Companies that want to build a virtual workforce can do so, but they have to go about it the right way. Otherwise, they could end up with serious problems that cost them a lot of time and money. When a manager sets out to build this type of workforce it is vital to know the main reasons why it could fail. Then these things can be avoided, so there is a much better chance of long-term success. Here are seven of the top reasons for failure in a virtual workforce, and how these failures can more easily be avoided.
1. Leadership That is Not Effective on a Virtual Level
Trying to lead a virtual workforce just like a traditional workforce is not realistic. That is because these virtual workers handle things differently than their traditional counterparts. By acknowledging this difference and recognizing the unique needs of virtual employees, a manager can reduce the chances of failure in their virtual workforce. The interaction the manager has with employees will be a vital part of their success.
2. A Lack of Trust Among Virtual Workforce Employees
Employees in a virtual workforce do not know one another that well, in most cases. They do not work side by side, or even in the next office or building from the people they are asked to team up with. By using trust-building exercises and opportunities for these employees to virtually interact with one another, there is a better chance that they will get along and open up to the other members of their workforce team. That results in better long-term prospects for the company.
3. Being Treated Just Like a Traditional Workforce
A virtual workforce can suffer from social isolation, a lack of cohesiveness, mismanagement, trust issues, an attitude of indifference, and a lot of other problems that manifest more easily when people are not working together in one space. With that in mind, treating a virtual workforce like a traditional workforce does not work. They have unique requirements, and a manager who learns these and understands them beforehand will make things much easier on everyone.
4. Not Engaging With Team Members Frequently
Managers need to reach out to team members, and let them know they are there to help them. When a virtual workforce becomes isolated, team members start to do less and less work. They may not take things seriously, can miss deadlines, and may also feel they are being overlooked for advancement. If that attitude continues, the entire workforce team and the project they are working on could fall apart. When a manager engages frequently with the team members, both individually and as a workforce group, that engagement helps keep everyone focused, interested, and moving forward.
5. Poor Communication Among the Workforce Members
Just like the manager must reach out, so much the virtual workforce members. They need to be heard, and they need to talk to their teammates in a way that everyone can relate to. If they have poor communication skills or they are not clear about how to interact with others in a virtual environment, it can cause a lot of difficulty for the entire team. Fortunately, some training in the best options for virtual communication can go a long way toward making sure the team is successful and the virtual workforce runs smoothly as they work together on projects.
6. A Lack of Clarity in the Task and Deadline
People really need to know what they are doing, why they should be doing it, and when it needs to be done. Managers who do not convey those things to their virtual workforce run the risk of having that workforce fail. People need goals, and they also need a sense of direction. If they are going to work cohesively as a team, they must have a team direction that they will be taking. As a manager, it is important to talk to the team about the task, the deadline, and all the expectations that are being noted for the project at hand.
7. Improper Understanding of Individual Roles and Responsibilities
Just as the virtual workforce as a whole must have clarity and a direction, there must be an understanding of individual responsibilities and roles, as well. In short, each person on the team needs to know what they are expected to do, and how that fits in with the work of others in the workforce. With a clear understanding of their own role in the group and why it matters, a virtual employee will be much more likely to do their part on a project. That can make a significant difference in the virtual workforce itself, and how well it performs on that project and others that are given to it in the future.