As a golf club operator, your goal is to make your members and guests feel welcome. This goal should go beyond the course, as well. Your staff should feel like an essential part of your team, and that requires that you put an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and equity to successfully achieve this goal.
Workplace diversity is an increasingly important topic in HR today. When you value differences, you can create a more positive and inclusive environment where people can thrive and do their best work. Investing resources into diversity, inclusion, and equity isn’t just a way to help your staff feel appreciated; it’s the right thing to do on a human level.
But it can be easier said than done. Golf course managers or owners will often agree that they value diversity, inclusion, and equity, but they don’t take sufficient steps to implement programs that execute on that mission. To be successful, you must truly understand the definition of each of these initiatives and then the steps you need to take to align internal behaviours that make them a reality at your course.
Diversity is defined as the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization. In the workforce, this translates to a group of individuals with varying genders, religions, races, ages, ethnicities, sexual orientation, education, political views, and more.
While a person may have a diverse background with a wide range of experiences, the concept of diversity isn’t about a single individual. Instead, it’s based on the collective makeup of a team or organization and is measured by the variety of characteristics that make up the whole. Diversity must start in the hiring process with an organization’s willingness and intention to recruit individuals who are different from one another based on the characteristics mentioned above.
Diverse teams are not necessarily inclusive teams. Inclusion is an environment in which the diversity of members is appreciated and respected. Inclusion takes effort; it’s not a natural behaviour because human nature seeks out people who are more like us. This is called bias, and it takes a conscious effort to overcome.
Creating an inclusive organization takes the participation of everyone. You may have diversity within your membership or staff, but if their input is not welcomed and valued, your diversity has no meaning. The difference between diversity and inclusion can be described as the difference between being asked to the golf course versus being asked to play.
The final step is equity, which gives everyone access to the same opportunities by acknowledging that bias exists. To implement equity, an organization has to take steps to be proactive in correcting the disparity some of the team members may be facing.
It’s important to recognize that equity is not the same as equality. Equality is when an organization makes sure everyone has the same things to be successful. However, equality assumes everyone starts with the same set of advantages or disadvantages. Equity is the act of making that playing field equal by focusing on the unique needs each requires to get to the same starting point where they can take advantage of opportunities.
Benefits for your golf courses
While they’re the right things to do, diversity, inclusion, and equity also benefit organizations. The first is with your recruiting efforts. Today’s employees aren’t just looking for a job; they want to find an employer who respects and values them. According to a study by Glassdoor, two-thirds of job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Companies that recognize the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity will establish themselves as good employers. Diverse companies are more likely to attract the best talent, and they can draw from a wider talent pool, which can help fill positions more quickly.
Higher employee retention
Recruiting and hiring are time-consuming and expensive, which is why employee retention is a top concern for most employers. One of the benefits of having a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is that your employees will feel a sense of belonging and will be less likely to seek out a new place of employment. Employees are more likely to thrive in environments where they feel valued by their managers and colleagues. A study by ADP, an HR services provider, found employees who identified as part of a team were 2.3 times more likely to be fully engaged.
Diversity and inclusion can also create a more innovative workplace. Employees can draw from varied backgrounds and experiences to introduce new perspectives, which could result in fresh ideas for your golf course operations. The chance that something creative will happen increases over teams where everyone is the same. A study from BCG Henderson Institute found that more diverse companies produce higher revenue from innovation than companies with average diversity.
In addition to unique ideas, diverse groups of employees tend to be more well-rounded in their skill sets, which can lead to improved decision making and higher productivity. Research from Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams can solve problems quicker with a broader range of solutions than cognitively similar individuals. This proves that two heads are better than one, especially when they’re different.
When you create a work environment where employees feel like they fit in, they’ll be more comfortable being themselves instead of conforming to something they’re not. This can lead to happier, more engaged workers. And a happy workforce can better serve your customers and members and make them feel welcome and valued.
No matter how great your workplace may be, problems will arise from time to time. Inclusion is important when it comes to dealing with conflict. When employees acknowledge and respect their coworkers’ differences, they may be more willing to take time to understand the other person’s perspective and work together to compromise or find a satisfactory solution. Inclusion can help facilitate conflict resolution earlier in the process instead of having a problem linger beneath the surface where it can grow and worsen.
Happy, engaged, productive employees deliver better results for companies, which adds up to increased revenue. In fact, several studies have proven this concept over the years, with research that shows that diverse teams simply perform better and, as a result, bring in more profits. McKinsey’s 2019 report found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies at the bottom of the diversity ranking. And teams that are in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed less diverse groups by 36% in profitability. Clearly, diversity is worth the investment.
The importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity must start at the top. As the golf course operations manager, it’s up to you to set the tone with strong recruiting and hiring efforts. By putting a policy in place, you can also take advantage of the benefits and create a workplace where employees are happy and productive. Diverse employees will attract diverse guests who feel at home in your establishment and are eager to spread the word. By committing to these efforts, you can have an impact on your success and bottom line.