fNew research shows that 25% of employees in the UK run a side hustle outside of work. Employee side projects may involve a second job, freelancing or a new business idea and it is becoming a popular way for business-savvy professionals to pursue a passion or earn an additional income.
The pandemic has caused all sorts of changes to the standard working day and has led many people to reevaluate their career goals. Remote working has enabled a more flexible way for employees to work; as well as saving them time on the daily commute, workplace processes have been improved and are now more efficient working to respect employee time. This new approach values employee time by canceling out unnecessary meetings and allowing workers to log on and off at a time that is most productive for them. With this spare time and period of change over lockdown, some have taken the opportunity to start up a new business project.
But for employers, knowing exactly how to manage an employee who has a second job can prove to be challenging. It is important to note that companies will risk losing talent and closing off from new opportunities for growth if the wrong approach is taken. Supporting an employee with a side hustle outside of work will not only benefit the individual, but the wider business too, explains Julie Lock, commercial director at workforce management solutions provider Mitrefinch (An Advanced company).
Here are the most important steps to consider when managing an employee with a side hustle:
Create room for open communication in the workplace
It will be beneficial for the employee and their employer if both parties are transparent with each other. Whilst employees are not always obliged to communicate with their employer if they are seeking additional work, employment contracts must be checked first to ensure none of the agreements are being broken or abused.
Line managers should put the time in to build a trusting relationship with all their employees, by encouraging open communication in the workplace and showing an interest in the professional and personal lives of their team, it will help to develop this. If a member of staff mentions their side hustle in a 1-2-1 meeting or review, then learning about their new business idea, discussing the logistics of this work alongside their main job and making them aware of their rights is an invaluable first step. This communication will help to remove any problems that may arise in the future such as direct competition or burnout.
To offer further support as a line manager, it might also be helpful to ask what inspired the employee to begin this side hustle. By doing so, employers place themselves in a positive position by learning more about their staff, as well as their personal development goals. Beyond this, line managers are ensuring that all staff at any level feel content at work and are receiving enough support – be that financially or personally. Research by CV-Library has shown that a third of those with secondary jobs would give it up if their full-time employer offered to increase their salary. This suggests that more needs to be done by companies to put better support in place for employees so that they feel comfortable voicing any issues at work, and won’t be discriminated against for doing so.
Establish a culture built on trust
Pressuring an employee to discontinue their secondary job is a sign of bad management, and is more likely to reflect a weakness in leadership and the wider company. Establishing trust in the workplace and having confidence in each team member is evidence of strong management. If these factors are slacking, then the management team may need to review their processes and make some changes.
Trust further benefits the workplace by encouraging healthy relationships, which will inevitably lead to more efficient teamwork that inspires collaboration – ultimately, boosting productivity levels and staff happiness. Management can build trust in the workplace in a number of ways, for example by being honest with their team, listening to them and showing an appreciation for their work.
Have a system in place to monitor productivity and performance
Keeping an eye on individual (and team) performance is another way that management can maintain total transparency across the whole business. This activity will also help to highlight any problems that arise, for example, if an employee is no longer completing tasks on time or continues to miss important meetings, then having a proactive approach and checking in with this individual will prevent things from spiralling.
Adding to this, management will need to take appropriate action if they begin to notice an employee’s activities outside of work are impacting their performance at work. For example, a more formal meeting should be held to remind the employee of the working time regulations and ensure that they are having enough rest outside of their core hours. Even if a member of staff has secondary employment, the responsibility still falls on the employer to protect their wellbeing and so it’s important that this is considered at all times.
Always strive to support employee success and development
Management should put their employees first at all times. Demonstrating support, interest and encouragement is the most productive response that management can take if one of their employees announces a side project. By having such a positive approach, the company will be rewarded with a team who are happier and more productive in their main job as a result.
By ticking off these steps, employers will have a clear, successful and fair approach for managing employees with side hustles outside of work – adding to the company, rather than hindering it.