Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Developing Policies to Effectively Manage Workplace Relationships
It is important to distinguish what types of control that the company can exert over these relationships. They obviously cannot control attraction or employees’ behavior outside of the office, but they can create rules and policies and a corporate culture that fosters appropriate behavior regarding workplace romances.
Some companies choose to rely on anti-harassment policies and codes of ethics already in place in order to mitigate workplace relationships. Others create policies and procedures specific to the handling of workplace romances. There are positives and negatives of strict, lean, and non-existent workplace romance policies. Strict policies that ban workplace romance are largely ineffective and lead to low employee morale. Furthermore, a problem with developing policies on workplace relationships is that they often infringe on the employees privacy rights regarding their personal lives.
In order to create and efficient and effective workplace relationship policy, a company needs to protect themselves from litigation and lost productivity, while protecting employees privacy and benefiting from the positive effects on work productivity. This can typically be achieved by limiting relationships between supervisors and subordinates, maintaining standards for appropriate office behavior, covering legal bases, and monitoring of office relationships by management and human resources.