MONCTON – The blooming marijuana industry is leading to a fast expansion for Moncton’s OrganiGram. This week, the company is onboarding 49 new hires, boosting it’s headcount to 410. It’s seeking another 40 employees in the next three months.
About a year ago, the company had only around 60 workers.
Chief Commercial Officer Ray Gracewood said since he joined the company around two-and-a-half years ago, OrganiGram has continued to expand as it invests in the infrastructure to boost production. And the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana is helping it grow quickly.
“We’re at a fortunate position right now where our business has been organically growing on the medical side and so that’s resulted in new job opportunities,” he said.
“But it’s obvious that the true driver of economic growth and job growth has been our preparations for the adult [recreational marijuana] market. And as we continue to work towards that, we continue to grow, and we’ll continue to recruit on par to make sure that we can fulfill our commitments.”
The 49 new hires will all work full-time, mostly for processing and packaging on the production and cultivation side, a department meant to serve the adult recreational marijuana market. This department handles the production and packaging of cannabis oils, dry flowers and pre-rolls for Canada-wide consumption.
In the next three months, OrganiGram plans to hire 20 more people for that department and another 20 to fill positions in marketing, sales, production management, IT, engineering, human resources, and finance, among others.
“So really, we’re expanding in all ways. But when it comes down to headcount, the largest department would be on the cultivation and production side,” Gracewood said.
When it comes to production, Gracewood said the company has so far succeeded in onboarding so many people in a short time because of a process it developed. OrganiGram relies less on specific skills and more on whether the new hire fits with the company culture, he said.
“We’d be very reliant on the process that we’ve put in place here and understanding what it is to grow quality cannabis using the OrganiGram way,” he said. “So we use a methodology of ‘hire the soul, train for the role.’ ”
“[OrganiTude is] the internal word that we use in terms of how we hope people will go to work every day and stay motivated and feed off of the energy within not just our company but also our entire industry. Because, really, without a motivated workforce that gives 150 per cent every day, there’s no chance we’ll be able to do what we do every day.”
For salaried jobs in marketing and sales, OrganiGram is looking for experience with consumer packaged goods, alcoholic beverage sales and marketing, and an educational background that supports those skills.
More than 90 per cent of OrganiGram’s employees are based in New Brunswick, where the company has a large production facility in Moncton. Gracewood said they’ve had good luck finding talent in the province.
“We work very hard on recruitment, but at the same time the reputation the company has built and the energy within the industry as a whole has afforded us the unique opportunity where we can get people a great working environment in a really exciting industry and that just appeals to a lot of potential candidates,” he said.
The company is already planning for another batch of new hires in March 2019.
“We’re still in the process of finalizing what that exactly looks like in terms of numbers,” Gracewood said. “But there’s a good chance we would be having some kind of job fair or event in January to start the process for that next influx of employees that we’re hoping to bring on for March.”
And as it grows in New Brunswick, OrganiGram is also expanding across Canada and internationally. It’s currently present in six markets east of Alberta, and it recently announced deals in Australia and Germany.