Human Resources News & Insights

An in-depth look at this year’s studies on workplace romance, love

Put those flowers in a vase and open up those chocolates: Here’s a round-up of this year’s workplace-related Valentine’s Day studies.  

Perception is key

The first bit of research has less to do people in a workplace relationship and more to do with how that relationship is viewed by co-workers.

Turns out how employees respond to a colleagues’ workplace relationship depends on three things:

  • how staffers learned about the romance
  • employees’ personal views of the workers involved in the romance, and
  • company culture.

If colleagues found out from the couple, the relationship was viewed in a positive light. Ditto for workplace culture — the more relaxed about interoffice relationships, the more easily people accept it.

But if strict policies are in place, colleagues begin viewing workplace relationships as unprofessional — and even inappropriate.

Lizette Borelli, writing on Medical Daily, had the following takeaway for your amorous employees:

The research on office romances suggest if you’re going to engage in them, be aware that your co-workers may communicate with you and your partner differently. These differences can influence productivity and overall work performance.

The research, conducted by DePaul University’s College of Communication and the University of Texas at San Antonio, was recently published in the Western Journal of Communications journal.

I ‘love’ this company

The second survey comes from Virgin Pulse, and has less to do with romantic love around the office and more to do with employees’ love of the office (or their company, really).

Nearly 75% of respondents said they either “love” their company because it’s a great place to work or felt “pretty good” with no major complaints, according to the survey.

It wasn’t all candlelit dinners for staffers, though: Only 25% of respondents said they felt their company loved them back.

So what do employees love about their company, and what will it take for them to love it even more?

Forget big things like money, or small things like free coffee or snacks. When asked what they liked most about their company, most staff members said it’s about feeling connected to the work and people:

  • 33% said doing interesting or challenging work keeps them engaged and loving their job
  • 22% felt passionate about what the company stands for and its mission, and
  • 12% said their co-workers were the main reason they love their company.

When asked how they think their employers feel about them, employees say they’re not feeling the love:

  • Only 42% said they get occasional praise and recognition
  • About 30% said their employers only pass a compliment along every now and then, and
  • Just 5% felt like their employer didn’t know they existed or felt so undervalued that they want out.

When asked to rank what companies could do to make employees more passionate about their jobs:

  • Nearly 40% ranked “feeling like we’re making a difference” as most important, followed by doing interesting or challenging work, having flexible schedules and getting great benefits or perks, while
  • Only 7% cited their income as the reason they’re passionate about their job or their company.

When asked to how their company can show employees they care about them:

  • 35% said supporting a work-life balance and overall quality of life is the number one way to show employees the love
  • 32% said that while compensation wouldn’t make them love their job any more, it’s one of the most important ways employers can show employees they care, and
  • Employees also feel appreciated through their benefits like healthcare and wellness benefits, 401(k)s, life insurance, PTO, etc., and career development and training opportunities

When asked to rank what they wished their employers cared more about:

  • 44% said they wished their employer cared more about their financial wellbeing
  • 40% said their career development
  • 39% cited work/life balance
  • 35% cited emotional health (stress, etc.)

Finally, what benefits and perks would actually motivate staff? Not weekly massages and nap rooms – those luxuries ranked lowest in importance.

The two best perks are:

  • flexible work arrangements
  • programs and resources to help improve physical health and well-being including onsite gyms, fitness classes, health club reimbursements and healthier cafeteria options.
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