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There is a high probability that I will be changing jobs in the coming months, either internally or outside of my current company.

Because of the current situation, there is also a good chance that with me being gone, my team won't be as "protected" from the outside (and the pressure for offshoring) as while I'm here.

After telling my boss that "I resign", I will tell my folks.

Question: company loyalty would push me not to say anything about the possible offshoring to keep them very focused on two deadlines we have to meet. Team loyalty would push me to tell them and actually help them with their resumes, etc.

What do you think the best course of action is?

jhack's picture

You have a fiduciary responsibility not to divulge the offshoring possibility (I assume, based on your post). That plan might not come to pass, either, in which case you would be simply wrong.

How about:

1. Helping each of them develop their skills to the utmost, including understanding how to manage their careers (networking, resume, etc).
2. Make sure one of them is groomed to take your place.

These are the things that will help them in long course of their careers, not just at their current job.

John

Dani Martin's picture

Hi Vinnie -- I may be totally wrong and if I am, I hope Mark or Mike will correct me. As long as you are still an employee, I believe your responsibility is to the company. If you are expected to keep the information confidential, you need to. If one of my staff shared confidential information after resigning (or at any time!), I would never hire them again.

That being said, I think there's some things you can do to help your staff prepare that don't require you to tell them about the offshoring. You could encourage them to utilize the MT website and resources by sharing how helpful it's been for you. For example, during my weekly team meeting with my directs, we often discuss one of the podcasts or I'll share one with them that I want them to listen to. It might sound something like this: "Hey guys, I was on the MT website and stumbled across the resume podcast. It got me thinking that I haven't updated my resume in a while so I've scheduled some time to that this month. As your manager, I think it's my responsibility to not only help you do your job better but to help you develop and grow professionally. To that end, I'd encourage you to check out the website and the resume podcast." You could use the same technique with the other resources on interviewing, building a network, etc.

Also, you might want to check out the cast on Compassionate Layoffs (10/23/05). It's been a while since I listened to it, but I'm sure there are some nuggets in there you could apply to your current situation.

Good luck!

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="jhack"]You have a fiduciary responsibility not to divulge the offshoring possibility (I assume, based on your post).
[/quote]

What is fiduciary responsibility? Is it something legal?

[quote]
That plan might not come to pass, either, in which case you would be simply wrong.
[/quote]
It will, but maybe only in the long run, i.e. not before next year.

[quote]
How about:

1. Helping each of them develop their skills to the utmost, including understanding how to manage their careers (networking, resume, etc).
[/quote]

The problem is time. I might only have 2-6 weeks left here, depending on how well my boss takes my resignation. Starting to talk about resume out of the blue might be too obvious of a play if I wanted to hide the situation.

But I see your point: prepare them anyway, you never know what can happen.

[quote]
2. Make sure one of them is groomed to take your place.
[/quote]

There's only 2 of them - one of the reasons for offshoring development. One is my architect, who can lead the team technically but isn't comfortable with customers. The other is my developper, very good at quality and customer relationship.

I think my only play is to convince my boss to put them under one of my colleagues - my team would then formally disappear.

[quote]
These are the things that will help them in long course of their careers, not just at their current job.

John[/quote]
Thanks for the advice.

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="Dani ACS"]Hi Vinnie -- I may be totally wrong and if I am, I hope Mark or Mike will correct me. As long as you are still an employee, I believe your responsibility is to the company. If you are expected to keep the information confidential, you need to. If one of my staff shared confidential information after resigning (or at any time!), I would never hire them again.
[/quote]

The fact that cuts are going to be made in the backoffice functions is public knowledge; what's not is how much and when - even we managers do not know that.

You're helping me realize that because this is public knowledge (we received an email about it), I can actually go to them and tell them that there's 2 ways to mitigate the risk of a bad surprise: do extraordinary work, and prepare your resume :wink:

[quote]
That being said, I think there's some things you can do to help your staff prepare that don't require you to tell them about the offshoring. You could encourage them to utilize the MT website and resources by sharing how helpful it's been for you.
[/quote]

I think I'll start with the resume cast.

