​Best Practices to Keep Your Staff Informed​

A team that communicates is a team that can succeed and finding the best way to stay in touch even during pandemic-like conditions is paramount.

“With varying schedules, it is very difficult to have all-staff meetings,” admitted Jason Bell of Living The Dream Brewing.

The Littleton, Colorado brewery uses its communication component in its time clock system as a way to make sure everyone on staff is getting all the messages.

“When wisely used, [it] has been very effective,” Bell said.

Stoup Brewing uses a variety of tools for daily communication, including email, text, the Slack app along with a daily task list.

“We have a schedule with the weekly brewery schedule accessible to all brewery employees. It’s a working document so that we can adjust in real-time,” explained co-owner Robyn Schumacher.

Every week, they will put out an email to all staff outlining the upcoming week. It includes upcoming beers and events, celebrations of staff birthdays, anniversaries, and successes. It also has a weekly safety topic, taproom, and brewery-specific information, and an employee handbook highlight topic. Schumacher said that the email includes information from owners, managers, and employees so it doesn’t just come from the top down. They also started a collaborative group that meets twice a month to exchange ideas and brainstorm upcoming brewery projects.

“There is a sense of safety in knowing that your manager is competent, takes responsibility for their leadership role, and shows strong integrity,” she said. “At our brewery, we make it clear through words and actions that we value our employees.”

As an owner, Schumacher said they work with the managers directly to make sure that they are consistent in both discipline and praise with all employees.

“If an employee is excited about their work and shows initiative, we try to reward that with more expanded roles and opportunities,” she said. “We’re not perfect, we’re learning every day, but when it comes to our employees, we believe in empathy, kindness, and structure.”

Bell, who is the owner and Brewmaster for Living the Dream, added he also makes an effort to talk to everyone working each day to keep the communications flowing.

“I would say the two most important things are consistency and clear communication,” he said. “Don’t play favorites or single people out. Everyone has important contributions to make. Be clear on what the standards are and don’t forget to celebrate the wins.”

For a larger operation, Zach Borba — AleSmith’s General Manager of Retail Operations — has met once a week with his management teams for years now.

“We sit down, most of the time over a beer, and talk about all things business related,” he said. “This meeting is their uninterrupted time to share their ideas and concerns with me, not necessarily the other way around. This is where we really come together as a team and push the business forward.”

Borba said his job is to get everyone excited for the overall direction the business is heading and then empower and encourage them to go out and make it happen.

“This is where I can catch up on my team on a personal level as well,” he said. “Check in on their families and significant others which is extremely important to me.”

Photo courtesy Stoup Brewing

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