BrewDog introduces workplace code following review into 'toxic' culture claims

21 December 2021 by
BrewDog introduces workplace code following review into 'toxic' culture claims

BrewDog has launched a workplace code following the completion of a review into claims of a "toxic" culture within the business.

The brewer appointed consultancy firm Wiser to conduct a "full, unbiased review" in July after more than 100 former employees signed an open letter 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.

BrewDog has said the review found that despite the criticism the "vast majority" of its employees enjoyed working at the company.

It did recognise that it "did not always get things right", and said 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".

In a message to staff, BrewDog's chair and deputy chair, Allan Leighton and Blythe Jack, said: "Having read the review, we don't subscribe to the characterisation of the company set out in the open letter and we know from having spoken to numerous crew members, neither do many of you. But it is also clear that BrewDog has made mistakes and the key now is to learn from them, address them and be better.

"Our people are our most important asset – we know most companies say that, but it's absolutely true at BrewDog, so it's vital we reciprocate your hard work, diligence and passion by doing all we can as a business to look after you and provide you with a working environment in which you can thrive."

In a LinkedIn post co-founder and chief executive James Watt added: "I fully accept the findings of the review and that in these areas we have not met our crew members' expectations. I take personal responsibility for this as CEO. I have often said how I am still learning in this role – when we set BrewDog up we could never have imagined how quickly we would grow and before BrewDog I was working on a fishing boat. I accept I haven't always looked after our people as well as I should have done. It's been the most important lesson I have learned in my career thus far."

In response it has appointed a head of learning and development and introduced a management training structure. Investment has also been made in mental health provision, including the appointment of mental health ambassadors, and an independently run hotline has been created for staff to report concerns.

Structured career development reviews have been reintroduced, including a focus on wellbeing, alongside a 3% pay rise.

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