How to Manage Your Moonlighting Employees

Management

About 13 million people — roughly 8.3 percent of the workers — have more than one job. Given the ever-present staffing challenges in the service industry, it’s not uncommon for hourly employees to moonlight with other retail or foodservice operations, possibly even your competitors. How you manage this issue can play a critical role in successful employee engagement.

As a convenience store manager, you have to have the same expectations of employees who have second jobs as you do your other employees. Moonlighting employees have to be just as flexible as everyone else — that’s just how this industry works. Flexibility is a two-way street, though. Be careful not to be so demanding that you put moonlighters in a position to have to blow off their other jobs to accommodate a hole in your schedule. When they’re forced to decide where their loyalty is strongest, it may not come out in your favor.

Other challenges may surface, too. While most safety and compliance procedures should be universal, there will be differences in other processes. The way your store handles foodservice, for example, may conflict with procedures at an employee’s other job.  When opposing operational standards come into play with moonlighting employees, keep an open mind and approach these issues as opportunities for you to learn other perspectives. That being said, though, stand your ground when you’re confident your procedures are the most effective.

When you have a star employee who is working a second job, it’s a safe bet that competing managers may try to recruit that person to become full time or advance their careers. Employees know how much they’re in demand. It doesn’t take a whole lot — a rough shift, a difference in pay — to tip the scales against you. Banning second jobs is unenforceable as a matter of law. It’s also likely to cast you in a bad light. More often than not, moonlighters aren’t choosing to get a second job — they have to get one.

A positive way to handle moonlighting is to be the employer of choice. Ask employees why they’re working second jobs. Schedule adjustments, cross training, additional shifts or even a small raise may keep them around. Your employee handbook should state that it’s okay to hold outside positions as long as performance requirements within your operation are met. Keep in mind that the goal isn’t to force moonlighters over to your side, but to win them over with understanding.

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