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Brewdog's transparency dashboard - PR stunt or real change?

This week, the self-styled disruptor of the brewing industry, Brewdog, relaunched what it calls its transparency dashboard. Visible for all to see. The dashboard shows Brewdog’s progress on commitments to the environment and carbon cutting, it also highlights its employee survey score - currently 3.44/5.

The cynical among us may think this latest move is just a PR-shaped plaster designed to cover up the well-publicised criticism the brand has endured in recent times.

However, regardless of your thoughts on the brand itself, it’s certainly an interesting experiment for the HR sector and one which I for one will be watching with interest.

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Making your people’s thoughts tangible at a time of flux

One thing Brewdog must be commended for is putting its people back into focus as a mission-critical part of its business. Attempting to make tangible the feelings of its workforce is clearly a big factor too.

We’re constantly being told we’re living through the Great Resignation. As a result, there’s never been a greater need to understand our people.

Nowhere is this truer than in the tech sector. It has a high attrition rate - standing at 13.2% according to some sources - and an ever-widening skills gap.

I believe that tech, if used properly, allows companies to engage better with their people, while allowing them to make better-informed and more pragmatic decisions on those matters that are most important to their workforce.

We’ve used a number of tech-driven approaches to nurturing our thriving company culture - whether it be with quick-fire satisfaction surveys or via the sophisticated performance review software we use.

One positive by-product of this approach is that we’ve kept our attrition rates extremely low (just 6%) in relation to industry standards.


Beyond data

Although I sound like the archetype evangelist when it comes to the role I see tech playing in HR the fact is - great cultures are not built on tech alone. Tech can only give you the insight needed to act.

Fundamentally you must take action to ignite positive change.

In our own experience, we use our initial digital interactions with people to better inform our personal interactions. In essence, we use the data and insight we gather, to enhance the value and effectiveness of the conversations we have with people in the real world. After all, tech can never replace good old human interaction.

This leads me to wonder whether Brewdog might be better highlighting examples of how it's actively changing their culture with data, rather than just giving us the data itself.

And let’s be honest, you can’t garner much from a single employee satisfaction score anyway.

Staying true to its swashbuckling roots, Brewdog is certainly forging its own path on the transparency issue which is inspiring to see. I’ll certainly be interested in seeing how this experiment plays out and whether other large brands follow suit in the coming months and years. 


Ciji Duncan is chief people officer at xDesign