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Managing protean career, Moonlighting phenomenon in 2023!

The current global economic downturn is arguably the worst since WWII. Most businesses have a plan for enduring challenging times. A regular employee, however, may not always have a strategy in place for such occurrences. The basic needs are now evolving and to fulfil them, thousands and thousands of employees from diverse sectors are taking on additional jobs outside of their full-time employment.

In today’s economic climate, moonlighting (having a second job, typically secretly and at night, in addition to one’s regular employment) has become a way of life for many such employees who are looking to earn extra income and accelerate their career growth. The word moonlighting is the most controversial word trending on social media these days. Some of the top leaders alleged it as cheating and on the other hand, some multinational companies promote it, but the fact is moonlighting has reported an increase of 28% in 5 years.

The pandemic has created a sudden shift in working patterns. According to Gartner, more than 30% of the Indian workforce will be working remotely by the end of 2022. The figures may change as the popularity of remote work or WFH does not appear to be fading. Employees in this remotely operating work landscape are able to receive more opportunities to indulge themselves in other jobs. The remote working culture has lowered employee engagement and severely affected the pay structure of employees. Looking at this scenario, it has become immensely important for HR leaders to understand this new trend of moonlighting and build efficient steps to not affect the productivity of their employees.

As there is a saying, everything has its own pros and cons. It is no hidden fact that it is considered to be a boon for organisations as they get the opportunity to collaborate with experienced talents that they earlier couldn’t hire due to budget constraints, but without doubt, this affects the productivity of the organisations too. Besides, it may also lead to conflict of interest and at times employees comprising with commitment and loyalty towards the organisation. While for employees and individuals it helps to
have extra income, more security and developing new skills, but as the workload increases it affects their sleep cycle causing fatigue throughout the day. It could further lead to burn out and performance slippage, eventually marring the entire purpose and benefits of having a second job.

Most organisations nowadays include a no-moonlighting policy that prohibits employees from obtaining outside employment, but it hasn’t stopped them from indulging in it. The best thing for employers to do when facing such a situation is simply redesign their working culture and follow the steps below to free their organisation from moonlighting.

1. Strengthen HR policies:

The most valuable asset of an organisation is its people. Keeping your employees happy can ensure your company’s resilience during any crisis that might get thrown its way. Employee motivation is the path that leads to employee engagement and strengthening employee engagement can ensure employee satisfaction.

Performance appraisals, awards and incentives are the best motivators for employees. It affects their psychology and makes them feel more motivated towards work and helps them to indulge more in the job. In recent research, it is found that 86% of moonlighting is increased by unsatisfied working conditions in the workplace. A well-designed policy can help the employer create an open and constructive environment and prevent employees from hiding their true intentions.

2. Sustained Employees recognition:

During the current times of uncertainty in the business world, maintaining and building a loyal workforce is one of the prime needs of the hour. Employee recognition has long been a cornerstone of effective management. But today, as the competition for talent escalates, it has become more crucial than ever to promote employee loyalty to reduce attrition and create a
stable business environment.

It is found that 78% of job retention is increased by high job recognition. A workforce can still feel demotivated even after a good salary if their work gets no recognition and appreciation. Make their efforts count by showing appreciation when they surpass expectations, hit a goal, or achieve an accomplishment. Holding an awards program to celebrate an employee’s corporate anniversary should be on your list. Besides, there are a lot of low-cost and also zero-cost ways to
provide employee recognition and appreciation on recurring and short intervals like timely positive feedback from seniors and managers. This will not only help organisations from having a loyal and engaged workforce but would also promote retention of talent.

3. Bestowing new challenges:

Humans get very easily bored of the same task and start looking for new challenges which can push their limits and entice them to learn and explore new opportunities. Job rotation as one of the strategies can provide new challenges and learning opportunities to the employees. It can help in building employee’s connections and enhancing their productivity and thinking bandwidth.

In recent research, it is found that 79% of employees are more engaged in organisations that provide more learning opportunities. Employees who can rotate roles and develop their skills, talents, and competencies are more motivated at their jobs, leading to improved job performance and overall higher motivation. Employees can also rotate between roles that maximise their performance capability, increasing their feeling of value and relevance within the
company. Building such a culture will not only help organisations in strengthening employee’s capabilities and develop multiskilled workforce but will ensure higher engagement protecting them from the shadow of moonlighting.

4. Revamping work culture:

Culture is the character and personality of any organisation. It is what makes your business unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours, and attitudes. To provide the biggest competitive advantage, an organisation’s culture must be strong, widely communicated, and reinforced. Work culture plays a significant role in keeping the employees happy, satisfied, and connected with the organisation.

According to research, employees feel more connected to the organisation by 4x if they have a good working culture. It’s important to provide a voice to the members of your organisation. Investing in your people is a strong way to elevate the workplace culture. Employees do not want to work for an organisation that makes them feel like they are on thin ice or doesn’t allow for a proper work-life balance. Creating a space where all parts of the organisation can feel both seen and heard is priceless. When people know they are genuinely cared about, loyalty comes naturally. Mapping out what is best suited for your leadership and employees and staying committed to providing the best possible culture for the company will help in building a barricade from moonlighting.

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