Things have changed a lot in the workplace over the years and here’s an example.
I’ve been here for 25 years and if a member walks through the door in the spring and I haven’t seen him all winter, I’ll say, `Hey, how are you doing?’ and give him a big hug.
It’s what I’ve always done and if I didn’t do it, they would wonder what’s wrong with me, all very innocent, but if a new staff member saw that, he or she might not know how to react these days.
We’ve heard in the headlines recently about comments and actions from high profile people that have been deemed inappropriate and there’s no doubt that you can cross the line between something as innocent as a friendly hug and something that makes people feel uncomfortable, threatened or worse.
On the other hand, I might be emceeing a members’ function and say something to poke fun at somebody, but what’s the threshold on that? Do we have to live in fear of every word that we say? The question I always have is how do we define it?
Even Parliament is trying to figure out to deal with such situations and while they want to address the concerns and encourage victims to come forward, we also can’t forget that in law, you’re innocent until proven guilty.
It’s something institutions and businesses are grappling with these days and that should include the golf industry.
While it may be a confusing time in the golf industry, it seems appropriate that we try to prevent problems before they begin.
For one thing, we have an extensive code of conduct for employees, plus a social media policy for employees to follow.
With social media, we hire university people and young adults who are attached to their phones. These days, if you ask them what time it is, they have to go find their phones to find out.
If they want to have a conversation via Twitter or whatever, that’s fine, but it can’t include other staff, or the golf course’s name or members.
Social media is a reality these days and while you don’t want to take away their freedom of speech, or prevent them from having fun, it’s important to remember that once it’s out there, people can look it up or print it or whatever.
Times are changing quickly in the workplace and we need to adapt. By setting social media policies and codes of conduct, we’re taking steps to prevent a problem, before it becomes one.