When hiring team members for a virtual workforce, one of the biggest considerations is the skills those people have. Managers have to balance hiring people who all have certain kinds of skills (such as communication), with hiring people who have more specialized skills.
To build the right team, some people should be able to do things better than others. That way everything that needs doing gets done, and team members also work together well. But there should also be some commonly seen skills that all virtual workforce members should have. Here are some of the most important skills to consider.
Sensitivity to Intercultural Interactions
Virtual workforce team members need to be good at interacting with people of different cultures. They will often have to work with people who are different from them, and if they cannot relate or be open to experiencing and understanding new cultures, they may not be a good fit for the virtual team. While they do not have to embrace everything or agree with a different culture's way of doing things, being sensitive to and respectful of differences is very important.
The Ability to Manage Complexity and Uncertainty
When an employee is part of a virtual workforce, they must often deal with uncertainty. Some of the areas where they must place their focus can be complex, as well. People who do not do well with complexity and uncertainty may not be good fits for a virtual workforce, because they may not perform well under that type of pressure.
If that is the case, it would be best to keep them off of a virtual team, so management does not have to worry about whether all of the members of their virtual workforce will be able to handle the workload and the stress of the project they have been assigned.
Openness, Honesty, and a Trustworthy Attitude
Those who work virtually do not get to know their coworkers in the same way that traditional team members do. However, that does not mean they should avoid interacting with other members of their team. They need to be open and honest with others, and they need to be trustworthy. That way, members of a virtual workforce are better able to rely on one another so they can accomplish more as a group and see success for their company.
The Desire and Motivation to Network With Others
Networking matters for traditional employees and those who are part of a virtual workforce. This networking should be done with outside individuals, in much the same way a traditional employee would make contacts that could help their career and their company. But additionally, the networking should be done within the employee's own virtual workforce. Networking is a valuable skill, and this is even more accurate when team members all interact virtually.
An Understanding of Technology for Information and Communication
It is very important that everyone on a virtual workforce communicates well. Even if they are open to interacting with one another, though, and they have good communication skills, they still must understand the technology they are being asked to use. Managers who can provide quality technology for their virtual workforce help everyone on that workforce provide a level of insight and information that other employees can use.
Not everyone is going to be comfortable with the communication technology from the very beginning, but employees who are willing and able to learn quickly will still be very valuable. They can communicate with their team members in a reliable way, helping the project move forward.
Cooperation and a Proactive Focus
Another important skill for any virtual workforce team member is cooperation, and a proactive focus on working with others to get things done. When everyone cooperates with one another, not only do things get done faster but they also tend to be better quality. For any company that has hired a virtual workforce, the goal is getting value from doing that. Otherwise, it would be better to remain with a traditional workforce instead. Employees who work virtually as part of a team must understand the value and importance of cooperating with one another, along with how to do that in a proactive manner.
Discipline, Self-Motivation, and Independence
Even when working in a team, employees need to be independent enough to take initiative and get things done. Many times, each individual in a virtual workforce will be assigned part of the entire group's task. Without independence, a worker cannot accomplish their part of the task. Additionally, these workers need to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to get things done without being micromanaged, and they should understand that they will need to work alone at some times. Quality virtual workforce employees will be efficient and dedicated, and as such they will be an asset to the team and the company.