By Summer Westerbur

Like many readers of Cannabis News Florida, I just returned from MJBizCon 2021. It was wonderful to be with the cannabis community again, spending time with old friends and meeting new people. It’s been a long two years for all of us. The conversations I had with cannabis business owners around the country were about the struggle to hire and retain talented employees. The pandemic left many business owners overwhelmed, struggling to attract talent.

An important consideration for employees transitioning out of a pandemic is employee benefits packages. If your competition is offering a medical plan with a $5,000 deductible and you’re offering a $1,500 deductible, your offer is more attractive. Additionally, we now have carriers that will provide disability coverage to cannabis companies. This allows us to design a rich package including medical, dental, vision, disability, and more. Early in the pandemic, carriers were waiving hospital costs for Covid-related illness but that is no longer the case. Additionally, people are thinking about disability coverage now that they face the risk of disability caused by long Covid. Sometimes small improvements to an employee benefits package can make a difference. For example, most dental policies offer a $1,000 or $2,000 annual benefit, but there are plans available with a $5,000 annual benefit. Minor improvements to an employee benefits package can be the determining factor to an employee considering your employment offer. Rich benefits packages also help you retain these employees.

In April of this year, it was reported that 4 million American workers quit their jobs, representing 2.7% of the workforce. In August 2021, 2.9% of workers left their jobs, according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hiring employees will likely remain a challenge.

As the weight of the crisis lifts, experts are anticipating a long-term impact on people’s mental health. For some people, feelings of anxiety and depression that emerged during the pandemic will resolve as routines resume — people go back to the office, social connections are reformed, the seeming danger of activities dissipates. Others will face mental health issues that persist or even appear down the road, a number that could be quite large given the magnitude of despair and disruption. This is the time to consider adding an additional mental health benefit. Some plans offer a significant number of visits, whether Telehealth or office. For employers unable to offer health insurance, these can be offered as a group plan.

This is the time of year to think about the physical and mental health of your employees. Reach out if you have any questions.

Summer Westerbur, founder of Kairos Insurance Group, is experienced in all types of insurance including employee benefit packages, product liability, general liability, professional liability and building insurance. Kairos also has expanded to include a Cannabis Division to address the unique challenges facing the cannabis industry and its employees. For more information, contact Summer@kairosinsurancegroup.com or call (719) 331-1832.