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Relationship Essay Human relationships are very significant and challenging topic upon which depends the success of many different ventures and activities performed by human. In this research we are going to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of this topic using particular example of the relationship between employees at a workplace. Particularly we are going to focus our attention on managing successful workplace relationships for the success of the organization and overall employee satisfaction. In a prosperous economic climate, corporations are often forced to compete for qualified employees. Many corporations have attempted to attract such employees by offering benefits that meet their lifestyle needs. Some examples of such benefits are on-site daycare and the recognition of same sex couples in terms of benefits.
Benefits of this nature project an image of the corporation that emphasizes acceptance and fairness. These characteristics are highly valued by prospective employees and are one of the primary factors considered when choosing between competing offers. From a management perspective the interpersonal relationships of employees is a delicate issue that requires attention. (Benson) Management must recognize that the workforce is a diverse ever-changing entity. To that end management must assess the lifestyle needs of the workforce and integrate that into the corporate policy in such a way as to not adversely affect other areas.
To accomplish this, management must constantly evaluate and evolve corporate policy to address the issues that will undoubtedly arise. The effective management of interpersonal relationships is intrinsically complex. From an organizational level it requires a corporate policy that defines what it considers a workplace relationship and specifies guidelines regarding what is and is not acceptable behavior. First and second level managers are then required to implement the corporate policy on the frontline. Also of concern is the method, if any, of enforcing such a policy. The complications of workplace relationships are varied.
There are obvious cases of problems within the relationship that are directly observable and able to be managed. But there are also cases where complications arise outside of the relationship. An important aspect of the management of interpersonal relationships is the ability to detect and resolve these complications fairly. In discussing the management of interpersonal relationships in the workplace, it is important to clarify what is typically considered a workplace relationship. Most corporations that acknowledge relationships between employees, and subsequently have policies restricting their behavior, define a workplace relationship as that of a legally married heterosexual couple. In recent times some corporations have changed their policy to include same sex partners or spousal equivalents in their definition of a workplace relationship.
Regardless of whether or not they are formally recognized by the organization, the majority of issues that face married heterosexual employees in a workplace relationship also apply to heterosexual and same sex partners who are not married. For the purposes of this paper we will consider both married and unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples as a being involved in a workplace relationship. (Benson) When it comes to workplace relationships, corporations are fearful of all of the associated pitfalls. Generally, an employer will document certain corporate policies pertaining to who can be in a relationship with another employee. Some common restrictions are that managers are prohibited from relationships with their subordinates or that a couple is not supposed to work for the same manager. More often than not, there is an unwritten workplace code that employees should not start relationships from within the same group because of the possible negative consequences.
Most corporations will also subject employees to workplace diversity or compliance training where the new employees will learn what is considered appropriate behavior. This usually includes sensitivity training for correctly dealing with diverse employee groups and various sexual harassment issues. Even small companies require these types of policies and training because many types of relationships exist in the work environment, including the introduction of same sex relationships in the workforce. As a result of today's lawsuit prone environment, corporations are more fearful than ever of impropriety by their employees.
The training and rules are designed to avoid the costly litigation involved in harassment suits and the requisite problems that evolve from relationships. Corporations realize the importance of stopping such claims and limiting their liability by enforcing these laws. The problem though, as with any corporate decree, is that it is only as strong as the managers who implement the policies. The first step for a corporation is to put the policy into writing.
If a corporation does not have a written policy on workplace relationships, all that is left are unwritten rules. Unwritten rules are left up to the manager to determine what is right, wrong, and the enforcement for that part of the organization. This leads to chaos because there are no management mediation techniques, no way for the employees to know they are about to cause organizational friction, and no common implementation from managers. On the other end of the spectrum, a few companies have gone as far as Aerotek, a high-tech temp agency with a strict no-dating-at-work rule. (Randall and Jackson) Once the policy is completed, the next step is to communicate the policy to not only the managers, but also the employees.
There are several ways the corporation can choose to notify their employees of any policy changes. First, managers need to attend training and orientation classes to learn how to effectively handle any situation and to receive materials on how to correctly disseminate the information to their employees. Managers will need to sit down with their group and spell out the issues. There is danger here in how the manager communicates the policies.
If the manager does not respect the policy and the employees notice, the rules will be ineffective in prohibiting problems. In addition, if the employees are used to policies which the corporation does not enforce, the manager may be unable to convince their subordinates of the policy's importance. Regardless of corporate policies, employees usually know what their managers expect from them. Some managers stick to the rules word for word while most shape the rules to their style and liking.
Lower level managers may not recognize the downside risk of certain workplace relationships, specifically those where both employees are in the same work group. It is easy for managers to see decreased productivity but it is impossible to predict future problems. A manager is likely to ignore these relationships if the employees are responsible and don't let their outside lives effect the work life. Some managers even encourage relationships because of the emotional bond that they have formed with their employees. When it does become a problem though, it may be too late to save the group dynamic. Managers have a tendency to trust that their employees will always behave professionally, but when it comes to emotions, work usually takes a backseat.
