Happy Valentine’s Day! The day dedicated to love can sometimes create an HR nightmare. Handling office romance, especially ones involving inappropriate behavior, can be tricky. Protecting your company against possible liabilities is weighed against your employees’ right to happiness. Today, most HR professionals recommend creating a policy to address office relationships.
Max starts by highlighting a survey from CareerBuilder:
A CareerBuilder.com survey reveals marriage is a common outcome for dating co-workers as 31 percent of office romances end up in matrimony. Still, if nearly a third of all romances started in the workplace result in marriage, it also means two-thirds end in a breakup.
Because two-thirds of workplace relationships end, including guidelines to address harassment or discrimination issues that might occur from an ugly break up is important. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst when drafting your policy.
Research indicates that the newest generation in the workforce thinks dating coworkers is okay. Max shares insights from a Workplace Options survey:
84 percent of millennials said they wouldn’t have a problem with dating a co-worker. … [T]he study also demonstrates how employee attitudes about dating co-workers are changing, as 36 percent of Generation X workers think dating a co-worker is acceptable.
For an on-the-job perspective, Max asks for the opinion of Susan Heathfield, a management consultant and the writer of the human resources page at About.com:
[She] says she has been lucky to have avoided any major romantic relationship issues with her employees. Her thoughts on office dating have changed, she says. She now believes it’s acceptable for most employees to date. “Have a romance. If it impacts the workplace or your performance” disciplinary action will be taken, she said while speaking about her own employees.
Because workers spend a majority of their week at work, finding a love connection there isn’t unimaginable. Be realistic with your company’s relationship policy. In Max’s article, Heathfield suggests tailoring your document to address the “outliers”—the handful of employees who decide to not act professionally around their significant other when working.
For more advice on tackling office relationships, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.
Photo Source: Barbtreck