‘Employee Moonlighting’ has become one of the hottest topics in the public domain from an obscure HR concept, owing to the recent firing of multiple employees by an Indian tech giant. Due to this news, people are having heated arguments on whether it is ethical for an employee to ‘moonlight’.
On the other hand, many support the company’s action by claiming that if the employees violate the company policies they are aware of, they should face the consequences of their actions. So, what is moonlighting? As an employer, what can you do to avoid employee moonlighting in your organisation? And how does an HRMS help in preventing it?
What is Employee Moonlighting?
‘Employee Moonlighting’ refers to working for a second employer while being an active employee of another organisation. It is an old concept and has been around since the start of employment.
Employee moonlighting becomes an issue for the primary company when the employee becomes less productive. Since they are spending their time and energy undertaking the work of another organisation, they won’t be as engaged with their primary organisation. Subsequently, their productivity starts dropping. On the other hand, if the second company is doing its business in the same domain as the primary company, it also creates a conflict of interest as the employee may have confidential information about their primary organisation.
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Rise in Moonlighting
The recent global pandemic and the consequent lockdown gave rise to the remote and hybrid work culture. As a result, more employees are currently working from their homes. Additionally, many organisations currently carry out their daily work with a hybrid work system wherein the employees turn in to their workplace on certain days of the month while working from home on other days.
Remote working has increased the prospect for employees to start moonlighting as it becomes more challenging for companies to keep tabs on their productivity and whereabouts while working remotely. Many employees are unaware of the repercussions of moonlighting, and its unclear ethicality has also been a factor in its rise in recent years.
How HRMS helps avoid Moonlighting
It is a well-known fact that implementing a good Human Resource Management System (HRMS) has a marked impact on employee engagement and retention. Due to these qualities of the HRMS it also aids in avoiding employee moonlighting to a certain degree. The most factors contributing to it are:
A robust HRMS solution helps improve the overall communication within the company by streamlining the administrative HR processes and improving organizational transparency with increased communication. Additionally, many modern HRMS allow employees to download documents such as offer letters, non-disclosure agreements, etc.
The HRMS also allows them to download the company policies whenever required. Having these options handy helps the employees understand the company policies better without contacting their HR department. Additionally, since most companies have a clause against moonlighting and the right non-compete policies, the employees will be discouraged from accepting work from another employer. Moreover, it also helps to candidly chat with the employee to understand whether they are moonlighting for financial reasons and suggest changes in their salary structure if required.
With the help of an interactive HRMS, the employees will remain engaged with their companies for longer. Modern HRMS solutions also provide interactive ways for employees to engage with their companies. Web-based ESS portals, intelligent chatbots, geofencing-based attendance, simplified requests, timely updates and notifications are a few options companies can utilise to ensure their employees stay engaged with their organisation.
For example, having the option to request leave right from their smartphones provides the employees with a more accessible alternative to mailing their supervisor and waiting for a reply. Similarly, biometrics-based attendance such as selfie attendance and fingerprint scanning ensure accurate and infallible attendance data, right from the employees’ smartphones. By simplifying their life this way, the employer can ensure that the employees feel connected with their company and a part of something larger than themselves. It provides them with a purpose which can be reinforced by empowering them with the right tools like an ESS portal.
With flexible work options, employers fear their employees might start moonlighting. However, its chances become slim if they stay engaged with their current organisation. Hence, companies should provide either remote or hybrid work options and support their employees in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You can undertake employee surveys using your HRMS to understand the popular opinion regarding remote work and implement the policies per their choice to gather maximum engagement. The roster management features of a robust HRMS also helps the HR with easy employee shift allocation and streamlined workday management.
You can also allocate tasks to specific employees using the HRMS to ensure they have a sense of responsibility towards their duties. Having a visual aid helps them concentrate on the task at hand, even if they are working remotely. It also enables the managers to understand and appreciate their employees’ work. All these options help improve the employees’ productivity and engagement with their primary organisation, thereby avoiding the need for moonlighting.
Modern HRMS also comes with timesheets and remote employee monitoring tools to ensure that you gain maximum returns on your investment. You can utilise these tools to track and measure the productivity of your employees and monitor their daily activities. It also provides additional insights into their productivity and helps them take necessary actions.
Remote monitoring tools are usually a part of the HRMS, and it helps in measuring employee performance effectively. You can also generate custom reports with the required parameters and gain actionable insights that will help optimise and streamline your workforce for maximum efficiency. It will also help identify slackers and understand whether someone is showing signs of moonlighting, such as lowered productivity, taking more leaves than usual, etc.
Companies should also have a growth mindset when it comes to their employees. They should provide their employees with ample opportunities for growing professionally. It will motivate them to stay longer with their organisation as they realise their profit in staying with an organisation interested in their employees’ development. It will reinforce their faith in their employer and help them refrain from moonlighting.
By providing additional opportunities for training and development, companies are also developing the skillset of their workforce, which will prove beneficial for both the workforce and the company itself. A better workforce will lead to better products and services; hence, investing in your employee ultimately helps in the long term.
It is evident that now is the right time to implement an HRMS, considering the recent rise in employee moonlighting. As we have seen throughout this blog, deploying a robust HRMS helps employers and employees undertake their tasks effectively.
Additionally, it is an excellent tool to improve your employee engagement rate, which ensures that they stay loyal to your company for longer. On the other hand, you can monitor your employees’ activity, make them feel empowered and generate reports to ensure that no one is ‘moonlighting’ behind you.