Are Companies Approaching Moonlighting Wrongly?
Moonlighting is typically defined as secretly doing an additional job, on top of a current or regular job. It can be looked at as “illegal” work from an employer perspective but for the employees, it is a secondary project/job that helps them make extra bucks.
Moonlighting in the Age of Gig Work
Employees taking up part-time gigs is a common phenomena in the IT industry. Platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr provide small-time work or projects for freelancers, consultants or Software Development Companies looking to connect. Such platforms have not just helped freelancers make a living out, but also have enabled regular employees to spend additional hours, beyond their work hours, to earn more.
The current concern over moonlighting is primarily with the second job, which requires an employee to spend another 8-9 hours. With the advent of the Work From Home (WFH) model during the pandemic, employees utilized their commute time and breaks not just to run personal errands, but also opt in for extra work.
Debate around Employee Ethics & Integrity
Ethics and Integrity are very important ingredients of success – both parties, employee and employer – should uphold their actions. The debate around the current spree of firing related to Moonlighting has been about integrity. What companies also mean through this move is that employees should not do a second job or a freelancing assignment impacting their full-time job.
Let’s get into the specifics on what an employee should NOT do:
Second job which overlaps with their current/full-time job.
Working for a competing employer or client.
Reducing the efforts at their present job.
Different Approach to Moonlighting is Need of the Hour
Perhaps, many organizations are approaching Moonlighting incorrectly. Instead of projecting it as an offense, companies should embrace it and educate employees on the nitty grittiest involved in moonlighting as well as define the do’s and the don’ts. But, how do you actually do it?
It is astounding to learn that employees are ready to go the extra mile on top up assignments and gain broader knowledge and experience about a new work environment or a new client. In such a case, their primary employer needs to find ways to tap into these experiences which could be a win-win for both, the employer and the employee.
Companies, eventually, should work towards providing opportunities within the organization for such talented employees who can take up gig work or new projects, beyond their regular work and pay them accordingly. This approach will not only benefit employees, but also allows companies to deliver projects at lower costs. Additionally, this has a direct impact on employee retention, which helps an organisation build a workforce that gains more experience in less time.
(Author: Siva Bikkina is the CEO of TechDoQuest, a Canadian Company offering Software Development and IT recruitment services.)