BrewDog is committed to being a great employer. There is work we need to do but we are on that journey; we are listening, we are learning and, importantly, we are taking action. In this section of our website we have been providing regular updates on the actions we have taken since the publication of an open letter from a small group of former employees which raised some issues related to our working practices and culture. We vowed then we would take action and we have done so.
Some of the measures we said we would put in place in response to the open letter included:
- launching an independently managed ethics hotline;
- a company wide salary review;
- a structure review to identify where the business was constrained and recruit additional roles;
- a set of initiatives into mental health support;
- the creation of new Employee Representative Groups to give our people a direct say in the direction of the company; and
- considerable investment into our L&D and Career Development programme.
We can confirm we have now completed all these actions:
- the salary review resulted in the implementation of a company-wide pay rise;
- the structure review was completed quickly and we immediately set about bringing in additional resource to support our hardworking crew members. We’ve added 600 new people to our business since July across the globe;
- our Employee Representative Group elections were completed in August and those ERGs are now meeting, providing insight and input to the senior leadership team;
- we appointed our new Beer Trainer, our new Training Manager for Retail, and our new Head of Learning & Development to support the development of our people;
- we’ve also investing into our mental health provision has been significantly increased, including the appointment of Mental Health Ambassadors, mental health newsletter, among numerous other initiatives; and
- enhanced quarterly career development reviews which will also focus on wellbeing, combined with new career framework guidelines to make it easier to progress and build experience in different teams.
As we have set out before in this section, core to the response was the decision to conduct an independent review into culture. That review is now complete and as part of our continued development, we are pleased to confirm the launch of our Workplace Code [see HERE].
This has been an exhaustive, but hugely valuable exercise, overseen by the Board. The review highlighted that despite the considerable criticism at the time of the open letter, the vast majority of our crew members enjoy working at BrewDog. The review highlighted that we have moved on a long way in terms of how we look after our people and that we now have an outstanding leadership team in place, and a much stronger supportive culture.
But, we also recognise we did not always get things right. The review highlights the need for us to do more to support our people, to provide them with a proper career path and give them the right learning and development opportunities. We need to train the leaders of tomorrow, giving them the skills they need to manage people, and we need to ensure we have the right level of resource in place across the organisation. We fully accept the findings of the review and that in these areas we have not met our crew members’ expectations. We can now set out further initiatives to address these areas, including but certainly not limited to:
Leadership: We have recently appointed a new Head of Learning and Development and we will be introducing leadership and management development training across the business to ensure our leaders are equipped with the skills to lead and motivate their teams. This will expand to up and coming leaders across the business to ensure we are set up for future growth.
Human Resources: Under the guidance of our Group People Director, we are expanding the HR team to ensure that we have a team that is able to support the future growth of our business. We have recently added two key roles: a new Head of L&D and a new Head of HR Operations for the retail estate but we will be going much further and adding new roles to support all areas of the business – we have recently advertised for a HR Business partner for Ellon and a Head of Engagement and Internal comms. These are in addition to our new Beer Trainer and Retail Training Manager.
Career progression: We will be re-introducing structured quarterly career development reviews and these will include a focus on wellbeing. In addition, we are creating a career framework so everyone who works for BrewDog can see how their career can map out if they wish to progress. Alongside more learning opportunities and skills training, we will introduce a skills matrix across departments so people can see how their career can progress throughout the business.
Resource: we are pleased to say the recruitment process has gone well, despite the huge competition for talent. We have added 600 new roles to ease the resource bottlenecks globally.
Investing in Mental Health provision for our Crew
Central to any drive to ensure the culture of our business meets expectations is protecting the mental wellbeing of our people as well. We have already made considerable strides in improving the support we provide to our crew and we will use the review as an opportunity to go even further.
We have appointed a Mental Health Ambassador role dedicated to improving access to support globally. We’ve now gone from zero to 52 qualified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) in the UK and USA, with another cohort including Ireland planned in early 2022. We also now have a plan to build a community for those MHFAs to support one another and continually upskill, and developed collateral in the form of Mental Health First Aider lanyards and signage to ensure everyone knows who their local MHFA is.
We have launched bi-weekly Mental Health newsletters, covering topics such as sleep; nutrition; exercise; managing change; and financial well-being distributed to all staff globally. Other more recent changes include the launch of pronoun badges launched to normalise the conversation around pronouns, giving specific support to non-binary, non-gender conforming and trans crew.
Supporting the mental wellbeing of our crew is absolutely key and these measures, as well as those we are looking to build on next year (including our new 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme, Paws for Thought section on Huddle, the BrewDog skills School and our “Bring your Whole Self to Work initiative), will support that effort and a make sure all our people feel safe and valued.
Finally, we have also launched our Workplace Code for ALL crew members (see HERE). This is the first time we will have a clear set of standards in one place which provides guidance to our crew on the standards that we expect across the business – ensuring our people know that what they are doing is in line with our Mission, Charter and Dogmas. The document sets out our guiding principles as to how we should behave as crew members and will support the development of the culture we want to create.