Dealing with Employee Moonlighting – Part I

Dealing with Employee Moonlighting – Part I

Employee Moonlighting

In today’s economic climate moonlighting to make meet ends has become a way of life. Thousands and thousands of employees from diverse sectors are taking on additional jobs outside of their full-time employment. Among those joining the moonlighting ranks includes, business analysts, IT workers and lawyers. The rise in the ever-increasing circumstances has left employers facing various issues and in some cases left wondering on what they can do to deal with poor performance issues.

Most employers nowadays, include a no-moonlighting policy that prohibits employees from obtaining outside employment. The tricky part about instituting such a policy is that, it won’t legally help when preventing an employee from accepting outside employment. As a matter of fact, a few states have imposed “lawful conduct statutes” that forbids employers from taking adverse action against employees taking up moonlighting or any such similar off-duty activities.

The best thing for employers to do when facing such a tricky situation is to simply focus their attention on segments where there is a need to enforce legitimate concern. One such major area of legitimate business concern is productivity. Now if an employee takes up a night-shift at a 24*7 convenience store and cannot perform basic duties according to the required standards for the primary employer, it is most certainly an area of concern. Such concerns are most likely to be covered in policies that exist in the employee handbook, which are:

  • Performance Standards
  • Safety Standards
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional Conduct
  • Prohibited Behavior

Conflict of Interest policies in employee handbooks is more likely to cover a few more major issues concerning moonlighting, such as:

Ensure that the employment at your organization is the primary one. Company resources and materials aren’t used for any non-company ventures outside. Proprietary information isn’t shared with anyone outside of the organization. Lastly, secondary employment cannot be considered as conflict of interest, especially if the employee is working for a competitor, starting a business which is in direct competition with the primary employer.

Employers need to let their employees know that, their employment with the company is deemed as a primary one. Apart from this employees need to know what is expected of them productivity-wise. Now if a performance issue arises, it can be immediately addressed using proper disciplinary procedures set according to the company’s policies and modus operandi.

What Can Be Done About It?

In most cases, employee moonlighting happens due to following wants and desires:

Increase in income, Test a certain job profile, Lack of recognition and motivation at the place of primary employment, New start-up.

Nowadays, most employers are encouraging employees to give a heads up on moonlighting. By doing so, they can determine if there is any conflict of interest that may arise from such a situation. Secondly, it helps the employers remind the employee about certain performance standards that are expected at the organization.

In fact, infusion of certain HR policies such as performance appraisal and incentives can also help an organization increase job satisfaction of such employees, and avoid occurrences of moonlighting. An increase in pay and proper recognition, is another way to improve job satisfaction of disgruntled employees who deserve it. Organizations can also try job rotation, which can provide such employees can opportunity to gain more experience and climb up in the organization.

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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