Are you doing the side hustle?


The Side Hustle is here to stay. Do you know which of your employees is playing the field? (Don’t know what a side hustle is? Check out this website: http://www.sidehustlenation.com.

If you aren’t encouraging your employees’ side hustle you are missing a huge opportunity! Employees with side businesses are well-rounded, in tune with industry trends, better connected outside the company and generally more satisfied because they are pursuing their passions. This results in happier employees which we know turns into quantifiable business results, or as Shawn Achor terms it, the “happiness advantage” https://hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence.

Here are some common concerns I hear from employers:

  • “I’m paying them a full-time salary. They should be solely dedicated to my business.”

  • “There are only so many hours in a day. Eventually their side business is going to impact their productivity.”

  • “Why should I invest time and money in this person when they clearly don’t want to be here?”

  • “They can’t possibly put 100% effort toward my business if they are focused on their own.”

  • “When their side business becomes successful they will leave.”

Sound familiar? Allow me to play devil’s advocate:

“I’m paying them a full-time salary. They should be solely dedicated to my business.”

Not everyone is interested in a side hustle. Those that are will try to balance their priorities. And your best employees will recognize their obligation to you as their primary employer while simultaneously pursuing their passions. Restricting your employees outside activities is not only really difficult but will likely result in lower motivation and resentment.

To ensure you are receiving full return on your investment engage in open dialogue between managers and employees and have clear, concise policy statements around conflicts of interest and non-competes. Be clear about what you expect from your employees; if they are engaged they will contribute 100%+. Acknowledging and encouraging outside pursuits helps create a transparent and open company culture.

“There are only so many hours in a day. Eventually their side business is going to impact their productivity.”

While it is true that most of us don’t work in a 9-5 setting anymore, it is also true that your best employees understand the concept of working until the work is done. In our fully-connected society we can work from anywhere and at any time. Do you care when the code is written or whether it’s done on time and flawlessly?

Measure your employees’ performance on their output, not on where they are working or on how much time they are putting in.

“Why should I invest time and money in this person when they clearly don’t want to be here?”

They do want to be there! They aren’t just killing time until their side hustle dreams come true - your employees gain from their experience with you (salary and benefits are just the start) and they want your company to succeed. Your investment in their professional development directly impacts your bottom line while getting them closer to their personal goals. It’s a win-win.

“They can’t possibly put 100% effort toward my business if they are focused on their own.”

Put yourself in their shoes. No doubt you are an intelligent, well-rounded individual with many varied interests including family, friends, creative, spiritual and professional pursuits. You are intrinsically motivated to achieve your goals. How do you handle that? You make time. You strike a balance. Occasionally the balance shifts but at the end of the day you are committed and you figure out a way. So do your employees. With the help of a supportive employer that balance becomes easier.

“When their side business becomes successful they will leave.”

Not everyone wants to leave – some side hustles are just that – side jobs. But even if they do leave by supporting their side hustle you have assisted them in achieving a personal goal and created an engaged workforce while positively impacting your business results. Your departing employee is leaving with a warm feeling about working for you which can manifest into great employee referrals or new business opportunities. While you can’t predict the future you CAN impact it.

Convinced? Here are some fun and easy ways to inspire and encourage the side hustle immediately:

  • Create a regular forum for employees to share their side hustles with colleagues – weekly happy hours, monthly lunches, etc. You will find yourself inspired by the business ideas that come from these informal shares.

  • Invite speakers on a variety of topics from within or outside your industry to discuss creative and inspiring ideas that don’t necessarily tie into your business.

  • Ask employees or managers to share their favorite Ted talk or other inspirational media with their teams. Create a forum for discussion.

  • Develop a model for “on-the-clock” innovative thinking about your business. Think Google 20% Time or Microsoft Hackathons. Your generosity doesn’t need to be solely about your employees’ personal pursuits – get the creative juices flowing around your own business too!

Do you have a unique way that you’re encouraging a side hustle? Or a really fun side hustle idea? Share it here!

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