Brewdog confirms review of culture - following allegations from ex-staff

The co-founder of BrewDog has detailed how the company is handling the recent allegations, which came from former employees.

Published 13th Jul 2021
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

In June an open letter from former staff emerged accusing the BrewDog company environment of being “toxic” and detrimental to their mental health.

Co-founder James Watt apologised after the letter, which came from 61 former employees - and at least 45 others who remain anonymous, was posted online.

The letter was posted on Twitter by account Punks With Purpose, and a paragraph towards the end of it was directed to co-founder James Watt and said: “It is with you that the responsibility for this rotten culture lies.

"Your attitude and actions are at the heart of the way BrewDog is perceived, from both inside and out.

"By valuing growth, speed and action above all else, your company has achieved incredible things, but at the expense of those who delivered your dreams.”

Mr Watt has now detailed what the company is doing in response to these allegations, in a post on LinkedIn.

The lengthy post explains the steps that BrewDog is taking, which include an independent review, an anonymous staff survey, a structure review, exit interviews, salary reviews, an ethics hotline and career development and training.

With regards to the independent review, this will be conducted by Wiser. James wrote: We have appointed Wiser to conduct a full, unbiased review of culture within BrewDog. Wiser are one of the leading culture consultancies globally.

"They have a wealth of experience working on employee research projects for Nike, ASOS, the BBC, Pret, and many more, where their experienced team immerse themselves in a company to listen and learn about the things that matter."

An anonymous staff survey was sent out on 29 June, and this is being conducted by Opinyin.

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In the post James confirmed that 'the findings will be fed into the Independent Review process and communicated as part of it.'

An employee representative group will be set up, with James writing that:"We have committed to creating an Employee Representative Group to ensure that our crew have a clear voice and connection to the decisions we take as a business. All representatives will be elected, so every crew member will play a crucial part in this initiative."

He added: "We have appointed NAVEX Global to manage a new Ethics Hotline and this has now been launched internally.

"This line will enable any employee in any country to report in absolute confidence any allegation of misconduct. It will help ensure that any issues are dealt with in a systematic, transparent way."

The update ends with Mr Watt thanking the team and saying: "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.

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"Our priorities now are to listen, to learn, and to take the actions required to address the issues that have been raised. We are far from the finished article and are still learning as we go. We will continue to keep you updated as we deliver on the actions we set out in June."

Read the post in full here.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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