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Keeping Your Brewery Staff Happy: It’s More Than Pizza Parties and Low Fills

Written By Andrew Coplon (Craft Beer Professionals) and Michael Varda (Craft Beer Advisory Services)

The answer to what makes your team happy right now vs in the future have wildly different responses.

From the 2022 Employee Satisfaction Report, published by Craft Beer Professionals and Craft Beer Advisory Services, we asked industry professionals what factors are currently contributing to their happiness and what are the factors contributing to their future happiness.

The top 3 factors impacting current happiness are: 

  1. Coworkers
  2. Welcoming environment
  3. Collaborative environment

Across constant conversations with Craft Beer Professionals, it is the sense of industry-wide collaboration that many list as one of their favorite aspects of craft beer. It is no surprise that the top factors for current happiness relate to culture. However, while these factors are drivers of current happiness, they are not the ingredients contributing to future happiness. 

The top 3 factors impacting future happiness are: 

  1. Base pay raise
  2. Growth opportunities
  3. Increased benefits

As an industry, we need to be thinking long term, not simply right now. While creating a positive company culture is a driving factor of current happiness, it is more so a must if you want your team members to consider spending their career with you. 

It’s about more than pizza parties and low fills. 

Brewery owners and managers should not just be focused on current happiness, but how long term retention strategies. Culture doesn’t pay the bills. Brewery team members should always feel like they have room for growth and the ability to achieve their personal goals. 

While it may initially be “romantic” to work in a taproom, most employees aren’t simply signing on for an average hourly plus tips and stereotypical brewery perks. These are the right now benefits that get someone initially excited. How will you transform this early momentum into future dedication? Money talks.

The number 1 factor in future happiness is base pay raises. This applies to everyone on a brewery team, from taproom staff to brewers. Reward brewery staff for their performance and dedication. Second, give them the opportunity to become both stronger employees, through professional development, and the ability to excel with your company. No one likes to feel stuck. Feelings of frustration and complacency can lead to team members’ reduced performance and ultimately they may start looking for a new job. The better trained your team members are, the more valuable they are to your brewery. Providing your team these opportunities is also an opportunity to retain talent. 

Fair compensation is a must for future happiness. Providing brewery staff with a strong benefits package could be easily considered icing on the cake, but in reality it should be part of a brewery’s strategy for success.

Despite the job market’s slowing growth as of early summer 2022, it remains an applicant’s market. Companies are competing fiercely for top talent with perks well beyond pay. The pandemic brought to light several issues with the old “normal,” and many people have since adjusted to spending more time with their families and less on a commute. In an industry requiring an in-person presence for most roles, breweries need to find innovative ways to attract, nurture, and retain employees.

You can download the 2022 Employee Satisfaction Report here and watch the presentation here.