New Belgium, America’s third-largest craft brewer, has always had a strong employee ownership program at the center of their corporate culture. It’s a great way to engender loyalty from the employees and to give them an actual stake in the success of the enterprise.
Up until December 28th of last year, the employees owned 41% of the company, but that number has recently risen to 100%, New Belgium announced at their company-wide winter retreat yesterday.
Now that the employees are running the show, it’s time to make a few long-overdue changes. I strongly suggest that they institute the following additions to the New Belgium Policies & Procedures Manual:
– Birthday Parties: All birthday parties and other employee celebrations will continue to be held in the downstairs break room, but new behavioral guidelines will be implemented. Moving forward, the employee being celebrated is encouraged to “party ’til you puke” and/or pass out, preferably face down into a festive baked good. As we are a socially responsible company, all employees can take advantage of our Safe Ride Home program, and are also free to use the stomach pump we’ve installed next to the microwave. Please note that these new rules apply to everyone except Karl in shipping, as consuming alcohol is considered a violation of his parole.
– Mandatory Facial Hair: It is widely known that all beer geeks and brewers worth their salt have interesting facial hair. It’s a sign that you’re part of the pack, one of the gang, a member of the beer-crazy tribe. From this moment forward, all New Belgium employees must cover at least 34% of their lower face with well-sculpted beards, goatees, moostaches, etc. This includes all female employees, who may use facial wigs and/or glue if necessary. While it may seem awkward at first to be a “bearded lady,” imagine the pride you’ll feel when, with just a single glance, someone will know you’re a brewery owner.
– Homebrewing on Weekends: As we’re now 100% employee owned, there’s not a chance in hell that we’re working weekends. As such, the brewing and bottling equipment is available for personal use by employees on a first come, first served basis. The sign up sheet is outside of the Brew Master cubicle. PLEASE NOTE that the forklifts and the giant cellophane palate wrapping machine are off limits, and no horesplay, fork-offs, or wrap-a-bitch will be tolerated. This means you, Karl!
– Home Taps: Business owners don’t leave their worries at the office – they take their work home with them. As stakeholders in the company, New Belgium employees should always be thinking about the brewery’s products, probing them for nuances or defects. As you can only drink so much delicious craft beer at work, we encourage all New Belgium employees to participate in the Home Tap Program, in which we will pipe interesting and tasty beers directly to your kitchen faucet (or shower if you’d like to participate in the Body by Beer Program as well). Please note that participation in either program will cause your insurance plan’s liver deductible to increase by 350%.
– Pants-Optional Fridays: As our brewery is a fairly casual working environment, many of our workers have complained that they’re missing out on the “casual Fridays” that employees of other businesses enjoy. In the spirit of equality, New Belgium is instituting Pants-Optional Fridays, in which employees can go pants-free for the entirety of their work day. We strongly urge employees to wear clean undergarments if they choose to participate, and remember that the no-banana-hammock policy is still in effect (remember you’re on “strike two” in this regard, Karl). Please note that getting to and from the office without being arrested/flashed/groped or otherwise sexually harassed is solely the employee’s responsibility.
These are but a few suggestions of how the employees at New Belgium can flex their new muscles as owners of the company.
What additions would YOU make to the Company Policies & Procedures Manual? As always, let us know below!