Remote collaboration picked up in the last couple of years to the extent where it emerged as a feasible model for many Enterprises and Startups, who then went on a remote hiring spree. They could run their operations with accessible, reliable, and productive resources sitting far off. Remote hiring made all the sense, financially and as a viable avenue to navigate the pandemic challenges.
All this was great till some managers started noticing a dip in the performance of their subordinates and peers. It came to light that many of them were moonlighting on the side. The emerging opportunities alongside the discreet nature of remote work gave them the immunity to branch out and work for other firms. Is your organization worried about the same? If yes, then read on:
Talk it Out: Organize sessions with employees now and then and listen to their concerns. They may be missing that zeal or zest to stay committed. Unmotivated employees take up side-hustle when their experience in the current job starts to fade. It’s hard to feel excited in a mundane space. It’s then your prerogative to reintroduce that spark in their workspace.
Discuss how they would like to proceed and see if there’s a role that matches their interests better. Some years ago, a long-term employee in a marquee IT company took up side-work during the pandemic because it allowed more room for creativity. The present job package was more than he could have hoped for, but it failed to stimulate his interests.
The lack of new challenges coupled with exciting projects popping up in cash-rich smaller companies sends him two-timing for creative fulfilment. Corporates can review employee concerns about job satisfaction. An unhappy yet reliable asset can be convinced to stay for newer projects, job rotation, overseas visits, exciting assignments, and other changes that match their expectations.
Renegotiate compensation and duties: Disgruntled employees may be doing it for additional income. If that is the case, performance appraisals or increments alongside proper recognition and appreciation can elevate job satisfaction. In essence, open more avenues to make more money. Also, try moving them into another project to see if a change might reignite their passion.
Additional monetary compensation and benefits may take them off the moonlighting track. Give them a higher pay package or find a way to elevate the quality of their perks. Even better, find a way to get them to give those extra hours to you for a healthy sum. This way, they stay loyal to you beyond the contracted hours and get the extra financial boost they expect.
Tweaking your work policies: The contractual documentation must explicitly clarify what an employee expects. Lay it out as multiple clauses in the employment contract and get their consent – no exceptions and no drama. Don’t forget to list all the consequences if they were to violate the same. Employees must treat their job with your organization as their primary job, and office hours must revolve around official work only.
We are not just referring to a conflict of interest policy around competitors, but a hindrance clause policy that prohibits additional employment entirely. The likelihood of losing intellectual property or having to deal with fatigued-under performing employees is too much of a cost to bear. Go out of your way and explain these clauses and make sure they understand them.
Monitor Employee Activity for red flags: Deploy tools to monitor employee activity on their systems. Keep tabs on employees’ work practices on their system, their working hours with your organization are meant strictly for you. Track internet usage, record key logs, collect geographical data, take screenshots periodically, monitor email & chat conversations, and archive conversations in the cloud.
Provide corporate hardware and peripherals, which are pre-configured with the necessary applications and protocols to prevent unauthorized access or misuse of devices and sensitive data. A remote desktop environment or constant surveillance through the webcam/microphone and in-built tools like TopTracker, Teramind, ActivTrak, and more enables optimum productivity from resources.
Measure Performance: Under-committed employees tend to slack off during office hours. Either due to excessive fatigue and lack of rest or being preoccupied with work from the second job. They slog it out, work extra hours, handle personal commitments, and then can’t find any time to cool off. Dual employment leads to lower efficiency, output, and more leaves, besides recurring health issues.
Monitor their performance; had they always been clumsy and averaged less, or is this a bit unusual? It’s okay to be skeptical, create reports, and use the data to analyze their productivity. This helps to know how they are faring all month. Do they meet deadlines, deliver optimal quality, response window, iterations, and so on? This data will give a better insight into a worker’s life.
Take disciplinary action: If it comes down to it and there’s nothing else you can do, step it up and go the hard way. A small fine for a violation is not too bad – more of a reminder to toe the line and act like a devoted employee. Also, serves as a good deterrent for not continuing these secondary activities. Further violations could up the disciplinary action. Keep the leash and don’t give them the clear.
An employer in an IT organization that catered to SMBs ended up spot-firing an employee after hearing about his programming expertise from a rival C-level executive at an industry expo. The competitor who was using the employee’s services unintentionally let slip his name during a chit-chat. The employer calls him in and terminates him straight away – no second chances, out you go!
If it goes on, then it’s best if you suspend or fire the employee. No worker must get in the way of your organization scaling new heights. If the department’s growth is stunted, the pace is slow, clients aren’t happy, work doesn’t get done, and other issues keep emerging, then it’s time to disconnect. An unprofessional employee isn’t worth your time, effort, and money.
Still entangled with the last: An employer finds out eight months into an employee’s service that he hadn’t quit his previous company. Post-work, he would stay back and finish some of their tasks using the applications installed in his system. Why? Because he did not have a premium license of his own. One such day, the manager caught him, took his case to HR, and demanded an explanation.
It all came out in the open. But, Corporate didn’t do anything or did not want to. His skills were rare, and his abilities rarest. There was a sheer lack of talent for that designation and experience. Plus, by now, he had proven himself as a star performer. He couldn’t use the office systems for anything other than official work, but beyond this, there we no consequences; he was retained. Corporate was compelled to extend his tenure – all because he was too integral, moonlighting or not.
First you spoil them, then they blackmail you: A senior technical leader accepted a position with a notice period of 60 days with a leading company in India. He expressed that, since he is on the bench, he can support the project for 4-6 hours. The company was in need, and offer backouts were rampant, so they decided to entertain this request and assigned him a project to lead, given the dire need of someone around. The guy ended up being a great resource who managed the project well and was now willing to support it full-time as he was about to get released. He made himself indispensable to the project.
2 weeks before his start date, he started throwing tantrums about holding a great offer, something he can’t say no to but would like to continue supporting this project. Reading the situation well, the company and client’s trust in him – he decided to hold them to ransom. He used the situation very well to his advantage. The company had no other way, as he had built a good trust with the client. They had to retain him as a contractor on the project, and he took a full-time offer at another organization as well. The bottom line, the company showed him something he had never thought about before “How to earn dual salaries?” and he exploited it.
Organizations hiring remote development teams need to have the best resources working for them. They can’t afford to risk it with disloyal employees committed elsewhere. However, it’s hard to identify reliable remote development resources that you can trust – someone that won’t start two-timing behind your back.
Considering the complexity, it’s best to entrust this to a certified and credible remote staffing partner like BorderlessMind. We have the right resources who work diligently for you and you only. Our best-in-class hiring practices ensure top-tier exclusivity, resulting in these talented and qualified experts showing absolute allegiance to your project at all times.