As Valentine’s Day approaches, a collective shiver reverberates across the HR universe. A holiday dedicated to love, romance, and affection being celebrated in the workplace? This could lead to *gasp* air hugs! Or more. Inconceivable!
Flowers, chocolates, and notes of adoration circulating the office or being posted on social feeds sounds like a recipe for trouble, or—at a minimum—cause for a strict talking-to. Taking a firm stance against these kinds of expressions among coworkers may sound wise, but in doing so, HR professionals and business leaders would be missing an opportunity.
As the workplace changes, old ideas are being pushed aside to make room for fresh perspectives that can positively affect you and your teams’ day-to-day. Actions once considered unthinkable in the professional realm are now being re-examined. When Valentine’s Day is observed the right way, it has the potential to strengthen bonds and reinforce a culture of friendship and inclusion. And, while Valentine’s Day may only occur once a year, organizations who embrace its overarching themes can reap the benefits every day.
When you think about it, it’s not very different from traditional recognition and appreciation—and we already know the power they hold. Here are some advantages of promoting the spirit of Valentine’s Day in your organization.
It improves communication. Telling your team members and coworkers how you feel—in a platonic way, of course—helps spur conversations and leads to better understanding of individual roles and contributions. The sentiment here is less “I like you” and more “I like what you do.” And, when people know what they need to do to be successful or garner the attention and respect of their managers or peers, they’re more likely to respond with more of that behavior.
It drives connection. Remember what it was like as a kid when valentines were being traded among classmates? It could be a bonding experience or an isolating one. Establishing a feeling of belonging through acknowledgement, admiration, or appreciation helps your people feel confident, safe, and part of the team—and your organization’s bigger picture.
It allows for vulnerability. Thinking about those old ideas, one of the biggest notions that is so last century is the idea of the robotic employee: An emotionless drone who goes to work, gets the job done, and goes home. What we’ve learned today is that when we allow for openness and humanity to permeate our interactions, deep, meaningful, trusting relationships can be formed. When you’re willing to lower your guard—and express feelings of gratitude, for example—you open the door for profound results.
So, go ahead, write a personal note thanking a colleague or highlighting one of their positive attributes, whether it’s handwritten, via email, or on a social platform. On February 14, or any day of the year, sharing a little love is always a welcome idea <3.