Secret Hopper

Mystery Shopping and Consulting for Craft Beer Businesses

10 Tips to Motivate Your Staff

It's tough to find quality workers, and once you do, it’s even tougher to find brewery staff as passionate as you are. However, if you are able to make strong hires and build a positive company culture, you are well on your way to building an army of advocates for your brand. Here are 10 strategies you can use to motivate your brewery staff to get them on your level, create a more enjoyable workplace, and to ultimately make your business even more successful.

 1.       Offer rewards. This is the most obvious answer to begin our list with. Simply reward your staff for doing a good job. This can be anything from a cash prize to a few extra low fills to take home to a gift card for a delicious local restaurant. Something tangible to say “thank you” has lasting value. Granted the “you’re doing a great job” remark is something that should always be said, people like presents.

2.       Offer recognition. It never hurts to also publicly recognize your staff with a “super, awesome brewery employee of the month” plaque or simply a shout out at a weekly meeting. Certificate maybe? People like to be told in front of others that they are doing a great job. A little positive reinforcement and recognition goes a long way.

3.       Hold contests. While this is a variation of offering a reward, put specific metrics behind it. I love seeing breweries hold monthly to go beer contests. Give a prize to the staff member that is able to encourage the most guests to purchase a crowler, growler, can, or bottle. Most POS systems will help you monitor this. It’s important with regard to contests that you are able to measure the byproduct of your staffs’ efforts. Many of the breweries we work with via Secret Hopper recognize the staff member with the highest score on our mystery shop reports. Holding a contest for the staff member with the highest per head (total sales/number of customers) is also a winner. Mix up these contests to put focus on various areas across your brewery that need attention.

4.       To go beer. This piggybacks off the prior idea. When a staff member doesn’t ask a guest if they’d like to purchase beer to go, a guest only makes the purchase 9 percent of the time. However, when they do ask, a guest makes a to go purchase nearly 50 percent of the time. When a staff member is able to encourage a guest to take some beer home, that increases the guest’s tab, and guess what? Most guests will tip on the entire tab, rather than just the portion consumed at your brewery. Selling more to go beer increases tabs, increases tips, and helps get your brewery’s beer outside of your four ways. Money motivates.

5.       Share your passion. Running a business is about putting your heart, soul, and every waking breath into what you do. This is contagious. Don’t just hire staff to pour beer. Hire staff to be the first line of brand advocates for your company. Share your story so that they can share it with their guests. Get them excited about coming to work. We work with beer. While yes, it is a job, it’s one of the most exciting industries to work in. Your staff should have pride in your brewery and craft beer as a whole.

6.       You can be extremely passionate and hope it rubs off on your staff, but unless you can pair that energy with an enjoyable workplace, then it’s all for naught. Hire staff that enjoys working together and give them a taproom that makes them proud to call home. This could be through the overall vibe, from the unique artwork you display, to the amount of time and energy you dedicate to maintaining this high quality environment. No one likes working in a dungeon, no matter how passionate you are about it (okay, maybe a few people do, and maybe a few breweries aim for that unique dungeon vibe, but we recommend a workplace that unashamedly facilitates positive energy). Additionally, a sense of team spirit keeps the motivation constant to be the best brewery you can be.

7.       The combination of contagious passion and a brewery your employees love to work at will make them happier. Companies with happier employees see less turnover (making your job easier!). Moreover, happier employees radiate happiness to your guests. This sunshiny-ness about your liquid goodness and brewery results in your staff engaging more with those that come in for a pint. When a staff member enhances a guest’s experience, that guest spends 20 percent more. This takes us back to tipping, which the staff will now see more of as a result. Additionally, when a guest receives low engagement on their first visit to a brewery, they are only 37 percent likely to return/recommend. However, when they receive high engagement, as a result of this wonderful environment full of passion you’ve created, a guest is 98 percent likely to return/recommend your brewery. More passion leads to more engagement which leads to more money being spent, more guests walking through your doors, and a team that has organically become a better, tighter knit business.

8.       Give your staff room to grow. Most people don’t join your brewery with the goal to pour pints for 50 years. With a young industry, comes a large host of opportunities. Craft beer currently holds approximately 13 percent of total beer by volume market share in the United States. Dare your staff to brainstorm new strategies to help your brewery sell more beer and grow. The potential from growth within your company is a great motivator.

9.       While you may be the creative force behind your brewery, very few companies are single person operations. I imagine you have a team of managers, depending on the size of your operation, that contributes daily. Taproom staff deserve to motivated and rewarded, as do your management. Offer these leaders incentives based on performance. Give your taproom manager a nice bonus for increasing monthly sales by X percent. Reward your event planner for hosting an event that brought in twice the crowd as last year. Gift your marketing guy or girl something awesome for creating a killer Facebook promotion that went viral and brought a ton of positive press to your business. Just because they may be paid more than your bartenders doesn’t mean you can’t offer further opportunity for extra compensation.

10.   Employee Stock Ownership Plans. We see these popping up more and more in the world of craft beer. When you make employees stakeholders in the brewery, they have more accountability and investment in your company. One person can navigate the ship, but when you have a whole army of advocates behind you, the journey goes much smoother. Having a company consisting of engaged employees just as passionate as the Founder(s) can positively affect everything from the atmosphere in the taproom to your bottom line.

We would love to offer any brewery that reaches out after reading this article one free Secret Hop*. Please email to schedule. Cheers!

*1 free visit per brewery per calendar year