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• Only 12% of company managers have been provided with training on managing workplace romances.
• 43% of HR staff have encountered a workplace romance.
• 99% of policies on workplace romances state that romantic relationships between supervisors and their staff are not allowed.
Employees falling for each other isn’t rare. Naturally, close relationships will form between people who spend large parts of their lives together. One study from 2011 found that 30% of office romances led to marriage. But that still leaves 70% that don’t end with wedding bells. With Valentine’s Day approaching, Jayne Hart from The HR Dept Newcastle discusses some of the more troublesome issues surrounding office romances:
“Whilst nobody enjoys telling Cupid where he can and can’t aim his arrow in the workplace, there are times when senior management really should step in. For instance, when a manager and their direct subordinate enter into a relationship. After all, the superior’s impartiality and authority will be compromised, and this can affect a team’s morale. You certainly don’t want employees accusing a manager of weakness or favouritism – and this is if the relationship doesn’t turn sour with the problems that it could bring like the manager being accused of an abuse of power.
“It’s also your duty to ensure that, if you find that an employee fancies a co-worker who does not reciprocate, any pestering must be dealt with the moment the issue is raised. The last thing you want is a sexual harassment tribunal case.”
Some of us enjoy a gossip, and the relationships between co-workers can be prime subject matter. It’s important to ensure this doesn’t go too far and reduce productivity. Malicious gossip is very corrosive to team morale. It can also start cliques and bring other problematic issues. Therefore, it’s worth making sure this doesn’t get out of control.
Hart concludes: “Offering supervisors some training on managing workplace romances will be beneficial. Even if you don’t have an official policy and are seeing a romance blossom, you may need to remind the happy couple to remain professional in work. And if you think it’s required and fits the culture of your business, you could draw up a policy on office romances.”
The HR Dept was started in 2003 by Founder and Executive Director, Sue Tumelty to provide local and personal, practical and pragmatic expert HR and employment law advice to small and medium sized businesses. It now has a network of 100 HR Depts across the UK, Ireland and more recently in Australia.
Part of this network is The HR Dept Newcastle, based in the heart of the North East.
The Newcastle team is headed by Jayne Hart who has extensive experience working with both small businesses, public sector and charities.
Jayne and her team understand the unique challenges small businesses face and have developed a full HR and employment law service to meet these demands. We all know that sometimes an individual is determined to make a tribunal claim even when you have done everything correctly. So for added reassurance our Advice Line Clients also benefit from the backing of our employment tribunal indemnity insurance which will cover legal costs and awards, subject to our Advice being taken.
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