Effective team management a challenge in the virtual workforce, according to study
The virtual workforce in the U.S. ballooned from 9.5 million in 1995 to 13.4 million in 2010, growing to an estimated 20-30 million people currently working remotely at least once per week. According to new whitepaper from global consulting firm PI Worldwide, despite more employees embracing — and even expecting — a distributed work environment, research indicates low levels of confidence in the ability of managers to adequately motivate, coach and develop employees within a virtual environment. The whitepaper titled, Managing the Challenges of the New Virtual Workforce: The Use of Personality Data to Build and Develop High Performing Virtual Teams, examines the pressures facing leaders to manage and develop teams operating virtually and the benefits behavioral assessment data provides for enhancing communication, collaboration and efficiencies across different time zones and cultures.
“The most successful virtual teams are led by managers who understand what motivates and drives performance at the individual and team levels, assigning people to tasks in line with their natural behavioral styles,” said Nancy Martini , president and CEO of PI Worldwide. “Managers who apply behavioral insights produce teams that function with stronger working relationships, communicate more effectively and deliver on the team’s collective goals.”
According to a Forrester survey cited in the whitepaper, “effective communication” is a top concern for managers of remote teams (49 percent), followed by “managing projects and deadlines successfully” (43 percent) and “creating consensus during decision-making” (43 percent). Martini notes additional challenges of remote team management include:
- Difficulty in building a shared sense of purpose;
- Over-reliance on electronic communications;
- Low team cohesion and trust; and
- Less satisfaction with the team experience.
In a remote working environment, it can be difficult for team members to build rapport or a sense of camaraderie which can jeopardize productivity. Through behavioral assessments (sometimes called personality assessments), Martini says, managers can uncover the natural behavioral characteristics of team members to better define high performance, facilitate workflow, reduce conflict and improve group synergy.
Source: PI Worldwide; www.piworldwide.com.