2

I am a manager in an EU company of about 300 people in 3 countries. My company also had (until last week) a branch in Moscow with about 75 people. This branch generated about 25/30% of my company revenue and it was supposed to grow to 150/160 people by the end of 2023. After Russian invasion of Ukraine, during last week my company fired all the Russian employees, closed the Moscow branch, canceled all contracts with Russian clients and put our Russian website offline*.

I work in my company headquarter where there are the only 4 Russian employees not working in Moscow and having a EU contract instead of a Russian one. For 2 of them I’m (technically) their direct manager: they were assigned to me 2 years ago but they’ve never worked on my projects and I’ve never been involved in the Russian projects. I met one of them once and exchanged a few emails (less than 10 and last more than 1 year ago), the other I’ve never had any contact with.

After a brief chat with my boss, he informed me that my company will fire these 4 employees but (due to their contract not different from ours apart from the related work VISA) my company needs a few weeks. My boss did not know if my company already informed these people, but probably they didn't. My boss also said to simply wait and do nothing, but he did not offer any useful advice in case one of my subordinates contacts me.

I don’t think any of my 2 subordinates will contact me (in fact my plan is simply to ignore this situation until the end), but if this does happen, what are the right actions I should do? Try to respond to their questions? Should I forward their inquiries to my boss? Should I ignore them until HR steps in? Any other option?

* = I’m not here to judge my company actions and if they were appropriate and/or correct.

5
  • 6
    Why have you not already asked your boss what to do in the situation? Mar 8 at 14:36
  • My boss is not easy to contact. In the brief chat we had he was unable to give me practical advices. His advice was simply "don't do anything and wait, probably they will not contact you"
    – Joel Man
    Mar 8 at 15:00
  • 1
    That sounds like an answer to me. At the least it should be in the question, it is vital info.
    – User65535
    Mar 8 at 15:05
  • If they are not working in Russia, you may want to contact the boss and make the business case for keeping them. To wit, there are a bunch of projects that had been sent to Russia that all of a sudden need new people. These people can help the company gain those projects. As long as these people are in a different country, they can still provide value to the company.
    – David R
    Mar 8 at 15:46
  • @DavidR I don't know what the Russian projects were, but they were specific for Russian market. I don't think they can be used elsewhere
    – Joel Man
    Mar 8 at 15:59

3 Answers 3

9

You already answered your own question in the end :)

As it is not your responsibility, you do nothing.

Also, there is no useful information you can provide to these people, so all you can do is say that you have no useful information or, in case you want to be nice, forward their inquiry upstairs

2

If they contact you about regular work stuff, then respond as you normally would, about regular work stuff.

The trick is what happens if they get wise to what's going on and think their own jobs may be in jeopardy (which it will be hard to hide). On one hand, you could get into trouble for hinting that they might be getting fired. On the other hand, (I believe) it's unethical to mislead them to think their job is not in jeopardy when you know that it is. So you're kind of stuck. If there's some way you can hint that their job might be in jeopardy without actually saying it outright, especially without leaving a trail, that would probably be optimal, in my opinion, but any indication from you in this manner could also land you in hot water.

2
  • Because I've never had a direct contact with these 2 people (with 1 of them literally no contacts), if I will contact them now it will be very strange
    – Joel Man
    Mar 10 at 9:05
  • 1
    @JoelMan I never said to contact them. If they don't contact you first, then do nothing; if they do contact you, then my answer applies.
    – Ertai87
    Mar 10 at 16:19
1

Don't do anything until HR tells you to. Maybe the company goes trough with the plan, maybe they don't. Let's not forget that the events are so recent that the decision process may still be ongoing.

What you can do: provide input to your manager about the consequences of this supposedly planned step (do you loose projects, do you need additional support) - if these are valuable employees and it comes down to the line this may be the things making the decision in the end.

2
  • Unfotunately I don't know these 2 people: even though I'm their direct manager I never worked with them, they never worked on my projects and one of the 2 I've never intercar in any way. So I cannot provide any judgment on them
    – Joel Man
    Mar 10 at 8:49
  • @JoelMan: to confirm: you manage people where you don't know the consequences if they were gone and don't have an opinion on theirs skills?
    – Sascha
    Mar 13 at 19:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .