Editor Emma Ballard speaks to England Golf HR Director Mary-Anne Price about their recent award win, the culture at the governing body and what the future holds

England Golf have been recognised as one of The Sunday Times Best Places to Work in 2024, a prestigious accolade that highlights the organisation’s commitment to fostering a positive and equitable workplace. They were also one of six finalists shortlisted for the Sport Organisation of the Year at the FEVO Sport Industry Awards, narrowly missing out to The FA.

Women & Golf spoke to HR Director Mary-Anne Price, who shared more about The Sunday Times award, the culture at England Golf and how this is just a small part of what the governing body is trying to achieve in the workplace.

Annual employee survey

The journey to this recognition began with England Golf’s annual employee survey, which covers a broad spectrum of topics from company culture to learning and development. Price explained, “We run an annual employee survey every year, covering a wide range of areas. We report on it to our board, senior management team, and share the results with our employees.” This transparency and commitment to feedback have consistently yielded positive results, which spurred the decision to participate in The Sunday Times survey.

“We’ve always held ourselves accountable to do the right thing and have fair and equitable practice in place. Toni Shelbourn, our Campaigns and Brand Manager, shared the opportunity, and we thought, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?” Price recounted. The results surpassed expectations, confirming that England Golf’s practices were not only on par with industry standards but also exceeded them.

One notable aspect of England Golf’s success is its gender balance. The governing body boasts a 53-47 male-to-female split, a balance that has occurred organically. Price noted, “We haven’t actively sought this balance. It’s always about the skill set and the right person for the right job, and that has naturally led to gender parity.” This inclusive approach extends to their board, which also reflects a near-equal gender split.

Leading the way in their commitment to equity

Their commitment to equity is further demonstrated through initiatives like the Women on Par programme and being the first UK golf body to sign the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration. Price highlighted, “We’re not just talking a good game; we’re following it up with actions. This helps from a recruitment point of view, making people feel valued, seen and comfortable to be themselves.”

The post-pandemic landscape has also influenced England Golf’s recruitment and retention strategies. Hybrid working policies have expanded their reach, allowing them to attract talent from a broader geographic area. “Our hybrid working and increased family policies are things that people really value. It’s not just about what we say; it’s about what our team says about us,” Price emphasised.

Retention rates at England Golf are healthy, with a turnover rate currently under 10-15%, which is average for the sector. Price shared, “We have people who’ve been here 25 years, 10-15 years, and many between one to five years. This mix gives us a dynamic team, open to new ideas while benefiting from experienced insights.”

Continuing to explore ways to attract and retain talent

Looking ahead, England Golf remains focused on the future. While they don’t have specific awards in their sights, their goal is clear. “We are always looking at what’s next for the organisation. Our enhanced family policies are a start, but we are continuously exploring how to attract and retain talent and make our employees’ working lives better,” Price concluded.

This recognition by The Sunday Times is a testament to England Golf’s dedication to its employees and their commitment to creating an inclusive, supportive, and dynamic workplace. As they continue to evolve and adapt, their focus remains on doing right by their people, ensuring a thriving and engaged workforce that drives the game of golf forward.

Find out more about working for England Golf here.