Dating a team member: Yes or No?

Jul 19 / Sally Acton
So every quarter, without fail, I date every member of my team. Yup, it sounds weird, but it’s totally true. In fact, we all date each other once a quarter.

No, we are not professional swingers, but thanks for asking.

So why do we do it? Well, in a nutshell, because every relationship involves work and time and the same applies for your team. If you’re not prepared to put in the time to nurture your relationships, you can’t expect them to flourish.

Also, it’s fun and a great way to get to know new members quickly, in fact, it’s part of our on boarding process – you have to set up a date with everyone. And trust me, nothing breaks the ice faster than that when you’re starting at a new job!
We also use the time to gather sentiment about our company – everyone has to complete a dating questionnaire that we use as part of our EX tracking and the questions change each time we go through the motions.

This allows us to use the time to find out where each staff member feels they need assistance and where teams can work better together. It also gives the team a constructive and relaxed way to address any issues or areas in which they are having difficulty in a one on one manner as well as to highlight the ways in which they prefer to work.

This leads to better communication within the team structure and a lot less conflict.

Why do I enjoy dating my team members?

I love doing it because of the effort that everyone makes – not just in actually clearing the time, but by prioritising the other person and sticking to the commitment (too often team chats get bumped for clients and team members walk around feeling unimportant). Another reason why I personally enjoy dating my team is because they put so much effort into making the dates fun and special.
They buy treats or favourite foods. They set up a fun blanket or separate space at work for the date. They choose a song or video clip to break the ice or have some photos prepared for what they’ve been doing or special moments from the previous quarter. They care.

They care enough to go above and beyond and to make sure that their fellow team mates feel special for those 30 minutes.

Does it kill a week of productivity? Yes it does.

Does it add to our culture and positivity? HELL YES!

And trust me that the good times far outweigh the bad.  

Some tips and thoughts for your company

  • Depending on your size, work out if you want to use departments or teams as the cut off.
  • Make sure you have a way to capture and measure progress.
  • Set a good example from the leadership team – make it fun and don’t move it out because of ‘more important’ things – your team must know how important they are to you.
  • Keep it fresh and fun, but do have a purpose and structure for your questions
  • Encourage your team to find out more about each other, it must be an opportunity to promote a sharing of stories and experiences.

Reward those who go above and beyond.

And above all, have fun!