Want Employees to Love Their Jobs? Bring More Romance to Work

February 7, 2020 Jess Huckins

4-minute read


All of us could use more romance at work – if we see “romance” as a celebration of emotion, authenticity, imagination, purpose, and gratitude. A deeper focus on this HR-approved view of romance can help employees develop more trust in their leadership, organization, and each other, which contributes to a culture of connection and an alignment of personal and organizational values.

In other words, viewing the world of work through a romantic lens helps people settle into a comfortable, collaborative place where they feel valued, respected – and, yes, loved.

Trust negates toxicity.

According to David Horsager’s 2019 Trust Outlook, 85% of people believe a high-trust work environment helps them perform at their best. A toxic culture – the opposite of a high-trust workplace – negatively affects organizations by creating suspicion, drama, possessiveness, micromanagement, unproductivity, and high turnover.

I once left an organization at which I had no further space to grow, experienced pay inequity, and couldn’t trust my manager to give me a fair review, only to find out via LinkedIn that the rest of the team also turned over within the following six months. I believe there are stories like this across every industry, that organizations suffer because of it – and that it’s almost always preventable.

Robert Levering, co-founder of Great Place to Work®, has said, "A great place to work is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.” We’ve found that creating human moments that matter using peer-to-peer employee recognition and continuous performance management are some key elements to leverage when trying to develop such a workplace.

The Workhuman 2019 international employee survey report, “The Future of Work is Human,” found that trust is a form of relational currency that can be leveraged especially during times of change and uncertainty. Workers recognized in the last month at companies that have experienced a merger or acquisition in the last year are nearly 2x as likely to trust their company’s leadership team, compared to those who have never been recognized for their work (82% vs. 46%).

The data also suggests a strong relationship between more frequent communication and higher levels of trust, respect, and engagement. Employees who check in with their manager at least weekly as opposed to never are:

  • More than 2x as likely to trust their manager
  • Nearly 2x as likely to respect their manager
  • 5x less likely to be disengaged
  • Nearly 2x as likely to believe they can grow in the organization

My previous organization could have retained me, and likely more of my teammates as well, by giving its people leaders the knowledge, tools, and permission to show they cared about and respected us as humans.

Purpose contributes to people loving their jobs.

This Valentine’s Day – and every day thereafter – consider appealing to your employees’ connection to their work and the company’s mission. One of the best indicators of whether employees have decided to make an emotional investment in your organization is how they answer this question: “Would you recommend working at your organization to a friend or colleague?”

“The Future of Work is Human” found that workers are more than 2x as likely to recommend a friend when the work at their organization has meaning and purpose, and nearly 3x as likely to recommend a friend when their personal values align with their company’s mission. This alignment is also associated with more employees bringing HR-approved romance to work – those who feel connected through meaning and purpose are more than 4x as likely to love their jobs.

It’s up to HR and the leadership team to model and create the right culture. Giving recognition and approaching regular check-ins with authenticity, honesty, and transparency allows employees to do the same. When they feel appreciated and respected, the warmth helps love blossom – and helps the organization reap rewards of trust, belonging, community, and retention.


Finally, We Can Measure How Work Really Gets Done

Get Emotional, and Other Tips for Building Trust

Don’t Wait for HR – Build Your Work Family

About the Author

Jess Huckins

Jess Huckins is senior content manager, sales enablement at Workhuman. She enjoys investigative journalism and true crime, fantasy football, outdoor cooking, and adventuring in the wilderness with her three dogs.

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