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How Companies Should Act When Employees Work Two Full-Time Jobs by@vitnuzhnyi

How Companies Should Act When Employees Work Two Full-Time Jobs

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Vit Nuzhnyi   HackerNoon profile picture

Vit Nuzhnyi

Founder, CEO at Trios Systems. Seasoned outsourcing consultant, former Engineering VP.

The pandemic has changed the rules of the game, influencing how we take care of our health, our leisure, and how we work. According to a recent poll by The Wall Street Journal, there is a new trend in remote work: having two full-time jobs at once. However, most employees try to hide their "double life" from their employers.

As the AIN survey showed, this is a fairly widespread practice in Ukraine. More than half of the respondents have more than one full-time job. But can such a story last long? Will it be possible to create a quality product while remaining equally effective on both sides of the barricades? Even with a conscientious attitude, when both employers know about the existence of each other, there are many overlaps. It is impossible to attend two Scrum Morning Stand-Ups or two important meetings simultaneously.

What can you do if you have a technologically intense project with its R&D down to patents and complex mathematical models, and how can you make prioritized commitments?

Warn Potential Employees About Your Attitude to Double Work in the Interview 

People behave the way a company allows them to. To prevent double work, you should discuss the possibility of simultaneous projects during your interview. Talk to the candidate straightforwardly; thus, you can expect honesty in return.

Restrictive measures with huge penalties in the contract are not suggested. It is better to warn that such cases are not welcome so you can aim for an employee who will fully invest in your company. The IT world is a small one, and negative attitudes towards a company can turn into a blow to your reputation. Even an outstanding specialist can get blacklisted.

If your proposal does not suit the candidate, you will not waste your time or theirs on a trial. If they are interested in the job, they will choose in your favor.

Collect References from Previous Jobs

Study the candidate's CV carefully if they switch from company to company often. A resume often does not provide a complete picture of the experience and does not explain why. Take time to get in touch with the last three to four listed occupations for feedback. 

You can pay attention to whether the candidate keeps his or her LinkedIn profile up to date. Will they add your company as a current place of work? It might be a good test. If they would tell everyone they work in your company, then it is unlikely that they would be looking for another job at the same time. And if they already have a current place of work stated, ask them if they consider your offer a replacement or an additional option.

Invite New Employees to In-Office On-Boarding

Invite a newcomer to your office for a two-week induction to assess their loyalty and motivation. They will have to ignore their second occupation since they will most likely not parallel two projects. At the same time, you will have the opportunity to personally observe their induction, the enthusiasm they bring to the office, and how they communicate with the team. Their manager can oversee how they work full force in the office, meaning they might achieve the same result remotely. This arrangement may represent additional costs for transfers, accommodation, other necessary anti-COVID arrangements, and the mentor's work in the office. It is, however, incomparable with the time and financial losses if you have to look for a replacement for your recently joined team member after a month or two.

HR specialists' contribution is essential to track motivation and loyalty while focusing on results. It is vital to correctly introduce freshers to your corporate culture, which has been difficult lately due to quarantine restrictions. Even if they work many jobs, your task is to shift the focus to your company to make them interested and initiate proper goal-setting. To win a competition, you need to be first on the air, constantly fighting for your candidate's mind and inspiring loyal, motivated employees.

Appoint Mentors

While the HR approach is essential in working with a newcomer, it is also worth appointing a mentor. They will conduct personal inductions in the office and then work with a new employee daily, so you can monitor results and help a newcomer join the team faster.

It is also a matter of culture within the company and additional motivation. After all, they receive a salary and a social package and acquire knowledge for free that may be useful to them in the future.

Check the Quality of Work More Often than Usual

It's excellent if your Scrum routines are in place and everything works.

If not, do a daily check instead of a weekly check. It can be performed by a manager or mentor, or even facilitated by an HR specialist. You can arrange daily stand-ups for 15 minutes or check the performance using a tool. Separately, typical developer environments like GitLab or GitHub have a standard set for automatic code-checking of quality standards. It is not tracking what a person is doing on the computer; it is an automated check of what they have elaborated in code. Weekly checks do not work in the remote realm. When a robot does it, there is no place for subjectivity and human factors.

Even if this is uncommon in your company, you can introduce daily monitoring as a temporary practice, although many companies use this verification on an ongoing basis. For example, the Basecamp team uses two repetitive questions for employees to answer:

"What were you working on today?" at the end of the working day;

"What will you be working on this week?" on Monday morning.

These are free-form reports without the need to indicate the number of hours spent.

What Shouldn't You Do?

  • Do not impose penalties for working for several employers. Penalties can demotivate those employees who are loyal. It is enough to sign a standard NDA and cover the same client non-compete policy. 
  • Do not track working hours online. If an experienced specialist completes the task in two hours, the beginner may take two or three times longer. It would be challenging to assess the quality of work just on hours logged. 
  • Do not use programs that monitor activity on the screen. You hire an employee because you believe in them, and you need to create a climate of trust without monitoring what is happening on their computers.

Conclusion

These tips are not a panacea, but they will help grab the employee's attention and lead them toward confidence in the quality of their work. There is nothing wrong with their wish to increase their salary. But two jobs might require at least twice as many duties, responsibilities, and energy spent. It means that a person might burn out twice as fast. So make sure your employees are ready to do their jobs 100% and prioritize your company. And if one fully copes with the load and meets the KPIs, you should come to them with a perspective for more significant, more valuable input that would satisfy their current financial and self-fulfilling needs.

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