Monday, May 17, 2010

Managers: Are You Being Fair to Those in a Relationship?

Managers must be actively involved in the management of office relationships during all stages: prior to the relationship’s conception, during the relationship, and if applicable, after the relationship ends.

Workplace romance policies do not only affect those involved in the relationship. These relationships put managers in an interesting position. If policies are to prohibit workplace relationships, managers must enforce this non-fraternization policy among co-workers, which can often be awkward and ineffective. However, if workplace relationships are permitted, supervisors must maintain the relationship within the bounds of the company’s policy, as well as assuring that it does not affect the employees’ work or productivity.
Managers can take important steps to inform, assist, and support their employees regarding the subject of workplace relationships. Through managing the inevitability of workplace romances in a positive way, companies can alleviate some of the concerns and negative outcomes created by romantic involvement in the office setting. They can promote a culture that understands and acknowledges the presence of workplace romances, as well as maintaining an atmosphere that is flexible and trust-based.

Allowing employees to make informed decisions regarding their personal relationships can foster an environment that is understanding and trusting. Furthermore, managers and human resource professionals can create a guide to workplace relationships to be used as a supplement to the legal policies and procedures governing such partnerships. They could also implement support systems to resolve issues between workers coping with the aftermath of a failed workplace romance. It is important for both members of the former relationship to feel “in control” and that they are supported by managers and protected by policies at the company.

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