Love Blooms In The Workplace, So Be Prepared

Feb 12, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

office romanceYikes! Here it is two days before Valentine’s Day and not a romance story in sight on ERE.

Let me remedy that with some tales from the gurus, starting, appropriately, with the good news from HRGuru (by Monster) that “office relationships are no longer taboo.” In the how-to article, HRGuru notes that 58 percent of workers have had an office romance (quoting Vault and not, understandably, the CareerBuilder survey I’ll mention in a minute).

Citing another survey, the article says almost everyone thinks it’s OK to date a co-worker. But date a boss? No way say workers, with women (at 82 percent) much more opposed than men (73 opposed).

Sadly, the very next issue addressed in the article is sub-headed “Sexual Harassment Claims.”

But that’s an HR problem. Oh, yeah. Most of us are recruiters, but oh so many of us also wear HR generalist hats and sooner or later will wind up dealing with some form of office romance or harassment issue.

I once had to deal with an issue where one of my best directors was involved with a subordinate who also was first rate. The two had kept it a secret for months; there wasn’t even gossip about them. I only discovered it accidentally. They eventually moved in together, changed jobs together. Alas, just months before their wedding, they broke up.

Fortunately, a CareerBuilder survey finds that for about a third of workers who date each other, the romance ends in marriage. Now that’s an employee benefit you don’t see on corporate career sites, unless eHarmony or Match have it there somewhere.

The CareerBuilder survey also found that co-worker dating is not as prevalent as Vault found it was. Only 37 percent of workers said they have dated a co-worker at some time during their careers, a data point in line with CareerBuilder surveys of past years.

Some other survey findings:

  • “Eight percent of workers currently work with someone who they would like to date, with more men (11 percent) than women (4 percent) reporting they would like to do so.”
  • ” Twelve percent of workers reported that their relationships started when they ran into each other outside of work.”

As you end your workweek and look forward to Valentine’s Day, let love blossom. Next week is soon enough to check your company’s sexual harassment and office conduct policies. Just make sure you do.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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