The era of the two-job employee (let us call him “Sam”) has emerged as a result of the global recession. Sam is a new breed who developed entrepreneurial survival skills to battle the recession, and learned how find and keep a second job.

You, the employer, do not need to be too alarmed if Sam takes on a second job as a baker, or a mechanic, because this would require Sam to be physically present at that location. However the situation is more complicated if Sam takes on a second job that he can do from any remote location.

Suppose that Sam takes on a consulting project to do bookkeeping, or write code for a website, or maybe even develop a training program, how do you think that Sam’s productivity will be affected at your work place?

Our research indicates that 7 out of 10 entrepreneurial-employees will take their new projects or supplemental jobs more seriously than their existing jobs. This behavior is not surprising because the thrill and the novelty of consulting project is far greater, and the additional income increases the motivation factor.

The alarming part is that all of these employees will use your time and your resources to execute their consulting project, and if you consider the employee’s salary to be an investment, then your ROI is being reduced.

Unfortunately there is no way to restrict Sam, however you can put policies in place to manage Sam. Aside from restricting access to non-work related websites, you can use web tools such as ODesk to monitor Sam’s work.

The wise thing to do is discuss the second job with the employee and ask the employee how his added work load will affect his performance at your workplace. Also offer to reduce the employee’s hours (and a corresponding decrease in salary), if the employee thinks that he would like some more time to complete his consulting project. The employee is not likely to take this offer, but you have set the tone so that loss of productivity at your workplace will be minimized.

You should adjust your course of action depending on the nature of the work that Sam does at your work place. If Sam is an integral part of your work environment then more emphasis should be put on task completion and delivery. However if Sam is not an integral part of your work environment, then a replacement or succession strategy should be considered.

The era of Sam is here to stay, and only time and experience will show us the best ways to manage Sam.

Views: 98

Comment by Trevor Smith on January 26, 2010 at 4:52pm
Saleem, very interesting and thought provoking. My mind immediately raced to people I've placed in direct hire opportunities that have been running their own companies in the past. I've noticed that many companies include "2nd job" or "outside project" disclosures. I haven't seen it be a problem yet, but wonder if the time will come when a company will force a candidate to choose between a job or outside work.
I'd be interested in your research methods and sample size you referred to in paragraph #3.
I think that you may be right though about Sam being here to stay. Thanks for the post.
Comment by Andy Wergedal on January 26, 2010 at 6:26pm
There is an opportunity to gain valuable input from the Sam's of the world at a reduced price (part time). Many technically minded folks would rather have 2 x 20hour positions than 1 x 40 hour position. It is the same diversification thinking as stock investing (not all eggs in one basket, etc.)

I agree with your conclusion, the era of Sam is here to stay. The really interesting part is how will that affect full time employment.

Is the Era of Sam going to be the end of FTE's?
Comment by Saleem Qureshi on January 26, 2010 at 6:33pm
@Trevor
The questions that companies ask regarding disclosure does not tell the company about the behavior of the employee.

We surveyed 180 people who were employed and had entrepreneurial aspirations/ventures. Here are a few of the self-assessment statements that we asked them to respond to:
1. I would welcome a freelance consulting project in addition to my existing employment
2. I would be able to manage my time well and work a 9-hour day (or less) to complete both my work and my freelance project
3. I can multitask and manage two completely different tasks simultaneously
4. I would take my freelance project very seriously
5. I would go to great extent to ensure that I deliver my freelance project on time
6. I don't mind using doing research for my freelance project while I am at work

The answers choices to these questions were: "I agree" and "I disagree".

At HireLabs we develop a lot of psychometric tests which assist us in getting to the core of the matter. Our tests are used by Fortune 500 companies.
Comment by Saleem Qureshi on January 26, 2010 at 7:02pm
@Andy
:) I dont think that we will see the end of FTEs, they are crucial in ensuring business logistics and operations.

Our research at HireLabs shows that for some people, although they might like the idea of taking on freelance projects or 2nd jobs, but it remains just that - an idea.

Furthermore, we have noticed that those who are able to take on a freelance project or a second job, some of them have a strong probablity to burn-out and not be able to deliver as well as they had expected.

However those who are able to manage 2 jobs have a true entrepreneurial nature, and will go very far in monetizing from this ability.

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