An Update on Some of the Recent Changes at Modern Times

Modern Times has recently started down a new path towards a safer, more inclusive work environment for its employee-owners. We feel that it's important to maintain the maximum level of transparency regarding these changes not just with the MT team, but with our supporters and community alike. While we’ve just begun to make the first moves towards reaching the goals we’ve collectively set for our company, we wanted to give everyone an update on how it’s going so far. 
 
Updated Reporting & Investigations Process
We are approximately one week away from externalizing and anonymizing reporting through the STOPit Solutions platform. This new system covers everything from safety concerns to harassment complaints. We have built a custom reporting form that all employees will have access to via an app. A key part of the submission process is the option to have the report investigated exclusively by a third-party investigator, from day-one. This means that the report will be submitted directly to the team at the Van Dermyden Makus Investigations Law Firm.
 
Pay Equity Audit
Over the past couple of weeks, several of our departments worked together to collect and upload accurate, updated information into our HR database in order to submit our payroll ledger and employment details to the team at OutSolve. This was the first necessary step in beginning a pay equity audit, which will specifically identify pay equity discrepancies based on gender and/or race and ethnicity. These discrepancies will be the main focus of compensation adjustments in the company in the immediate future; a priority that will remain number one--above and beyond any other budgetary item--until the discrepancies are rectified. As of now, OutSolve has received our information, is currently running their analysis, and will be sending follow-up requests through the audit process.
 
Training for our Employees
Different cross-sections of the Modern Times team have completed mandatory bystander, de-escalation, and/or street harassment training through Hollaback. The response to these courses has been extremely positive; a good portion of our staff has expressed a desire for more practically-oriented trainings like these in the future. We are slated to connect with the Hollaback team in September to discuss developing and sharing custom training for our teams. We have also held our first (one of at least four) anti-oppression and anti-racism training with the team at Engage to Change. The first two sessions focus on our people managers; building their skill sets to manage toward a safer and more inclusive workplace. While this work is not specifically geared towards addressing misogyny and sexism, many of the lessons and goals of the program lend themselves to this work.
 
Codes of Conduct for League Members and Guests
We are on the verge of releasing codes of conduct for all patrons, which will be posted at entrances to all properties. These will be explicit in communicating our expectations for beer club members and guests as it pertains to their interactions with our public-facing team members. We’re empowering employee-owners to address issues in the moment, with the full authority and support of the company to remove guests who are in violation of these codes of conduct. The STOPit reporting platform will be a valuable tool in enforcing these codes, as well.
 
A Different Kind of Leadership
In tandem, our Employee Resource Group (ERG) leaders are working with the Engage to Change team to develop a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee that will partner with executive leadership on a number of critical topics. These topics include everything from developing the job description and hiring for a DEI Manager, to helping create a framework for outreach efforts, to collecting and anonymizing feedback from ERG members for leadership on proposed DEI efforts, to reporting the results of projects implemented. The DEI Committee will be part of a broader effort to decentralize leadership on the whole moving forward.
 
… And a Search for New Leadership
We have begun the process of formally adding external board members to Modern Times for additional accountability, governance, and mentorship moving forward. The new Board's first task will be facilitating a CEO-search, which will include significant feedback from the Modern Times team along the way. It is in their best interest (and ours) to make sure they have a degree of buy-in from the MT team before helping to manage this team through this next chapter.
 
Additional Reference Requirements
Effective now, for offers being made for open positions, reference checks--both personal and work history--will be required.
 
We clearly have a long road ahead, but these initial steps have elicited a new sense of hope for the future of our company. This isn’t to say we won’t need to reassess our strategies at some point, or that the path ahead will be smooth by any means. By holding ourselves accountable, listening to our people, upholding transparency, and continually committing to creating a safe, equitable work environment, we are doing our utmost to ensure that Modern Times stays on the right track. We are deeply appreciative of the support and feedback we’ve received from our employees and community as we move forward.