Stage 3, Exclusivity.  You’ve successfully completed Stage 2 and everyone has decided to stop considering other options on the market.  Employees are taking their resume down from the job boards and employers are canceling the company job advertisement.  Something someone did or said was right and now we are EXCLUSIVE!

This stage is typically a few months into the hiring relationship and we are ready to commit to see this relationship through.  But, that doesn’t mean taking the relationship for granted.  Any relationship, personal or professional, is an investment. 

In romantic relationships, the man at this stage is introducing you to his friends, giving you a drawer at his place and maybe letting you shop for him.  In the workplace, your boss is comfortable introducing you to Clients – woohoo!!  Why is this woohoo???  It means they think you are going to stay and they don’t have to worry about turnover backlash with customers.  In addition, they are giving you a key to the office because they trust you, and letting you have decision making authority on vendor discussions.  All of a sudden your opinion is important!

Don’t take this for granted!  Just because you’re exclusive doesn’t mean you’re married, this could end if you don’t work at it.  Anyone married for 20+years (or even less to be honest), will tell you all relationships require work.  The same goes for work relationships.

On the employer side, how do you know the relationship is headed in the right direction and this new employee has long term potential?  Nonverbal communication is just as effective as written or verbal – the employee knows what you’re thinking and what you want before it comes out of your mouth.  I have an employee like this; she knows what I am thinking before I have even thought it.  It’s GREAT! 

Little quirks are appreciated and not an irritation.  Everyone is getting comfortable and a trust level is being built.

At this stage, believe it or not, the employee has the most control over the relationship, just like the woman would in romantic relationships.  In romantic relationships, the male has committed that he likes his partner and just wants to keep her happy.  He doesn’t want conflict, he doesn’t want headaches, he just wants status quo.  Employers are typically the same.  Everything is working, so let’s keep this momentum going, not rock the boat if you will.

This is when an employee who has shown their worth can negotiate for flexibility, pay, or more responsibility.  They have proven their worth and if you don’t want to lose them and start all over, I would recommend you keep an open mind, especially in the current 2015 market.  The hiring pool of QUALITY candidates is shrinking.  Work ethic and accountability isn’t what it once was. 

At my company, WorkDynamX, we recruit for all kinds of positions day in and day out.  We see all kinds of people, some good, some GREAT, some quirky and some that make us scratch our heads.

Word of advice from me to you.  If you have made it to the exclusivity stage and its working, don’t take the relationship for granted – work at it and keep it going in a positive direction.  I do believe we have professional soul mates and they are hard to come by. 

See you soon when we explore the second to last stage of ‘Dating’ in the workplace: Intimacy.

Kristi Telschow, CEO – WorkDynamX