I'm a manager with two direct reports. We are technical subject matter experts in a small industry that functions in part based on connections made at conferences. I attend a particular working group three times a year. I had budgeted and planned on both my employees attending with me for every event, because they need to be present for the conversations held at these conferences. It's hard to gain up to date industry knowledge without attending.
I hired my employees with the understanding that we would attend these events, but unfortunately, my manager wants me to bring only one of them with me to our next conference in October. Our work includes monitoring some technical systems, and upper management wants someone to stay home and monitor things without being distracted by conference events. This shouldn't come up as a regular problem because I expect to hire additional junior staff in the future who can handle this while my senior team members and I are at conferences.
For now, though, how do I choose which person to bring with me? My employees are equally senior and started on the same date. Neither is in better standing than the other. They are both remote, and more or less equidistant to the conference location. I had thought about myself staying home and sending both of them without me, but I'm supposed to be moderating a panel and must attend.
All I can think is to maybe bring this to them and see if they have strong feelings, and/or flip a coin. We all work very well together right now, so I don't want to sow discord and make either of them resent the other, or me.