[quote]
Also, you might want to check out the cast on Compassionate Layoffs (10/23/05). It's been a while since I listened to it, but I'm sure there are some nuggets in there you could apply to your current situation.

Good luck![/quote]

Thanks for the advice.

jhack's picture

Fiduciary responsibility is a legal term that refers to a manager or officer of a company being obligated to act in the company's interests. Interpretations vary.

Whether one would actually end up in court isn't really my point; it's that you have a responsibility to both the company and your people. And divulging information (like future earnings, strategy, layoffs or offshoring) when it's not known outside of a circle of managers could well be considered acting outside the company's interests.

...and if you treat them well, they may want to join you whereever you go...

John

bflynn's picture

The fiduciary responsibility is your legal and ethical obligation to act in the company's financial interest, not yours. You are facing a conflict between what you want and what you know to be good for the company. The company did not pay you and entrust you with that knowledge so you could act in your own selfish interest.

The ethical choice is to remain silent. It is the choice you should make.

Brian

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="bflynn"]The fiduciary responsibility is your legal and ethical obligation to act in the company's financial interest, not yours.
[/quote]
My interest? Where do you see my interest in the question I asked?

[quote]You are facing a conflict between what you want and what you know to be good for the company. The company did not pay you and entrust you with that knowledge so you could act in your own selfish interest.
[/quote]
When you say "own selfish interest", I feel you are judging me on false premises. I never have my "own slefish interest" at heart, either at work or anywhere else for that matter.

[quote]
The ethical choice is to remain silent. It is the choice you should make.

Brian[/quote]
... and the ethical way to give advice is most certainly not the one you used.

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="jhack"]Fiduciary responsibility is a legal term that refers to a manager or officer of a company being obligated to act in the company's interests. Interpretations vary.
[/quote]
I see. I am wondering if there only would be legal obligations for legal officers of the company?

[quote]
Whether one would actually end up in court isn't really my point; it's that you have a responsibility to both the company and your people. And divulging information (like future earnings, strategy, layoffs or offshoring) when it's not known outside of a circle of managers could well be considered acting outside the company's interests.
[/quote]
Well, you see, as I mentioned in a previous post, backoffice restructuring is public knowledge and actually gives me an opportunity to start grooming them into thinking about their career (I have already started to do this with one of them).

[quote]
...and if you treat them well, they may want to join you whereever you go...

John[/quote]
I get your point, but in my case, very unlikely, unless they'd like to cross the pond :-)

jhack's picture

Vinnie,

I'm not a lawyer and don't really understand the law. I would not want to be in a situation where I'm defending my actions according to a narrow interpretation.

So for me personally, I try to behave in a way that I could comfortably defend regardless. Not knowing the details of your situation, my gut tells me that I would not tell them there are outsourcing plans for them.

If you get them going on "career" issues, the smart ones will figure it out.

John

bflynn's picture

The advice is given as what I believe is most helpful to you. Of course, you may reject it.

Brian

thaGUma's picture

vinnie, say nothing of your concerns to your directs. Perhaps talk to piers or superiors about their future after you have resigned (although do not be surprised if they refuse to discuss the matter).

Nothing you have posted indicates a definate job loss for your either of your two directs. You may have concerns, but you may actually weaken their position if you set them thinking that they could be fired - it will change their actions within the company.

Evil me would say that if either of your directs' employment is at risk then the company is the one who should make the decision. Your directs are not children to be protected.

If you choose, you are able to write a business case to keep your directs as part of your hand over package - it will be disguised as an employee review. It is an opportunity for your superiors to see an up to date appriasal of your directs. This could tip the balance in their favour when considering lay-offs. Consider though that your superiors will not be happy if you exagerate.

Chris

vinnie2k's picture

Thanks to all of you for your posts.

Lo and behold, we get a public (!) memo this morning about how offshoring to India (!!) needs to be a mandatory part of our objectives for next year.

I intend to discuss the implications of this memo with my team:
a) work even harder at providing good value for our customers
b) always have your resume up to date