Another chief executive has resigned following an investigation which confirmed they were in a consensual relationship with an employee. Ok this was and in the US where it is increasingly common for companies to impose a non-fraternisation policy between managers and employees irrespective of whether they have direct management responsibility for their partner. But what happens in US today happens in London tomorrow.
As a single, overambitious, senior manager, working excessively long hours, I only meet people through work. If my Local Authority had adopted such a non-fraternisation policy I would have.....been in a lot of trouble. I met my wife whilst we were both members of the senior managers team of a large housing association. Would we both have been asked to leave?
I recognise it is highly inappropriate to have an intimate relationship with someone you line manage because it compromises the management role and once it becomes common knowledge undermines your authority. I recognise that the current focus on this is issue is due to the revelations about high profile men in positions power using their position to have non consensual sex. But no relationships with anyone in the same organisation well that should improve attendance at those interagency meetings!
How is this policy policed? Will HR be employing private investigators? Would a reference for a management post contain a question about knowledge of any past relationships alongside questions about attendance and “ suitability” for the post?
Does such a policy encourage gossip and malicious allegations? How does the manager prove they are just good friends? Is this an end to one to ones?
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk