Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Advice for Handling Love at Work

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

love at workCupid may be especially busy on Valentine’s Day, but the icon of love is unstoppable year-round in the workplace.

Statistics show that one-third of employees will date someone at work and up to 20 percent will find their spouse or partner at work.

Managers should recognize that people will fall in like or love at work, and there is no law or best practice requiring you to prevent or end these relationships (good luck with that, anyway).

Most employers understand this dynamic, but know the emotions involved can cause real workplace problems if mishandled.

Events are hard to predict. Office romance is known as a disproportionate cause of workplace violence.

When one or both romantics are married to other people who may also work for the same company, you have a potentially explosive situation.

Perceptions of favoritism may cause problems, too. Employee morale is easily jeopardized, especially if one of the lovebirds is a manager with the power to promote and give raises to his or her favorite Valentine.

What does your company policy say about consensual workplace romance? You need to stay in compliance or get guidance.

Less than 15 percent of policies prohibit workplace romances, but all employers want to ensure there is no harassment or pressure.

Stay focused on your policy and on the workplace impact of behaviors. Private conversations with the individuals involved to clear the air and state the company’s position without preaching can be difficult but very important.

Put the burden on the employees to prevent bad situations. Carefully consider with HR any issue around the transfer or termination of one or the other.

Romantic employees: Be the one to deliver the news (and not become the subject of water cooler talk or a security camera tape). People will know before you think they know, and they love to gossip. Be the one with a proactive plan to give your managers, focused on policy and preventing complications.

Granted, your situation may be different from others’. But think about how management and co-workers are likely to react, not just how you want them to react.

Photo Source: Lori Branham

8 Ways to Engage and Reward Employees Through the Cold Weather

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

winter weatherWith Valentine’s Day approaching at the end of next week, the season of sharing love and being cold is upon us. Showing love, compassion or empathy shouldn’t be reserved for only your family or friends. As an employer, it’s important to also show kindness and understanding with your employees.

Making your employees feel valued affects job satisfaction, staff performance and retention levels positively. There are several things you can do to reward your employees for their hard work and to also keep them engaged. Here are eight ways you can show your staff some love during the coldest time of the year:

  • Buy tickets for your employees to attend a local sports event. Basketball and hockey games are two winter sports that are always fun to watch.
  • Send each of your employees a personalized Valentine’s Day card. You can include candy, a gift certificate or even cash.
  • Coordinate an ice skating friends and family event. You can rent out a local ice house for a few hours and supply participants and their family members with a pair of ice skates.
  • Treat your staff to a winter-weather breakfast. Warm goodies like an egg casserole or blueberry muffins will pair nicely with hot chocolate, warm apple cider or freshly brewed coffee.
  • Buy tickets to a winter or love-themed movie, and encourage your staffers to see the movie with their friends or family members.
  • Have a clear and accurate work plan for dealing with inclement weather, such as snow or hail.  Being flexible with adverse weather conditions will be appreciated by your employees.
  • Throw a Valentine’s Day party for your staff. Hold the get together in the afternoon and supply sweet treats for a fun social break.
  • Keep an ample supply of free snacks and drinks in your break room or kitchen for employees who don’t want to go out in the cold to satisfy their hunger.

For additional tips on engaging or rewarding your employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: alex_ford

Don’t Break Hearts When Drafting Your Company’s Policy for Office Romance

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

workplace loveHappy 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.

In his recent post, Max Mihelieh, writer for Workforce.com, asks various HR professionals their opinions on the best way to deal with love in the workplace.

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

9 Ways to Show Your Employees Some Love

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

show love in workplaceValentine’s Day is a week away so it’s the perfect time to show your team members a little love. Demonstrating to your employees that you value and appreciate the work they put in each week will yield a positive outcome. Employees are more satisfied in their job when they know their efforts are appreciated and are making a difference for the company. High job satisfaction rates lead to more engaged workers, and more engaged workers increase business productivity.

Try some of the ways below to share the love with your team members during February and the other months of the year:

  1. Write personalized Valentine’s Day cards to each of your employees and include reasons why they are important members of your team.
  2. Have a Valentine’s Day social during lunch. Provide the main dish, but encourage your staffers to bring in Valentine’s Day themed desserts.
  3. Plan a group outing for all of your employees. Whether it’s bowling or volunteering, the outing will be a good bonding experience.
  4. When requesting items from your staff, use “please” and “thank you” to show your respect for them.
  5. Greet your employees with a smile as they arrive at work for the day.
  6. Decorate your facility with holiday decorations, such as red and pink streamers and paper hearts.
  7. Spend some time during the week to chat with each of your team members to see how they’re doing. Ask them about work and their family.
  8. Give each of your employees a gift card to use for lunch, gas or other purchases they frequently make.
  9. Treat employees to a family-friendly get together, like a weekend pizza party or Friday evening movie.

For more employee engagement or recognition tips, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: mozzercork

Office Romance: Protect Your Company and Employees with a Strong Policy

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

With Valentine’s Day taking place earlier this week, reviewing your company’s policy on office relationships is a good idea. People spend the majority of their week working, so a workplace relationship is not an unusual phenomenon. CareerBuilder’s recent survey on love in the workplace indicates that 38 percent of employees have dated a coworker.

Realizing the potential dangers of an office relationship, such as abuse of power, favoritism and low morale, is imperative for employers that want to protect their organization and people. Banning relationships all together is not advised by many labor and employment lawyers and HR professionals.

Attorney Mark Kluger of Mandelbaum Salsburg  told Bloomberg Business Week that creating a policy that prohibits workplace romance is problematic for two reasons:

“…it sends a negative message to employees about your company’s willingness to impose itself into their personal lives. The other thing is that you don’t want to create a Romeo and Juliet situation. If there’s a policy against workplace romances, people will feel they must lie and sneak around, and that’s the last thing you want.”

Instead of forbidding workplace relationships, draft a strong policy that specifies your organization’s expectations for coworkers who date. Below are a few topics that should be addressed in your policy:

Secure the Work Environment:

Explicitly state that your company has no tolerance for and prohibits favoritism and abuse of any kind. Include information on your sexual harassment policy as well. These two details will help maintain a positive workplace environment for all employees.

Outline Consequences:

Make it clear that you take this issue seriously. Inform your workers of the consequences they’ll face if they decide to act against the established policy. Taking this step will make people less likely to break the rules. It will also show your employees that you respect their right to be safe and will punish those who don’t.

Make the Complaint Process Easy:

As an employer, you have a responsibility to your workforce to investigate each claim that implies an employee acted against policy. Develop a complaint procedure that encourages staff members to speak up if they feel like a coworker has violated their rights. Whether the claim is accurate, taking the time to investigate any suspicious activity will be advantageous if a lawsuit occurs. 

Set Ground Rules:

You can’t dictate what your employees can and can’t do outside of work, but you can make your expectations for the workplace extremely clear. You can prohibit public displays of affection, lovers’ quarrels, or anything else that can potentially make other staff members uncomfortable or distracted during workplace hours. Employees involved in a workplace relationship owe you and their coworkers professionalism while they are at work.

Your tailored policy can help you avoid a potential lawsuit if an office relationship turns for the worse, so review your policy annually to make sure it continues to fit the needs of your organization. Additionally, make sure all employees receive the policy and understand the points that are addressed.

For more information on handling office relationships or creating a workplace policy, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: epSos.de