The age of the solopreneur is here and with it, we’re seeing an ever-growing number of people with “side hustles,” jobs they do outside of their regular 9-5. But what happens when the person with a side-hustle is one of your chamber employees? Do you allow them to join the chamber? If so, can they represent their business during networking functions?
This was the questions posted to the Chamber Professionals group on Facebook and below is what some of the chamber pros had to say.
Should You Allow Chamber Employees to Function as Members Too?
Absolutely! Our Employees Should Want Chamber Membership Benefits
Most chamber pros in the group didn’t see a problem with wearing two hats as long as employees weren’t doing side hustle business on chamber time.
Tricia Barrett-Butler from the Bradford Board of Trade says wearing both the chamber employee and business owner hats can work as long as you are clear with those you’re in contact with.
She said, “I was a member (with my husband) before I was an employee. When it comes to member votes, I refrain and my husband essentially represents our company. If I’m in a position to represent my company, I specifically say something about “switching hats” and “as a member” so that people are clear about the shift. It doesn’t happen often.
Absolutely Not! Membership and Ownership Are a Conflict of Interest
Carmela Bielenberg from the Stayton Sublimity Chamber of Commerce shared, “Just owning a business and being a chamber employee simultaneously might draw scrutiny and create unnecessary conflict because other members might feel that an employee can use the system to increase benefits to their particular business.”
She cautioned that people calling for referrals may receive a biased referral from the chamber employee. Even if the chamber employee does provide an unbiased referral, others may not perceive it as such.
What do you think?
Good idea or fraught with possible tension? Have you ever been in the position or do you have a policy surrounding it? Share your comments with the group.