HR Strategy

Are your employees aware of your workplace romance policies?

Three in 10 employees admit to starting a workplace romance since their company implemented a return-to-office policy, Resume Builder finds.
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Alyssa Nassner

3 min read

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.

Love is in the air office.

The return to the office has brought with it the return of desk salads, breakroom banter, and even office romances.

Some 29% of employees say they have had an office romance since returning to a physical work environment, according to a recent Resume Builder survey of 1,448 workers aged 18 to 44 at companies that have implemented an RTO policy requiring at least one day in office. Resume Builder found that 58% of the employees they surveyed who are currently in a relationship with a coworker have not disclosed it to HR.

With the potential for scandal—said in our best Lady Whistledown accent—in the workplace, HR might want to prioritize offering employees a refresher course on their office romance policies now that RTO is in full swing.

Policies around workplace romances can include avoiding a superior/subordinate entanglement, avoiding dating within your team or department, and implementing other checks and balances so nobody is playing favorites, Julia Toothacre, résumé and career strategist with Resume Builder, told HR Brew. An outright ban on office romances, however, likely isn’t the best approach.

“I really don’t think that companies should be overreaching in that way,” she said. “I don’t know that a ban is the right thing. But I do think there needs to be some kind of [discussion] around it.”

One thing HR should not do is assume that everyone reads the employee handbook cover to cover, Toothacre said. If there is a mention of workplace romance in the handbook, don’t rely on that as the be-all and end-all of employee awareness.

Reminding employees of your office romance policies shouldn’t be a once-per-year occurrence either. This should be something that is done on a regular basis, Toothacre said.

“I think sometimes having a little quick reminder to just let people know what the policies actually are is really, really helpful,” she said.

It might also be helpful, Toothacre said, to designate one member of the HR team as the person to whom office romances should be reported. This way, it isn’t something all of HR has to know about and it could provide employees with a sense of relief that their personal business isn’t being shared company-wide.

Flexibility around these policies is also worth considering, Toothacre said, and HR will want to be mindful about taking steps in dealing with office romances on a case by case basis.

“One of the things to remember is people are going to meet each other and have feelings whether you have a policy or not,” she said. “That’s just a reality of us as humans.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.