Relationships at work

My marketing and sales managers have recently announced they’re now a couple. While I have no problem with the relationship itself I’ve noticed their drinks and meals expenses have increased in frequency and I suspect they’ve been taking liberties with company money. They’ve both been assets to the company and I’d be reluctant to lose them, so how do I tackle the issue?

A. Julia Carter of Human & Legal Resources writes:

This is a potentially difficult situation and needs to be dealt with sensitively. I suggest that you have a meeting with them to discuss your concerns. However, before you do that I recommend that you consider all the possible risks.

You have raised the point about expenses but there are likely to be other areas where the business might need to be protected – for example are either of them involved in the other’s salary review negotiations, bonus payments or appraisals? Might there be client or customer confidentiality issues that need to be addressed? Have there been allegations of bias by other team members?

Once you have identified the risks you can discuss these in detail with the managers and agree a way forward. While looking at the wider issues you have a good opportunity for raising the specific issue in relation to expenses. By discussing these matters openly you stand a good chance of finding a solution that is acceptable to all.

If, however, they are not willing to find an acceptable solution you must make them aware of the risks to the business. You must consult with them about your proposals and concerns, taking into account their views. It is only then that you could impose a different way of working on them.


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