By Mainak Maheshwari
The pandemic, it seems, has ushered in a new wave of workplace challenges. Moonlighting happens to be one of them. Recently, the corporate world has been abuzz with debates around this controversial topic. Some leaders have taken strong stands against moonlighting employees, calling the practice unacceptable and unethical. At the same time, there are a number of companies (and, not just startups) that have found a way to accept it.
The reality is that moonlighting has existed for generations now, and if the current employment trends are anything to go by, we know that it is here to stay, regardless of how one might feel about it. Therefore, the question business leaders need to focus on is how to navigate this unwelcome workplace challenge without resorting to extreme methods.
66% of employees in India admit that the best way to grow their skills is to change companies. On the brighter side, about 90% say that they would stay at their company longer if they are given more learning and development opportunities, revealing a powerful retention tool for businesses. While strong company policies to hinder people from moonlighting is one of the more obvious ways of dealing with the challenge, organizations would also benefit from truly listening to what their employees want. The issue is not restricted to moonlighting alone. An uninspired workforce, whether engaged in multiple employment or ‘quiet quitting’ (when employees do not feel motivated to do anything beyond the bare minimum), is ultimately a disengaged workforce — and that is a red flag for any organization.
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So, how can organizations optimize this situation?
- Create a culture driven by results
Today, the way we work has drastically changed. A result-driven culture in today’s context prioritizes output over traditional and outdated markers of ‘good’ employee behavior like the number of hours they spend at work. When leaders apply this output-oriented approach to their employee performance management, instead of centering it around the employee KPI/KRA, they ensure that their employees are driven to focus on the right task. This boosts overall efficiency and productivity. Output-oriented performance management enables employees to gain clarity on what they need to deliver and when without pressurizing them to meet any unreasonable/irrelevant demands. On the other hand it also helps managers evaluate the output of reports much more objectively.
- Create a support system
Organizations should also build robust programs and policies that support the result-driven culture. These will include performance management, rewards & recognition, and learning & development programs that drive the right behaviors and boost performance. Supporting and appreciating employee efforts (regardless of whether a company is dealing with moonlighting employees or not) can help employees feel more included and valued.
Read More | Moonlighting and its negative impact on the employee and the employer
- Make communication an ally
In any workplace, keeping a strong, open, and transparent channel of communication between leaders and team members is the key to building strong and trust-based relationships. In the specific case of moonlighting, communicating makes a critical difference, especially in the context of relaying the company’s vision, values, and policies. Employees must, at all times, be clear on what is allowed and what might be considered a violation of the company code. This removes any misunderstanding. When leaders communicate often and clearly, they ensure that every employee knows, understands, and embodies the company’s values, culture, and mission.
- Train your managers
An output-based work culture cannot be enabled without having everyone on board. This makes manager training, across levels in the organization, imperative. Every people/team manager must be equipped to adapt to an outcome-based workplace and have a clear view of the expectations they and their team members need to meet. However, this is not a one-time event. The training must be periodic to ensure that the change is managed well and managers can seamlessly transition into these new behaviors.
While moonlighting will continue to exist, as it has done in the past, what will really matter is how today’s organizations respond to it.
(The author is Director, Talent Advisory at PeopleAsset. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)