Some companies like Nokia are much better than others at managing virtual teams. At Nokia, they are up to 120 people in size and are much more complex than previously imagined. Finland is a tiny country that had to access markets outside its boundaries, so being virtual is something that Nokia grew up with. When people move into a virtual team, they have met and have prior working history. Also, Nokia is a technology company that helps in virtual management.
Young members of virtual teams have some important attributes, and have been described as members of “…the myspace generation…” meaning that they enjoy casual collaboration. Also, in the U.S. the growth of soccer has contributed to the current generation of new workers having grown up since Kindergarten playing soccer or other team sports. Team orientation and learning is more important culturally to this group. Also, very importantly, soccer (better known as futbol outside the U.S.) is a global sport. American children who used to play American football and baseball have been injected with an understanding of different cultures, names of players, and teams playing on global satellite broadcasts that the prior generation did not experience. So, they are much more apt to seek ways to make a difference and be involved globally than just nationally.
A new survey by Vistage, an organization for CEOs of small and mid-size businesses, found that 31% of the more than 2,000 CEO surveyed listed staffing as their greatest challenge. (Economic uncertainty was second at 21%.) Later in the survey, 45% of the CEOs say that they’ve installed technology that lets employees work remotely. What’s the connection? When asked why they’ve invested in this technology, the most popular answer — 27% — was that it helped them retain staff.
“You have to use technology to attract and retain the best workers,” Vistage CEO Rafael Pastor tells the Business Technology Blog. That’s partly because the generation now entering the workforce is so technically inclined. If a small company is going to be in the running for the best and the brightest of these young workers, it has to be supportive of the way they want to work – which includes using the latest tech.
Not surprisingly, the Vistage survey found that 46% of the CEOs say they’re changing their management style to adapt to the needs of these young workers. Additionally, 30% say that they’re using or planning to use new media like MySpace and blogs in order to market their businesses.
No World Borders has experience managing virtual teams for outsourced projects, including software development and call center processes and management.