BrewDog sets out plans for culture review after 'toxic' workplace claims

14 July 2021 by
BrewDog sets out plans for culture review after 'toxic' workplace claims

BrewDog has appointed consultancy firm Wiser to conduct a "full, unbiased review" of the business following allegations of a "toxic" working culture.

It comes after more than 100 former employees signed an open letter last month alleging there was a "culture of fear" within the business. This included people being pressured into working beyond their capacity, with a "significant number" reportedly suffering mental illness as result.

In response to the letter BrewDog chief executive James Watt (pictured above, right) apologised and said the company was "committed to doing better".

In an update on his LinkedIn page, Watt said Wiser's review would include interviews with former employees and current staff, with a view to sharing the findings both internally and externally before the end of the year.

He said it was clear certain areas of the business were "under-resourced" and BrewDog is currently recruiting for 100 new people to ease pressure on the wider team. These include the creation of a beer trainer role, a training manager for retail and a group learning and development manager.

All team members who joined the company before 1 January have received a 3% increase in salary. Other changes include the creation of an employee representative group and an ‘ethics hotline' to allow staff to anonymously report misconduct allegations.

Watt said: "We want to be an employer for which our amazing team are truly proud to work, and we believe the actions we have taken – as well as those we are still working on – will help us meet that objective."

However, trade union Unite claims BrewDog has ignored its attempts to engage over issues raised by members concerning working conditions at the company. Over 4,000 people have signed a petition calling on the brewer to recognise Unite as a "collective voice" for the workforce and engage with the union instead of an external consultant.

The petition states: "We are calling on you as the CEO, COO and major shareholders to stop ignoring these calls to engage with the union which represents so many of your workers.

"Time to drop the gimmicks and expensive consultants and give your workers a real voice."

A BrewDog spokesperson said: "We are totally committed to delivering on our action plan for our people. Feedback on the many actions set out so far has been very positive. This is what we are focused on right now."

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