Hearts are up in store windows and the flower advertisements are flying. While new lovers may be aflutter with anticipation of what the holiday will bring, many HR managers are slightly less enthusiastic about the day of love. We’re here with some advice about how to keep the day sweet and avoid common HR headaches that accompany Valentine’s Day.
1. Acknowledge the Day
Some of your employees are bound to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether with each other or with spouses and outside acquaintances. Ignoring the day altogether certainly won’t improve your company culture or garner you any points for fun. Worse, ignoring the holiday leaves the door open for employees to take matters into their own hands when it comes to celebrating the holiday at work.
2. Review and Communicate Fraternization Policies
Workplace romances happen, so it’s important that everyone be in the know about the rules that are in place. Reviewing the fraternization policies to make sure that they’re up to date and in line with what’s actually going on in the workplace a little ahead of Valentine’s Day is a good idea. Sending a copy of the policy to department managers or posting it in a prominent place for all to see may help prevent issues.
3. Encourage Inclusive Celebrations
Bringing sweets to work or planning a big office lunch for Valentine’s Day can make everyone feel appreciated and can make the holiday a bit more joyful. Encourage employees to wear themed clothes and have fun with the day, but underline inclusiveness. Preferential treatment of some employees by peers or superiors can make other employees feel excluded.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Depression
Valentine’s Day can be a painful day for those that have recently divorced or separated and can make some singles feel very lonely. Unfortunately, the sad feelings can lead to depression for some. Keep an eye out for workers that seem to be avoiding interaction or whose productivity fluctuates around this time and be sure to let everyone know that there’s an open-door policy for anyone that wants to talk.
Making emotional counseling available is a good way to assist employees with any feelings of depression or loneliness that may set in at this time of year (or any time of year). There are many options for counseling, including text counseling and video conferencing, that could be included as part of a wellness plan. Some employees may be more comfortable handling personal matters in this way.
5. Share the Love
Small acts of kindness can show employees that you care on Valentine’s Day. Bringing in coffees for everyone or offering a few words of praise for each employee can go a long way in making people feel appreciated. Nice gestures can be contagious and may make the day a little brighter for everyone.
With some forethought, Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful day in the workplace. Keep it lighthearted, but be sure to manage some of the common HR pitfalls that come with the holiday. When done right, it’s a holiday that can strengthen bonds within the workplace.