Health

Why is India seeing a steep rise in moonlighting lately?

Demand for flexibility in work modules has been record-high in this post-pandemic world. Today, rigid company contracts can no longer serve the employees, who prefer to have a flexible way to increase their income to make ends meet.

Different work modules are being put in place by various offices, ranging from hybrid to working a second job along with compulsory cool-off. Employees are now welcome to new work modules that allow them to have a supplemental income.

An ET Play podcast by Ratna Bhushan discusses the inception of night jobs arising in India while focussing on the challenges of employee retention today. Bhushan is in conversation with Girish Menon, Swiggy HR head, Ajit Isaac, chairman of Quess Corp and  Saumya Bhattacharya, senior editor of  Economic Times.

How are companies in India enabling their employees to moonlight?

Moonlighting has essentially changed the narrative of workplaces in India. As they were discussing, one of the experts shared that most companies do not pay their employees well enough. This makes the employees look for lucrative opportunities for retaining a side income. He added that dedicated and well-performing employees should be rightly allowed to have second jobs in their spare time. The company contracts should be sensible and flexible enough to ensure an employee’s intellectual and financial wellness outside their working hours.

Such a step might even lay the ground for future start-ups and innovative business modules. Swiggy is flexible enough to allow its employees to take up second jobs, unlike TCS which bars its employees from joining another firm for six months. Swiggy is India’s first company to have a legit moonlighting policy for its employees.

Another expert added that today when permanent hire ceases to exist at large, employees are bound to work on short-time project-based contracts. Most of them find this very unsettling. This feeling of uncertainty often drives them to work a second job. It led to the birth of moonlighting.

Moonlighting ensures a decentralised decision-making strategy in the workplace as well. For example, at Microsoft India, managers and teams establish strategies to balance individuals with team deadlines, and define how the team will work together. Deloitte on the other hand leaves it to individual partners, team leaders and reporting managers to decide when a team is required to meet at the workplace. It creates flexible work structures for employees.

Can moonlighting policies help in employee retention?

Lack of employee retention leads to attrition. Companies in the e-commerce and technology sectors are massively seeing a steep rise in attrition since the pandemic. For digital roles, the attrition is as high as 15%. All of these suggest that companies must work on their restrictive policies to generate retention of their employees.

Moonlighting policies hope to attain productivity and loyalty of the employees, hence reducing attrition levels. Swiggy has come up with innovative moonlighting policies for all its full-time employees. It is a non-restrictive and inclusive policy that enables its employees to work on moonlighting projects.

The experts believe that the moonlighting policies are here to stay. They believe that the e-commerce and retail sector will soon take up these policies to ensure a better employee base with finer productivity. Moonlighting policies are thus prudent enough to be prevalent in every industrial sector soon.

For more interesting news updates and in-depth discussions on current affairs, log on to ET Play now and get listening!

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