Brown Family Wine Group (BFWG) has been certified as a Great Place To Work again this year, with more than 220 employees completing the survey, making for a 79 per cent engagement result.
Of those who completed the survey, 87 per cent agreed with the statement: “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work.”
CEO Dean Carroll suggests that BFWG employees’ sense of belonging and pride stems from the sense of family intrinsic to the culture of the business.
He says, “As a family business, we are a team of people who rely on each other and work together to achieve our goals and all of us love to feel that the time you spend at work can not only be rewarding and challenging but also enjoyable.”
Survey feedback showed that BFWG employees felt welcomed when they joined the business and are proud to say they work for the business. They also felt strongly aligned to the values of the company and are proud of what they produce.
Sarah Thomas, Head of HR and Risk & Sustainability, says, “As a family business, we are extremely proud of our heritage and the culture that we have created. When you join our business you really are part of the family and this resonates with our employees.
“Our values of wellbeing, respect, innovation, and pride in what we achieve together, alongside our clear strategic goals allow all of our employees to be the best they can be.”
Ms Thomas joined the business a little over 18 months ago – her first venture into the wine industry - and she identifies with that sense of ‘being welcomed into a family’.
She says, “The teamwork and collaboration are so evident across the business and nothing is too difficult to work through. I love the diversity of locations and departments BFWG offers.”
The head office is in Milawa, home to the Winery, Operations, Administration functions such as Finance, IT, Human Resources as well as the Brown Brothers Restaurant and Cellar Door, and then the Innocent Bystander Cellar Door and Restaurant in Healesville. There are vineyards across Victoria in Banksdale, Heathcote and Mystic Park as well as a winery and vineyard in Kayena Tasmania and Devil’s Corner Cellar Door and Vineyard also based in Tasmania.
“You can join our business in one role and have the opportunity to work across multiple different areas or locations either on a secondment or more permanent basis. I’m proud to tell others I work for Brown Family Wine Group and would recommend it to anyone,” she says.
Like all businesses, the uncertainty of the past 12 months has had an impact. The Victorian cellar doors, Brown Brothers and Innocent Bystander, faced multiple closures during the year, the field sales team were anchored at home at various times, office teams worked flexibly, and regionally based winery and operations teams continued to operate through vintage with COVID restrictions in place.
However, despite the disruption, BFWG’s head office observed that employees pulled together and supported each other to “remain motivated, engaged and focused on delivering our Strategic Plans and Goals”.
The engagement survey has also identified opportunities for growth which are being presented to departments for review and action.
Mr Carroll said: “The use of external benchmarking helps us to understand our progress so we can continually improve, but it’s also great external recognition and endorsement for potential candidates when recruiting people is becoming more difficult – particularly in regional areas and roles.”
BFWG was first certified as a Great Place to Work in 2019 and Senior Winemaker Cate Looney was named Australian Winemaker of the Year by Australian Women In Wine in 2020.