Expert Topic Employer Offerings to Attract and Retain Great Employees

It is a competitive job market right now, with employees having the chance to find a job that suits them, their lifestyle, and passions. The brewing industry has always been based in passion, but with increased competition, employers need to step up their game to attract and keep great employees.

All About Beer editor and ProBrewer contributor John Holl spoke with Jonathan T. Hyman, an attorney at the Ohio-based Wickens Herzer Panza law firm where he specializes in employment, labor, and craft beer.

“He focuses his practice on management-side labor and employment law, providing businesses proactive solutions to solve their workforce problems and reactive solutions when they find themselves litigating against an employee or group of employees,” according to his official bio. He “is also the founder and practice group leader of the Firm’s Craft Beer practice. In that capacity, he helps brewers, brew pubs and restaurants, and businesses that serve the craft beer industry navigate their specialized business, legal, and regulatory issues. He is also the author of the renowned and award-winning Ohio Employer Law Blog (, an American Bar Association Blawg Hall of Fame inductee), which he updates daily to provide businesses and human resources professionals breaking news and other updates on the ever-changing landscape of labor and employment law.”

John Holl: There’s a lot that employers can do, but let’s start with what they should avoid doing.

Jon Hyman: I think what not to do is to fall into the trap of thinking that money is going to solve all your engagement, retention and hiring problems. Certainly, you have to pay employees a fair wage for a fair day’s work. But I think the trap that some breweries get into is that the brewery down the street is paying $15 an hour, so they are going to offer $17 an hour, and that’s going to get us all the employees they need.

And that’s going to make people happy and keep people but all it does is delay the inevitable when the next brewery down the street goes from $17 to $18. Because if people are going to come to you for money and stay for money, they’re gonna leave when someone else offers more money.

So, I’m not saying don’t pay your employees fairly, you have to pay your employees fairly. But if you think that money is going to be the start and stop of the discussion, you’re going to have a never-ending revolving door of workers, because the only workers you’re going to have are the ones that that are going to chase that paycheck.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your culture, right? Do you treat people fairly and equitably? What kind of programs are you going to offer that are going to help better people as employees?

Are you investing and training and development programs for your employees?

Are you? Do you offer? And do your employees understand what their progression is? Through? You know, through your business? Is there? Is there a clear path of upward progression for them? Are there opportunities for advancement for them within the brewery? And if there are, have those been effectively communicated to your workers?

John Holl: And that’s something that you advocate for early on, right?

Jon Hyman: Absolutely. That that should be discussed as early as the interview process. You should be able to tell them that as they perform there are opportunities for advancement, if that’s what they want.

Tell them that if there is training that we feel you need, or you feel you need to make the leaps in your career that you want to make, let’s have that discussion so we can get you the training, so you can develop the way you want to develop as an employee. The more you invest in an employee, not from a wage standpoint, but from everything else standpoint, you’re creating that stickiness, that’s going to attract the person to come in, and then make it more difficult for that for that person to leave.

John Holl: Respect should also play a big role in growth and retention, right?

Jon Hyman: Different things are going to motivate different employees differently, but you want to make sure that you are rewarding employees and recognizing their achievements. When employees go above and beyond and deserve that recognition, you want to make sure you’re having an open dialogue with your employees.

Oftentimes, when employees leave, sometimes it’s over money, but sometimes it’s over things like, they didn’t feel respected, or I didn’t feel like they had a voice or I didn’t have a say in things. To feel like management was listening to their concerns and they felt that they had to go somewhere else.

Having that open channel of communication with employees, making sure that management’s door is always open. You might not always be able to give them what they want. But sometimes just having that ear they can bend is enough, provided that there are times when you do things, so they understand that the communication is actually meaningful and not just paying them lip service.

To me it’s all about the culture. What kind of employer do you want to be? Are you an employer, that views your views your employees as a fungible asset that’s easily replaced, and if you are, that’s the return you’re gonna get, or you an employer that views your views your employees as an actual asset that’s worth investing in.

You will get a return on that investment by making it easier to recruit and hire employees, because that’s the reputation you’re going to have within your community.

John Holl: A good reputation strikes me as so important, because the word can get around not only just in the brewing community, but in a local community as well, of as to whether or not you’re a good place to work.

Jon Hyman: We all know who the good employers are and who the bad employers are. Good employers recruit and retain good employees because good employees don’t leave good employers.

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