The truth is that over the past 20 years, sexual harassment lawsuits have gone from zero to over 15, 000 complaints filed annually with the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission. (Brewster and Larsen) Thus, it is important for the manager to communicate the corporate policies clearly and recognize the possibility of problems. It is also important for the corporation to clearly define the problems associated with workplace relationships so the managers will take the policies more seriously. It is important to note that it is only when the relationship causes work related problems that the manager should act. In addition, once a manager discovers a new relationship within the group, it is important to communicate the corporate policy again to avoid any confusion. Another aspect of corporate workplace relationship policies is relationship contracts. Some companies, to avoid harassment and relationship based litigation, require employees involved in a workplace relationship to declare such status to the human resource department.
The human resource department will require the couple to sign a legal contract protecting the company from any problems which may result due to their relationship. The contract will state that in spite of all the risks that you independently and collectively desire to undertake and pursue a mutually consensual social and amorous relationship. If the employees refuse to sign the contract, one or both of the employees may be terminated as a result. The company can promote workplace relationships this way and still protect themselves from future problems. This still does not protect the group from relationship problems which affect the group dynamic. An overlooked segment of corporate policies relates to homosexual employees.
It is important for homosexual employees to have a safe, productive, and open work environment. If the corporation does not have a written policy on harassment issues, the homosexual employees will feel like they do not fully belong to the organization. Consequently, homosexual employee's work suffers because of the mistrust, alienation, and emotional conflict about not being able to reveal the truth. It gets much worse when there is a homosexual relationship in the same work group. Not only must they hide their sexual orientation, but also their relationship. When companies have firm written rules about non-traditional relationships and discrimination practices, it makes it easier for the mentioned employees to feel comfortable about whom they are and not worry about anything except doing the job.
When it comes to homosexual employees, extra policies must be adopted and followed because of the harassment that they are sometimes subjected to in the workplace. The fact is that discrimination and harassment of gays is perfectly legal in most of America. (Brewster and Larsen) Another very interesting issue arising from relationships in the workplace is the information that couples share that would normally not be available to them. This turns out to be a very significant issue. Under normal circumstances, managers in the corporate environment have access to certain metrics and information that are not available to non-management employees. Information such as salaries, benefits, policies, and raises are closely kept secrets by management. Also, certain information between different company divisions is not normally shared.
However people in relationships share this information with each other, often breaking the code. These are items that managers need to know in order to prepare for them such as changes in company policy or reorganizations. Many times the information shared would eventually be available to their partner, but just not in the same timeframe. Some information, however, would never be available to the general employee population. Information such as pay scales and special benefits are many times shared only with those who need to know or those who are participating in such programs. Quite often information about special benefits, such as bonuses or company options, is shared with partners.
This type of information is specifically not shared with employees who do not participate because company policy forbids it. Managers are trained to keep confidential material to themselves. In addition, managers often have the added incentive of participating in programs that they are told to keep confidential. Certainly, sharing such information with life long partners is necessary to make financial decisions. But in less permanent relationships, the partner who is not a participator in such benefits has information meant only for those chosen to participate, or those trained to keep it confidential. This breach of confidentiality is much more likely to occur, and slip into the ranks of peers who are not managers. (Randall and Jackson) The diversification of the corporate workforce has changed the way in which management must deal with workplace relationships.
Whether formally acknowledged or not, they are a common occurrence in todays corporate environment that must be addressed. The administration and management of employees is, at the very least, complicated by workplace relationships. From an organizational perspective it is advantageous to have a stated, written policy regarding interpersonal relationships in the workplace. To be effective it is important that the corporation properly communicate the policy to the managers and the employees. If properly implemented such a policy will serve to reduce the legal liability of the corporation and explicitly define what is considered a conflict of interest. It should also state what the corporation will tolerate in terms of a workplace relationship and how it will react to complications that arise from it.
In most cases it is the responsibility of the frontline manager to enforce this policy. The implementation of corporate policy is usually executed at the frontline management level. It is the responsibility of the frontline manager to recognize the relationship and ensure that it does not become a workplace issue. When problems occur, the frontline manager must enforce the corporate policy based fairly and authoritatively. From the data gathered, it appears this is the area most in need of improvement. In general, workplace relationships seem to be a positive for both the employer and the employee. (Wendall) From the perspective of the people involved in the personal relationship it offers many advantages such as convenience and increased benefits.
For the corporation workplace relationships provide committed, career minded employees who are less likely to change jobs as often. But when complications arise, it is important that a policy is in place and management is properly trained to effectively deal with the situation. Bibliography: Akhilesh, K. B. , and D. R. Niagara.
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Brewster, Chris and Henrik H. Larsen. Human relations at workplace management in Europe: Evidence from ten countries. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 3: 409 - 433, 1992. Paul Moody, Decision Making, London: Routledge, 1983. Hosted, Geert.
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Managing people: strategies for success. New Delhi: Global Business. 1992 French, Wendall F. Human Resources Management. University of Washington. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 1998.
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Research essay sample on Human Resource Management Human Resource Department