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Why employees moonlight and what you can do about it

Sweta Dash
19th Aug 2016
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According to a report published in The Huffington Post, one in two Indians hold more than one job for extra income or learning new skills. Owing to the reach of the various job portals, moonlighting, or having an extra source of income is no rarity. Employees could be doing it to simply earn more, or to pay off any debts, or to learn new skills, or just because they want to put their time to better use.

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Employers, however, have every right to be wary of such commitments. Even organisations that do not have an anti-moonlighting policy find it hard to tackle a situation where employees are focusing on another company. As an entrepreneur, here is why you need to be extra cautious about the moonlighting policies and rules in your company.

  • Security: it is possible for the employee to intentionally/unintentionally give out company secrets to the wrong people.
  • Inappropriate usage of resources: right from the office space to the fast internet connect – the company can be exploited.
  • Depreciating employee health: Too many working hours is never a good thing. It is bound to make a person rather lazy and lethargic.
  • Inefficiency: When a person has too much on their minds, their productivity is at stake, just adversely affecting their performance.

So what should you do if you find that your employees have part-time jobs? Here are a few tips that will help you face the problem:

Confirm your findings

Before taking any action with the employee, ensure that your information about the employee moonlighting is accurate and confirmed. Double-check and triple-check if you have to, but do not ever accuse your employees with any such accusation when they are probably not true. Any other step needs to be taken only when the employee is actually moonlighting.

Talk to your employee

Once you have confirmed that your employee is moonlighting, stay calm and talk to them. Steer clear of bad communication habits and make them feel comfortable. Enquire about the reasons that prompted them to take up a part-time job. Understand their point of view and assess the situation.

Offer alternative solutions

If possible, provide alternative solutions within the organisation. For example, if your employee has taken up a temporary part-time job to arrange for finances needed for a personal emergency, offer them flexible loan opportunities. This will not only help you alleviate your concerns regarding moonlighting, but also help you build more trust and loyalty in the employee.

Reach an agreement

In case, you find that the organisation cannot help the employee any further, and they really need to continue the second job, make a mutual agreement. Do not condemn your employee for moonlighting. They probably have a lot to deal with already. Draft security clauses and make it very clear that any security breaches and improper usage of resources will not be entertained.

Monitor performance

All said, you should not tolerate poor results due to decreasing productivity levels. Monitor your employee’s performance for a certain period to ascertain whether the fatigue or stress due to their second job is affecting the results of your organisation or not.

It might be extremely regressive to control what your employee does during his off-duty time, unless you find a genuine reason that affects your organisation. After all, there also exists substantial evidence to show that allowing moonlighting might also help your organisation in terms of improved employee retention, improved employee skills, improved networks and better trust. Hence, it is of paramount importance to exercise a certain degree of caution while implementing any anti-moonlighting clauses.

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