How do you know when your workers really love their jobs? Of course, not all will, and plenty will leave over time no matter how great a working environment, but how do you know when workers really enjoy working for you?
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Hallertau Brewery, just north of Auckland, New Zealand, on a Saturday night. It is in New Zealand wine country, a rural area, so they close at 10:00pm on a Saturday night. I, of course, did not realize how early they close, and arrived but a few minutes before closing. Nonetheless, the wonderful bartender/waitress graciously, and with true New Zealand friendliness, agreed to serve us at the counter. We had their “tasting paddle” of 5 beers, as well as a sampler of their apple cider (excellent!).
Since we were there pretty much at closing, we saw the many workers, mostly young, performing their end of day jobs: cleaning the counters, sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning the beer taps, putting away dishes, tallying up the register, etc.
What we also saw, which surprised me, was a large group of workers and managers sitting together at one of the tables, having beers and snacks together, chatting and laughing.
Of course, anyone who works in a brewery is likely to enjoy good beer, especially after a long day of work, so that part isn’t surprising. I observed them closely for a while, and I found the following quite interesting:
- Managers and workers all sat together in obvious ease and comfort.
- Some people still were working, while others were relaxing, without the slightest signs of resentment among the workers.
- When last lingerers (including us) required some service, the past-shift workers at the table rose with good-will and a smile and managed it, then returned to their peers.
- They stayed to drink at their work place. A drink after work is a custom in many places, especially Britain, but a drink after work at work is not quite so common, especially in service industries.
I am certain that not all employees at the Brewery are happy, some probably want to earn more or do something different, and no one is happy with their job 100% of the time. But a team that hangs together after work, together with their bosses, in complete ease, at the work place, while some finish work without resentment, and even the off shift happily rise to assist, is a happy team indeed.