How Inclusive is Your Workplace?

The Masters. The most storied tournament of the most exclusive sport in the world starts, today. The invitation-only tournament has produced legendary champions such as Byron, Sam, Arnold, and Jack. Nick, Tiger, Phil, Bubba, Charl, Adam, and Jordan. Fine young gentlemen like Weeb, Dustin, Rory, and Luke are all chasing that elusive Green Jacket. I can hear Jim Nantz now. Hello, friends.  It’s a weekend just for the fellas. A time where men get together to watch other men play in a tournament exclusive to men at a club that has been exclusive to men for a majority of its existence. And, unabashedly unapologetic about their privacy and exclusivity. All of this got me thinking about the workplace. As you review activities and access to opportunities, are they unintentionally, or intentionally, exclusive to a select group of employees? Are you excluding many of the what could be the next great thing in your ogranization?

“Deals get done on the golf course.” How many times have you heard that phrase? The vendor takes the CMO on a golf outing to try to win some business. CEOs hit the links to broker deals. Executive teams take the day to golf for “strategic planning.” Many of these rounds take place at high-end country clubs or exclusive courses at $200 per round. It’s a game that is made for small groups. Foursomes playing together for 4+ hours and then spending more time at the 19th hole. While this may be good environment to get people out of the office and get the creative juices flowing, the game does not allow for leaders to include many different points of view. Or the views of men and women. 

Take a look at the breakdown of golfers in the US put together by Statistic Brain. 9.6% of the population plays golf with 77% of those being male. Almost 50% of the golfers are between the ages of 40-60. Does this feel like a very inclusive group? Looks like a typical corporate board room to me. 

Think about your workplace and the accessibility of your leaders. Are they visible and accessible throughout the day? Do you make it easy and open for all employees to be able to participate and have access to information? Or are all those great ideas discovered over the the course of 18 holes? Does Billy get that big project because he can crush a 350 yard drive and help you win that exclusive company scramble? How about those happy hours you throw that may only allow a select few to attend. Or that boondoggle conference that a small group attends and solves world peace at the hotel bar after midnight. While it may seem like you’re planning a great event for all, think about that single parent that has to get home to his kids at 6pm. Or, that person who just signed up for salsa lessons on Wednesday nights. 

When you are planning office events or town hall meetings, think about the time of the event and the venue. Consider planning breakfast events or meetings near the end of the day and not necessarily in the evening. Be considerate of your employees and the lives they lead after hours. By allowing only a select few to the tee box, you are missing out on a lot of great ideas and talent that may never have held a putter.

For golf fans, the Masters is a great tournament to watch. The course is pristine and immaculate. You can smell the azaleas through your 50 inch HDTV and see each blade of perfectly cut grass from the comfort of your mancave. This is a great weekend to relax, put back some cold ones, catch a nap, and cheer on your favorite champion. And while you’re freshening up your Arnold Palmer or John Daly, think about the inclusiveness of your workplace. Does it remind you of The Masters? If so, think again before hosting that company golf outing.



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