Do You Have a Policy on “Side Hustles” in Technology Recruitment?

20th December 2018

The traditional technology employment contract often includes a clause forbidding staff to work another job outside their main employment. But thanks to the burgeoning gig economy many industries are finding that employees are asking to work, or indeed are already working on, a ‘side hustle’.

The technology sector in particular has found that a combination of the shortage of talent and the growing interest in, or financial need for, a second job has meant it’s under pressure to accept the side hustle. Indeed many forward-thinking companies have embraced it and offer the ability to work ‘on the side’ as a perk of the job in order to attract the best people to their organisation.

So is insisting that your employees are yours and yours alone out of date? Does your business or technology recruitment agency need to rethink your policy on the employee being solely committed to their contracted role?

Nurture Your Employees’ Bit on The Side

Research from Henley Business School showed that one in four people are currently operating a side gig in addition to their main job. So how does that affect you as a manager, business owner or recruiter?

It makes sense that companies worry about employees working on their own tasks during office hours, burn out, or a conflict of interest. But progressive organisations are proving they’re actually benefiting from the additional experience their employees are providing thanks to their side gigs.

When an employee is gaining deeper insight into their field, be it e-commerce, social media marketing, or website development their full-time company benefits from the knock-on effect. And with 69% of hustlers saying their gig makes life more interesting, it means they’re happier and more fulfilled – resulting in a positive effect on their performance and engagement in the workplace.

So if the side hustle isn’t going anywhere, what are the implications for HR and technology recruitment?

Time to Talk

With research showing that 49% of companies don’t have a ‘side hustle policy’, the dialogue needs to be started. Any policy needs to protect both employees and employers: staff need to know that they must pursue their outside work with integrity and in a way that will not impact upon their day job. On the other hand employers need to be open to more flexibility in this area.     

After all, replacing employees, especially talented ones, is expensive. And advertising the fact you allow staff to participate in the gig economy when hiring can be a great way of attracting and retaining top talent. That especially goes for IT recruitment.

In fact, it could play a major part in weeding out great candidates: you’re looking for a trainer and you interview a recruit who teaches French to kids at the weekend. Chances are he’s got the patience and communication skills you’re looking for. Want someone to play a proactive role in driving your online sales? That girl who runs a thriving Etsy store could have the knowledge you’re looking for. The moral of the story? By refusing to hire new recruits who are running their own enterprises, you could be denying your business of valuable assets.