HR Cocktail: 2 Parts Romance 1 Part Workplace. Shaken, Not Stirred.

This 2020 Valentine’s marks the third year since the #metoo movement blew up in 2017. What we know for sure, nearly three years later, is that romance in the workplace is still alive and well. But what we know from what employers must know is far different. Companies need to realize how to handle and deal with romance within the work environment instead of trying to stop it at all costs.

Take 100 then divide it in half. THAT is how many employees have engaged in workplace romance.

According to a survey by Vault.com, more than 58% of employees have engaged in an in-office romance with another colleague. I would know, I have been part of that statistic! Okay, TMI. Let’s move on.

This survey tells us that office romance is not just reserved for a small 1% of rouge employees. On top of the 58%, more than 70% of those employees over 50 years old have been romantically involved with a coworker.

So why does Qupid frequent worksites and not gyms or parks or hipster coffee spots?

Social psychologists have found that mere exposure to someone can increase our attraction to them. To illustrate how this works, college students participating in a study were shown photos of faces. Participants saw the photos of some faces up to 25 times, while other faces were only shown once or twice.  The more the participants had seen a photo of a particular face, the more they reported liking it. In other words, mere exposure to the photograph increased attraction to it. In a similar study, participants had short, face-to-face contact with one another. Once again, more exposure led to more attraction. Individuals preferred those they had seen more often to those they had seen less frequently. Repeated exposure to the same coworkers day after day has a similar effect and will naturally fuel more attraction at work.

In addition to exposure, employees have something in common with their coworkers (their work), and they have some additional information about their coworkers that they might not have about a potential partner they meet on a dating app or in a bar. They know, for example, that their coworker is at least responsible enough to hold down a job and is likely not a serial killer.

Where does HR fall into Your Workplace Romance?

The last thing any company wants is an overbearing HR department who decides to choose who falls in love and who doesn’t. But with these kinds of statistics, problems around bound to raise and #metoo issues will soon follow. For businesses that do not have an HR department, you may as well declare your worksite the “Wild Wild West”. Not having policies and procedures to deal with the ugly side of workplace romances can cause major problems and even set your business up to fail completely.

If you currently have an HR department that is not only overworked but unprepared to deal with internal romances and the inevitable issues that arise, then you should greatly consider outsourcing to a professional HR Outsourcing firm. Having sound guidelines, immediate support along with policies and procedures to not only solve issues but work to prevent them before they happen is key to running a successful business with employees.

If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Happy Valentines Day 2020!