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The two job employee - opportunity or commercial chaos?

In an industry where creativity is so cherished, its becoming increasingly popular for employees in the marketing world to express their innovations and progressive thinking outside of their day job.

The two job employee - opportunity or commercial chaos?

Many have creative ambitions far wider than the business they work for – during the day, a skilled marketer, but out of hours, they could be a photographer, a blogger or a branding guru. They don’t want to restrain these talents to just one job, instead they are creating their own social media based brands, some of which are attracting revenue directly.

Buzzfeed has been the subject of many social media discussions after several of its employees resigned following restrictions being enforced on pursuing secondary jobs.

So, what can employers do when this becomes an issue? Should they risk losing some of their best talent or is there a way for agencies to protect themselves and allow employees to explore their creativity elsewhere?

Avoiding commercial chaos

Many businesses are creating more clarity in their employment contracts with clear conditions around other commercial interests. These conditions immediately halt the promotion of any private businesses, as well as the ability to accept payment for work done outside of the organisation. This is a forceful and effective response, but how will this affect the attractiveness of an agency and the talent within it? For some employees, removing this outlet could stamp out their creativity, which was probably a big part of the reason they were hired in the first place.

Some may not even accept a job if it means they must abandon personal endeavours. As a result, not only will this deter some of the best talent, it will also damage the reputation of the agency to potential new recruits.

"By nurturing this creative flair and supporting staff in these personal endeavours it could discourage many from taking creative ambitions elsewhere. "
Aliya Vigor-Robertson, co-founder of JourneyHR

A beneficial trend

Supporting employees in this area, however, could create some great opportunities for the business. By nurturing this creative flair and supporting staff in these personal endeavours it could discourage many from taking creative ambitions elsewhere. If suitable, agencies can expand the product and services they offer by using these creative skills.

If there really is no way to incorporate a staff member’s outside interests into their full-time role, the agency will need to assess whether the idea of having a ‘side-by-side’ business with an employee will really pose a commercial threat to the business. Even if the thought of an employee having a ‘second job’ may be unpalatable, these outside activities will rarely impact the business at all, yet leave the employee satisfied and fulfilled.

The trend of the two job employees is on the rise and encouraging this could help employees achieve a healthier work-life balance. However, as an agency leader it’s important to bear in mind that these creative activities could be a conflict of interest and if it becomes an issue, it must be observed closely and discussed openly.

These side-line businesses are incredibly exciting and a great way for people to channel their creativity whilst creating a name for themselves. A progressive leader will help channel all this passion to create more productive and engaged employees.


Aliya Vigor-Robertson is the co-founder of HR consultancy JourneyHR

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