Tags – BrewDog Work Culture

It recently came to light, in an open letter on Twitter that BrewDog, a craft beer company, promotes a workplace culture of fear and is built on a “cult of personality”.

The former employees have claimed the company does not live up the values it constantly promotes online and that “being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at BrewDog.”

Whilst the BrewDog situation is a unique one, this letter reiterates how important both employee wellbeing and company culture actually is.

Regardless of which industry your business operates in, employers have a responsibility to create a positive working environment where employees are not operating in fear.

Afterall, people are your company’s biggest asset and a toxic work culture categorically will not retain the best talent.

HR teams must take the time to invest into employees to understand their needs, make them feel valued and allow their voices to be heard, which will enable them to work to their fullest potential.

Here are 4 ways to avoid a toxic work culture.


1. Good Leadership

At the end of the day, your talent is your business and your employees don’t affect the company culture, they are the company culture.

Your leadership style can have a huge impact on how your employees feel at work, and they feel unhappy and are disengaged, not only will it create a negative environment, but it affects productivity and impacts your bottom line overall.

As such, before you think about your customers, your employees are who you should be concerned about first and foremost.

As a leader, you should communicate and live by your company’s values and avoid a “them and us” mindset; if people feel dominated they are less likely to thrive.

To put simply, promote the values you want by putting them into practice yourself, (don’t just tell them), which will result in a culture of teamwork and equality and thus better retention and improved productivity.


2. Clear Communication

Having a clear communication culture can be defined by how employees not only communicate with each other, but with managers in their teams too.

Ultimately, adopting clear communication as a leader is the foundation to building a healthy working environment.

Simply making little changes such as walking around the office and having regular conversations will promote a positive culture of sharing and engaging.

At the same time, this should not be a “tick box” exercise and you should try to genuinely connect with your employees.

Keep in mind not to use complicated language and clearly say what you want to say, which will allow employees to do the same.

As a result, employees will feel satisfied that their leaders are listening to their ideas or complaints, without fear of dismissal, and ensure everyone is on the same page to work towards a common goal.

On the other hand, communication works both ways, so really listen to what your employees are telling you and allow them to have a voice too.


3. Transparency and Openness

The problem with some businesses (and in BrewDog’s case) is many people don’t speak up because the workplace is in existence of fear which is holding them back.

Of course, as a leader some boundaries are important, but it always pays off to encourage your employees to approach you if they have any concerns.

So by creating an open and transparent environment, you may find that your staff actually have good ideas to contribute but they were afraid of being criticised.

By doing so, you’ll be adopting a collaborative work culture and an environment where employees are happy, engaged and motivated in their roles and thus avoid a toxic culture.


4. Don’t Over Push Performance

As a leader you should never put business growth over your people.

Sure, setting deadlines are important but to keep employees engaged along the way is the key difference between being left deflated or motivated for more.

Consequently, too much emphasis on and over-pushing performance can quickly lead to employee burnout because of the pressure placed upon them.

To avoid this from happening, set realistic objectives and ensure expectations are clearly communicated and understood on both sides.

In addition, offer support and ongoing training for those who feel stressed with their workload and ensure they have the correct resources to get the job done.

By all means try to help employees step out of their comfort zone to reach maximum potential, but support them in achieving this vision and offer positive feedback to keep motivation levels high.


Concluding Thoughts

Now more than ever is the time to take action.

Take BrewDog’s saga as an opportunity to assess and reset your company’s environment by reviewing your values, beliefs and attitudes towards your employees.

All in all, if they feel valued and cared for you’ll find better levels of engagement and productivity and therefore better business outcomes in the long run.

Please get in touch for more information.

In the meantime, check out our HR Consultancy Huddersfield services.

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