One organisation's journey scaling through the height of COVID
It all started in a garage as a hobby but winning a homebrew competition led to Andrew Childs quitting his day job and incorporating a company to peddle his award-winning craft beer.
The product quickly gathered a cult following among kiwi beer lovers and during a capital raise round in 2020, the company gathered $1.8 million dollars in 20 minutes, enough to make the move from being contract brewers to having their own brewery and hospitality venue. That meant the company’s workforce would grow from eight to fifty in three short months.
What co-chief executives Hannah Miller Childs and Andrew Childs learned from that experience was that scaling a business at speed takes more than having a sound business strategy and generous financial backing.
“We were thinking about the business strategy, but we didn’t think about the people part of the strategy until they were already here, so we had to very quickly incorporate that,” said Hannah Miller-Childs, co-chief executive of Behemoth Brewing.
With little work around company policy or values the pair went about staffing the new venue and brewery. “Initially when we did it, we just kind of did it; we needed the people, there wasn’t much planning, it just sort of happened,” said Miller-Childs.
“And then a bit further down the line we realised it was out of control, we needed more things in place to support us to manage this many people, so we had to go back and do the planning,” she continued.
Within no time the company had established its core company values and mantra goals as well as writing a whole collection of policies.
HR technology changed our life
“Honestly, it changed our life,” said Miller-Childs. “Like all new things it took a little bit to set up but now that it’s in place you just know things like, it’s performance review time, it’s annual review time, everyone gets a gift on their birthday, and we don’t have to think about it anymore.”
Through the height of COVID, a time when most hospitality operators were weighing up the future of their business, the pair built a brewery and opened two new venues, which raised the company’s revenue by 127%.
“We had 1000 people who put money into us for the purpose of expanding and so for us it was, we owe it to them, and we need to remain true to our word, and that kind of kept us pushing forward.”
Now plans for future growth mean the company is preparing to become a large-scale organisation, something that Miller-Childs said she feels more confident doing now they have HR technology in place.
Future growth confidence
“We’re opening two more hospitality venues this year so that’s going to be an increase of 20-30 more staff. It definitely gives me a lot more confidence to know there’s a process for onboarding, there’s a process for offboarding, there’s a process to make sure everybody gets paid, and their tax code is correct.”
The only thing the pair have to worry about ahead of opening their new venues this year is a creepy trend that started during Covid.
“The two venues we have opened have had lockdowns three weeks after opening so we’re sort of like, oh dear, I hope this isn’t our thing,” laughed Miller-Childs.