What You Can Learn from Two Breweries about Company Culture
Few industries could be legitimately called recession-proof, but the beer industry is in a class all its own. Craft beer, with its curious combination of artisanal character and entrepreneurial drive, has been thriving. The people who run these charming outposts in the larger world of beer must wear many hats. They are CEOs and marketers at the same time as being delivery drivers and bottle washers. Such small businesses have a lot of wisdom to impart. Take a peek inside two breweries for company culture insights any organization could employ.
Fermenting the Plans
Workforce planning is never a bigger challenge than when most variables remain unknown. Will you get your foot in the door of the big boys’ market If you make it, will you be able to meet demand
To account for the unpredictable nature of situations such as these, it’s smart to create several workforce plans to keep all your eggs from being in one proverbial basket. You could label one ïPlan Aï and the other ïPlan A+,ï in case business goes even better than anticipated.
Brewing a Strong Company Culture in Port City
Alexandria, VA-based Port City Brewing is the first of two breweries using company culture smarts to face labor challenges head-on. Bill Butcher, founder of Port City, is a guy who gets how important thoughtful workforce planning is to the success of his fledgling business.
ïI spent three years putting this project together,ï says Butcher, reflecting upon the long road of preparation he’s already walked, with so much left to go. Butcher knew he needed to find an ace brewer to make his dream come true.
As someone just starting out, Butcher didn’t have a talent pipeline ready to fill the all-important position of brew master. Butcher posted a job opening and took a methodical, deliberate approach, sorting through 150 resumes and conducting interviews with over 20 prospects.
ïI don’t rush into personnel decisions because people are so important. I don’t take the decision to hire lightly. I do take my time in hiring people.ï
Butcher wanted to ensure new hires would complement his company culture, ïand that [he had] found the very best skills and talent [he could] find.ï
Tapping the Talent Pipeline
The second of the exemplary two breweries with company culture smarts to share is Ska Brewing Company in Durango, CO. Its co-owner and co-founder, Bill Graham, is an old hat, in brewery terms. He and his co-founders have been brewing beer since 1996, well before home brews became trendy.
Graham tackled workforce planning with the tried and true recruitment tactics that all businesses useïcompetitive salary, a retirement package and health insurance. However, when pressed further, Graham revealed a surprise secret ingredient to his successful company cultureïbeer.
ïWhat makes beer unique, is that it is fun. Our product makes people happy, and therefore we feel that should translate to our people here at the brewery as well,ï Graham said.
Ska Brewing Company also takes advantage of its coveted location.
ïWe are in the mountains of sunny Colorado,ï said Graham. ïSo that means our top managers are given ski passes and we have a lottery for a few other passes for the rest of the staff.ï
Add an employee wellness program that comes with health insurance, a corporate sports club membership, one hour of instructed yoga at the brewery for $5.00 and a weekly road-bike ride.
Port City lists beer as an employee benefit, too. Workers have access to an employee tap at the company tasting room, and a tab to which they can charge a few pints.
Butcher is also working with his team to give back to the community.
He explains, ïLast week, we launched Project Shamrock. Our team came together and designed a float for the local St. Patrick’s Day parade. The human six pack. A big five-foot tall, wooden six-pack rolled down the streets of Alexandria, with six of our employees in tow.ï
Two Breweries Two Company Culture Approaches
Port City and Ska have owners who recognize that the most important elements of company culture are the people. Port City took time to do a careful search to find the right fit. Ska took advantage of tailored benefits that exemplified their company culture, helping to attract the right people. As long as you focus on matching people to your culture, you should naturally make the right choices.
Now that you’ve seen how these two breweries approached company culture, access Mighty Recruiter’s vast resources library to learn even more about HR best practices.