Customer Highlight: Verdes Foundation
June 8, 2017
The cannabis industry is expanding rapidly, and in many cases, the new markets never had the medical marijuana culture prevalent in places like California, Colorado, Washington, or Maine to ease into acceptance of recreational, adult-use programs. This leads to new cannabis businesses opening in areas where the large majority of residents have had limited exposure to cannabis outside of prohibition era rhetoric and the “Just Say No” campaigns in the 80’s. So how can a new cannabis business create a strong relationship with their community and work to overcome decades of negative perception? According to Shawna Brown, Community Relations Manager at Verdes Foundation in New Mexico, it starts with a strong company culture and a focus on education.
“We believe that our company culture permeates through the entire patient experience, if our employees are educated and compassionate, our patients will feel that and want to come back. That’s what we’re after.”
To establish a culture that empowers employees, Verdes Foundation employs a full time Registered Nurse to run their training curriculum. Doing so “instills compassion, focus on the patient, communication, and professionalism.” Brown went on to add that working with a nurse “provides team members with knowledge that they are then able to transfer to patients.” Instead of concentrating on sales and sell through, team members are trained to ask questions and get to know the patient. “Educating our patients is our top priority, we want them to ask questions about cannabis so that they know exactly what they’re ingesting and how it will affect them,” said Brown. They’ve learned that if a patient leaves feeling heard and informed, they are not only more likely to return, but they actually become an advocate for Verdes Foundation, which helps with community relationship building.
As many cannabis businesses can attest, creating a strong relationship with the local community can be challenging. To combat that, Verdes Foundation has gone to great lengths to become an active member of the community. “We want to be good neighbors, and to do that it starts with getting out there and introducing ourselves and our company,” said Brown. “We explain who we are, what we stand for, and how we are helping.” Verdes Foundation is also heavily involved in local philanthropic events that are near to the cannabis community. According to Brown, philanthropy is not just about spreading awareness of their company or cannabis, it’s about creating significant, local change. “We are very excited for the opportunity to give back to those around us, not just with our time, but financially as well. It makes the community better for everyone when the cannabis industry is embraced.”
Philanthropy also happens to be one of the driving forces behind the Verdes Foundation’s culture, and it seems to be working based on how many applications they regularly receive. “We get at least 60 resumes a week, even when we don’t have open positions, that tells me we’re doing something right.” In an industry with unusually high turnover rates, it’s remarkable to see a cannabis company becoming such a desirable place to work among the community.
Just a few weeks ago they were awarded The New Mexico Family- Friendly Business Award from Family Friendly New Mexico, an organization that acknowledges businesses that implement and encourage family first work policies for their employees.
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