The virtual workforce is not a one-dimensional entity. It is a multi-dimensional creation of value, and those dimensions must be properly integrated in order to see the maximum level of effectiveness in that workforce. An integrated workforce is a strong and capable workforce, and one that management can work with and rely on.
But with five different dimensions to consider, and with the differences that are seen in workforces as they are being built and adjusted to be as efficient as possible, it can be difficult to get true integration without careful planning and extra effort on the part of management. Here is what any company needs to know when it comes to multi-dimensional integration and how it affects the virtual workforce.
Understanding a Multi-Dimensional Integration Approach
Managers who want to make sure they have the best virtual workforce possible must acknowledge that a multi-dimensional, integrative approach is needed. Then, they have to understand how to work within that approach. If they know it is necessary but are unclear as to how they are going to address or create it, they could end up struggling to build the virtual workforce they really need. It could also lead the workforce to feel as though they are not a cohesive unit, and that can mean dissent among the workers, confusion about their role in the workforce, and other types of integration problems that could have been avoided.
The Procedural Dimension is Arguably the Most Important
The biggest concern when integrating virtual workforce dimensions properly is having well established, strong, and acceptable procedures in place. These procedures help the workforce understand what it needs to accomplish, and set out guidance for how that accomplishment is going to take place. Additionally, the procedures are the backbone of the virtual workforce, and the foundation of all the other dimensions.
Formality is needed, because informal procedures do not help a workforce integrate with the company and they do not keep a virtual workforce on track. Showing a virtual workforce how to operate with integrated, formal procedures is one way to make a company strong.
The Cultural Dimension is Undeniable in a Global Workforce
The integration of a virtual workforce can be complicated, and one of the reasons behind that is the global nature of that workforce. There are a number of cultural issues that come to light when trying to determine how to make a virtual workforce as efficient, effective, and successful as possible. Not everyone will see eye to eye because of their cultural differences and beliefs. Normally that would not be a problem, as people who were very different from one another would just not interact with each other. But with the needed level of integration in a virtual workforce, avoiding interaction due to differences is not an option.
The Personal Dimension Cannot be Ignored By Management
There are three parts to the personal dimension. These are personality traits, attitudes, and well-being. While management may not place a strong focus on the personal dimension, they do this at their peril. It is unfair and unproductive for management to simply ignore the personal dimension that comes with the virtual workforce. Asking people to integrate into a workforce and a company means asking that they bring more than just their working ability. The way they work with others is part of their personality, and when they feel they are allowed to be human they will give more to the virtual workforce and the company.
The Organizational Dimension Offers a Unique Perspective
With every company being its own entity, part of understanding virtual workforce integration on a multi-dimensional level is recognizing the differences that a company may have. There are different virtual workforce configurations and design models, some of which are much more effective than others. Additionally, the type of company the virtual workforce is employed by matters. For example, companies with a flatter structure do better with a virtual workforce. Any organization that wants to see a successful virtual workforce, though, must empower that workforce and give them what they need to be successful.
The Technological Dimension Allows Everything to Come Together
The main way that all the other dimensions come together for the virtual workforce is through the use of technology. This dimension is one of the most important ones, since the right technology brings people together and helps them all succeed. That is true of the traditional workforce and true of the virtual workforce, as well. Communication, collaboration, information, management, computational, and infrastructure technologies are all needed and all used in order to make sure everyone can truly work together for the common good of the virtual workforce and the company as a whole.
Integration Results in the Addressing of Conflict
Issues typically arise in the lack on integration of these dimensions in the traditional workforce, and this is amplified significantly when it comes to the virtual workforce. When people are located all around the globe, it is even harder to detect and solve conflicts if the workforce is not well planned and monitored by design. When a virtual workforce focuses on multi-dimensional integration, conflicts are reduced and any concerns that do appear are able to be dealt with correctly. With integration, issues will be solved early on in the process and that can help virtual workforce members get along better, get more done, and become significant assets to the workforce and the company.
An Integrated Virtual Workforce is a Strong Virtual Workforce
A workforce is a team, and they have to interact with one another frequently. The integration of dimensions is not only within that workforce team itself, but also within management and the entire organization. Integrating a virtual workforce on a multi-dimensional level should be looked at as part of building a virtual workforce enterprise capability, and therefore should be managed as such. Virtual workforce members who are open to integration on a number of dimensional levels can build a stronger and better virtual workforce, which makes them an even bigger asset to management and the company for which they work.