you include the following 9 things in a budtender training manual: 

Table of contents and structure

Help your candidate stay organized and present a professional, easy-to-use document.

Company culture and vision

Include your company values, the brand vision, and your mission. Sharing this with your new hire will make them feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. 

Clearly defined tasks and SOPs

Help manage expectations with clearly defined dispensary SOPs for all processes at your dispensary. 

Company rules

Outline rules they need to follow, including dress code, how they are expected to conduct themselves, and other important rules related to compliance or HR.

Technology resources

Dispensaries have several types of technology they will use to manage their operations; consider outlining the different platforms your employees might use, how they can get assistance for each, and high-level best practices when learning the platforms. 

Guidelines on compliance

Compliance is a big one for retention because if your budtender does not follow compliance regulations, they could be penalized. In the compliance document, be sure to outline all best practices to remain compliant; some might include: 

  • How to greet customers in a compliant way
  • How to run payments in a compliant way 
  • How to sell products in a compliant way
  • How to touch products in a compliant way
  • How to punch in and out in a compliant way
  • And how to stay up to date on their certificates

Sales and product training information

This is a pillar because one of the top things that linked budtenders to retention as their sales numbers. Here you will want to outline any resources and SOPs around selling, product, and how to upskill in both of those domains. 

Their job description 

Bringing it back to point one, the best way to ensure your employees feel satisfied and competent at work is to have clear expectations of what they are expected to do in their role. 

Resources for if they need help

Very important for retention, employees must feel safe in the workplace – you should have a designated HR person on your team or manager who they can talk to if any uncomfortable issues arise. 

3 – Invest in training 

Recent studies found that the critical metric for increasing budtender retention, was their sales. This is why training is paramount. 

Training is also essential when it comes to safeguarding against compliance risks. Because budtenders are personally at risk should they violate any compliance regulations, ensuring they receive adequate training in this regard is paramount. 

Essential areas to invest in training include: 

  • Product knowledge
  • Product handling 
  • How to sell to customers 
  • How to build rapport with customers
  • How to greet a customer
  • How to remain compliant when selling
  • How to remain compliant when interacting with customers
  • How to remain compliant when handling product 
  • And how to use the dispensary technology.

4 – Be there for them

This is likely the most underrated thing that dispensary owners or retail store managers can do to keep great people. Be there for them, and invest in them.  

Working in retail can be challenging, not everyone is going to be a nice guy, so it is essential always to have your employees back and show them that you are there to respect and protect their best interests. 

Another way you might show up for your employees is to take an interest in their plans and how working at your dispensary might fit into their journey. Do they want to move into management? Start a cannabis brand of their own?  

Understanding and acknowledging what drives them to show up each day and supporting them in their journey will build the loyalty and trust necessary to keep great people. 

5 – Offer incentives 

Incentives were made to do just that, incentivize, so lean into it. 

How can you incentivize your staff to sell more and stay longer? 

Incentives could come in the form of staff contests with prizes, or they could be given for other wins like best product knowledge or employee of the month.  

Incentives could also be monetary, an increase in salary or wage if specific targets or hit. It could also be responsibility based – trusting your employee to manage more staff if they show they can hold down the fort.  

Whatever incentive you choose to run, consider what your employees want before you launch. 

How can technology help me retain my budtenders? 

We almost forgot, along with helping you manage your recruiting, hiring, interviewing, and onboarding – dispensary technology like KayaPush cannabis software can help you manage your retention with customizable staff surveys and KPI tracking.  

Want to learn how? Book a demo with us today

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