Onboarding Your Brewery Culture to New Employees

No matter what your company values most in an employee, making sure they are open to the concepts and accepting of being a part of the team in that way is important. Be it trust, great service, kindness, being the best, or more, finding employees that share that value and imparting it early on is vital to building a strong brewery culture.

Living the Dream has always been about our people,” said founder Jason Bell. “We have been incredibly fortunate to have fantastic members on our team. Our culture has always been to make them as much a part of who we are as possible.

“Over time we have found talents on our team which have directly translated in countless ways fueling our success.”

Bell believes finding the right person and training them into the culture are both equally important, but it definitely has to be a part of the hiring process.

“We can teach about beer and brewing, but our team has to be embracing our culture, and never tire of learning,” he said. “They want to be a valuable part of the team. That comes from within.”

In the Interview

Smog City sees interviews as not only a chance for the company to get to know a potential new hire but also for them to learn about the brewery and its culture.

“We can make sure it’s the right fit on both sides,” said Brand ​& Retail Director, After Lee. “We talk a lot about our company culture in our interviews and really hammer home the idea of respect, learning, and growing. We look for the right culture first in new hires and skills second.

“Sure, we love a new hire that comes with experience, but we can always teach the hard skills. Having the right attitude, willingness to grow, confidence to speak up and share ideas, and operate out of respect at all times can’t be taught. We’re quite picky with who we hire, ensuring someone is truly the right culture fit, and it’s worked out really well for us.

The ultimate goal in hiring new team members at Hill Farmstead is to invite like-minded individuals to join the organization who share our values and cultural outlook — all while broadening and deepening the Vermont brewery’s experiential tapestry — and to improve and advance all parts of the organization.

“An essential part of the onboarding process, though, includes sharing and imparting our agreed-upon goals, values, and mission to reinforce and support each person’s self-cultivation and integration into the team,” the executive team told Brewer in an email.

Since its inception, the brewery’s culture has been intrinsically tied to the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the organization.

“Buttressed by the deep respect for local history and the legacy of brewing, we maintain humble respect and admiration for the past while working daily for a better future that nurtures ourselves, our community, and the world at large,” they said.

The brewery’s mission has its roots in the initial business plan, written by founder Shaun Hill in 2008; the development and refinement of a fully envisioned cultural narrative began in earnest during the summer of 2020.

“As a much smaller, close-knit team, we began the formal articulation of our vision, mission, core values, and goals as a company and individuals upon return from our 2021 winter sabbatical in March 2021,” they said. “The evolution of our culture continues each day as a living organism made possible only by the hard work and faith within each team member, rooted strongly in the tenets of the ideal team player and springing forth from deep care, emotional intelligence, and humility.”

After the Hire

WeldWerks is big on creating space for one-on-one time after hiring a new employee.

“We spend a lot of time with new hires making sure they get personal attention from leadership and make sure that they get to spend time with all the other teams,” explained Kristin Popcheff, Director of Operations. “That’s in their first few weeks, they have ample time to adjust and get a feel for who we are.”

WeldWerks will incorporate a lot of lunches and beer chats to make time and connect with teammates as people, and not just co-workers.

“We do believe that finding the right culture fit is immensely important but that manifests itself in many ways,” Popcheff said. “We just look for authentic people who are excited about what we do and what we believe in.”

Although it does start at the hiring process where LUKI Brewery will look for the energy levels and experience, it’s really in the short-term training and experience for a new employee that’s key, said co-founder Jeff Smith.

“We’re very open about our family story and we make sure employees can repeat the highlights,” he said. “We regularly share our planning with all employees, and monthly we even share financial data. There’s no secrets.”

Smith added that the owners strive to set the tone for a work ethic.

“Super busy and it was unexpected? We have no problem jumping in and busing tables, cleaning, being a barback, and such,” he said. “It’s an ethic of supporting each other and not necessarily worrying about who’s getting what, or what’s the bottom line. Focus on the details and the bottom line generally takes care of itself.”

Photo courtesy Hill Farmstead Brewery

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