Jessica Billingsley wanted to recruit talented staff, so she gave them an offer they could not refuse.
5 minutes read
The views expressed Green businessman Shareholders are their own.
It seems not intuitive. Maybe even a little European.
How can a cannabis plant work with full-time employees who only work 30 hours a week?
But that's exactly what Jessica Billingsley did. The co-founder and CEO of MJ Freeway built its software company in a publicly traded company that already generates an annual income of $ 10 million.
Its success poses another question: Why is not more cannabis startup companies doing this?
Billingsley talks here about the origins of her strategy and why she thinks she works well.
Related: His software solution aims to ease the pain of operating a dispensary
What inspired you to start a 30-hour work week?
It really arose out of necessity. My favorite engineer, who I wanted to hire to create MJ Freeway, was to develop a contractual job instead of working full-time so that she could spend more time with her family and younger children. As an engineer, sales and fighting for new contracts were not the preferred way to spend time, and she really wanted to work for only one employer. Offered to win / win the classic – can only work for us and for 30 hours per week only. She then referred to a few talented engineers who had similar attitudes. I was able to retain an incredible talent for an emerging company because I met their unique needs. They were willing to take the risk of working for me in a new project, because the worst scenario for them was the accumulation of contractual work.
For some time now, the national conversation has focused on how to attract women to technology, and we have taken strong steps in this area. However, our society fails miserably to keep our talented women in the game. Fifty-six percent of women drop out of school in the middle of their careers, with more than half abandoning their training altogether. From my point of view, the reason for this decline was very obvious – a sign of 10 or 20 years when our focus shifts from office to home. Women do not want to stay away from what they like to do, but the standard structure does not allow for flexibility. So I decided to create a business model that would allow talented and gifted women to apply their skills in a way that also supports their own priorities and needs.
How do you ensure that your 30-hour working staff are productive?
We have a strong culture of accountability measured by standards everywhere in MJ Freeway, so in situations that perform well for the 30-hour week, we simply adjust the metrics. If a full-time team member's standard is to write 20 code elements or produce 20 parts of the content, a 30-hour employee's benchmark will be set in 15. Clear communication and expectations are also critical in any relationship between the employee / employer.
Do you attribute much of your early success to this strategy, from the 30-hour week?
The 30-hour week was certainly a major factor in our early days. As an emerging company in an industry that still bore a huge stigma at the time, I was able to secure the talent that I could not attract. I discovered this option by necessity, and since then I have become passionate about spreading the message and encouraging other companies to offer a 30-hour work week. Many people struggle with how to engage when family or other personal commitments need attention. How can we as a culture fill this gap – keep 56 percent of trained and talented females working to solve business problems while still meeting their priorities at home? You can create space that provides flexibility and security. It is a real win / win.
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Are there any significant "downsides" to employing 30 hours of work?
I think that at any time you have a great talent for producing superior work products there is a natural tendency to want more of them. It may sometimes be difficult to balance that motivation, but I see it as more a testimony to their talents than a true testimony.
Why do not you think more companies offer this option / convenience?
Speculation does not help change the environment or create opportunities. Surely other companies offering programs are not in MJ Freeway. However, I know that I was looking forward to the position through a needs-based approach, along with my own personal experiences, which support a unique solution. However, I will face a challenge for my fellow leaders to look at the impact that a flexible and standards-based arrangement may have on your team retention, as well as interaction.
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