Forums

One of the people who have worked for me (not directly but matrix style) is on a "list" (economy in the UK is not so healthy). Let’s call him John. John is a contractor. John does not know yet - but I do and so does John's manager. The line management / management style here is such he will not be told directly. HR will be told, who will tell John's agency, who will then his agent, who will then tell John. We've been instructed under no circumstances to tell John - apparently the "process" is to let him know indirectly.

I don't think this is humane. I've worked with John for several months. He has added value to my project. He adds value to the team and projects he is on now.

Both John's manager and I share the same line manager. Both John’s manager and I have separately approached our line manager and asked if we should let John know at the appropriate time. The answer is always a flat out “no”. My line manager does not have to deal with John when John finds out. John will come to me or his line manager and ask what is going on, why didn’t we tell him, etc? This is not new – this has happened previously, only previously I didn’t have the luxury of reaching out for help.

Should I tell John? Do you have any other options or ideas?

Thanks
Anandha

HMac's picture

Sorry Anandha, but I think I'm going to give you the answer you're not looking for: say nothing to John. You've been given specific instructions by your organization.

Yes, this sounds like a lousy way to run things. But it's not about YOU (and John would be wrong if at some point he blamed YOU).

If he's a contractor - and not an employee - he may be better prepared to deal with the end of the relationship than you think.

-Hugh

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I agree with Hugh. You have been given a reasonable management instruction to not tell a contractor that his contract is being terminated, you have a duty to follow that instruction.

Also, as Hugh said, he's a contractor. If he hasn't realised that he's probably going to be first in line to go when money is tight (as it's getting right now in the UK) then he's probably not been paying attention. Contractors get paid more than permanent staff doing the same work, in part, because of the precariousness of their employment. They can usually be terminated pretty much any time at pretty much zero notice, termination goes with the territory.

If you feel that you must do something for him then, when he comes to you to say he's been terminated offer to be a referee if he needs one and to put the word out to your network in case someone else might have work for him. You might also want to point him to MT. The odds are, however, that his agent will have something lined up fairly quickly, we're not in a recession yet.

Stephen

Anandha's picture

Hugh,

thanks for your response.

Stephen,

Apologies for not being clear - I've got no problem with letting go of people. Its to be expected in the current economic climate. My issue is strictly with the comms.

Thanks
Anandha

US41's picture

[quote="ponnamp"]
Should I tell John? Do you have any other options or ideas?[/quote]

No.

Obey your boss, and respect your company's policy regarding notifying contractors.

Warning: It is dangerous to allow yourself go so far beyond compassion that you are overwhelmed by empathy. He is a contractor, he knows the risks.

Further, your company says the risk of not going through the agency is not yours to assume on their behalf. They say you are not a decision maker. This is between your company and his agency, not you and he.

If you worked for me, and our company had this policy, and you told him yourself anyway with purposeful intent to circumvent our decision making power after I directly ordered you not to do so, you might be finished managing people for me. It would be pure insubordination, and I'm pretty sure if I took this to Wendii in HR, she'd agree with me that having you as a manager was a risk and would probably not be too happy you did it, either.

Keep your mouth shut and let the policy work as designed. If you cannot stomach this policy, then find another job, resign, and leave on good terms.

Anandha's picture

All

Thanks for your advise. Given the majority (i.e. 100%) vote was to keep quiet - I did. The contractor was told today via the agency.

Thanks
Anandha

HMac's picture

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"]If you feel that you must do something for him then, when he comes to you to say he's been terminated offer to be a referee if he needs one and to put the word out to your network in case someone else might have work for him. You might also want to point him to MT.[/quote]

...and now you might find the opportunity to apply Stephen's good advice!

-Hugh