Working late, during happy hour after work, over lunch, or a by-chance meeting outside of the office. You never know when or where an office romance may bloom for employees in your organization. While nothing is sweeter than two people finding their meant-to-be, an organization stands to possibly suffer from budding love.
While you may wish your staffers well, inevitably issues can creep in. Negative implications could quickly arise in the form of rumors, gossip, that leads to perceived favoritism, partiality, and bias. It doesn’t take much to lead someone down the thought path to discrimination. There could be loss of productivity, protocols and processes could be compromised. The company could suffer from the absence of both employees during family vacations and events. What happens when one of the two ends the relationship? How do they continue to do their jobs and remain cordial?
Of course, not every workplace romance spills over into drama and discord. There are lots of lasting relationships and marriages that are first ignited through work. There is no magic recipe for romance that could be damaging to the company and love that stays within its proper bounds. Nor is there a one size fits all solution for companies to follow.
When bitten by the love bug a well thought out strategy can however ensure a best-case scenario for all parties. You will want to seek legal counsel to ensure you are protecting not only your organization but your employees. Here are a few more questions to help you think through your plan for handling an office romance.
1) Do you have a policy? Do I need a policy? Having a non-romantic policy helps to ensure that all employees are in fact treated fairly, which leads to the next question.
2) If I approach the subject with the employees, am I treating all parties equally and fairly?
3) Are you being objective in your approach to resolve and manage this issue?
4) What have you done in the past? How you’ve worked through these issues in the past will certainly become a basis of compassion for new incidents.
5) What is the impact to my company’s culture? How will the actions of the business be perceived by the employees?
Interested in exploring issues similar to this? Check out our upcoming webinars including Keeping Negativity Out of the Workplace and Building a Workplace for the Future: Generation Z.