What you need to know:
Last week, while talking to one of the bosses they told me that they were closing some of the branches and laying off some staff due to the Covid-19 effects
I work with a retail shop. Last week, while talking to one of the bosses they told me that they were closing some of the branches and laying off some staff due to the Covid-19 effects. He told me this in confidence, and now, I feel like I am in a tight situation knowing that many of my colleagues may be laid off, yet I still do not want to betray my boss’ trust. What should I do?
Hello Catherine, this is a sensitive situation you have found yourself in and no doubt uncomfortable for you, given that you know what is coming next. I think it is essential that you recognise that the current economic landscape has informed the decision being taken.
In doing so, management is trying to keep the business operational and prevent all staff from losing their jobs. Regarding the issue of confidentiality, I can not say why your boss has decided to share such sensitive information with you; it may well be that he trusts you or needed to discuss the matter.
His sharing this with you may indicate that he holds you in high regard and trusts that you are a person with high integrity. Given this disclosure, I advise you to remain silent on the issue and wait patiently until an official communication has been made.
You need to be aware that until an official public announcement has been made, management may still re-consider the decision or may choose to change the adjustment format. Because you cannot share what you know, you may want to consider playing a part in ensuring that the process in which staff are selected is fair. You could share ideas on how the selection is managed if you have ideas on what criteria could be used, share that with him.
You could also table consideration where staff should be moved from full-time to part-time, which would affect staff pay packages but still, keep them employed. While your boss has shared this confidential information with you, indicating that he trusts you, you need to be careful and ensure that you do not get involved in information sharing that puts you at risk or compromises your trust with your colleagues.
I suggest that if you find this “sharing of information” continues with other aspects and you start to feel uncomfortable, you need to ask that he stop sharing information with you. Your position at this point would protect your integrity and trust with colleagues.
Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]