There are many benefits to a virtual workforce. But in order to realize these benefits, organizations first have to consider the goals they want to achieve through the development and sustainability of that workforce. These goals should also remain in line with the best practices of an organization, to have the most value to the company. If an organization wants to realize benefits but does not have a clear idea of their goals, they may find that they struggle to see the benefits they originally expected. Here are the most important things to know about achieving goals through an efficient virtual workforce.
Tangible and Intangible Goals Both Matter
Many organizations focus only on their tangible goals. In other words, they look carefully at goals that can be measured in some way such as in dollars or through percentages. These are valuable and important, but in order to have a successful virtual workforce it is also necessary to appreciate intangible goals. These are areas that are harder to measure or quantify, but that can still be extremely important for the overall value of the workforce. The two different types of goals work together when an organization is developing and sustaining an efficient virtual workforce.
Tangible goals are things like how much money is saved through a particular change that was made, while intangible goals may focus more on issues such as employee satisfaction and whether it is increasing or decreasing. A happy and content virtual workforce is a productive virtual workforce, so the satisfaction of employees matters and should be considered. It is just not something that can be measured in the same way that tangible goals can. By recognizing and appreciating both types of goals, understanding how to make a virtual workforce more effective becomes easier.
The Most Important Tangible Goals
While it is true that tangible goals are very important, choosing the right goals and focusing on those directly also matters. In other words, an organization should not choose goals that only appear good "on paper," or that they do not clearly understand. They need to select goals that speak to what they are truly trying to accomplish with their virtual workforce. Here are some of the most important tangible goals many organizations work toward.
Making Optimal Use of the Globally Available Workforce
An organization that is just starting to build a global workforce it can use may not be clear on the best way to maximize the value of that workforce. A better understanding of how to make optimal use of the available talent is needed, and that is where the goal comes in. Actionable steps and decisions are required to move the organization from their beginning point to a good understanding.
Through doing that, the organization will learn not only what the workforce can really offer, but how to get the most from that workforce every day. When an organization chooses a global workforce it recruits talent from around the world. Getting high-quality employees from all sorts of places can build a truly exceptional workforce, but the organization must know how to reach these employees and how to retain them. That is all part of making optimal use, and is a goal that can be measured but also continually worked toward.
Raising Productivity and Improving Profit
Making a global workforce more productive will often have the side effect of improving the organization's profit. These two areas work hand in hand in a number of organizations and workforce configurations. A virtual workforce can be extremely productive, but it must have the tools to do so. Goals such as this one come along with effort that is focused on whether the organization is giving its workforce everything it needs to do the job the right way. When a workforce has what is needed and that workforce feels valued, it does more for the organization and that translates into a higher level of organizational profit.
Saving Money and Cutting Costs
Naturally, all organizations want to save money and keep their costs lower. When they choose a virtual workforce over a traditional one, they work toward those goals every day. That is because a virtual workforce typically costs less money than a traditional one due to the lower need for office space and other real estate to house workers. There are a lot of expenses that come with physical locations, and a virtual workforce reduces or eliminates those expenses. Even with the cost of technology to guide and assist that workforce in doing its job, less money is typically spent by the organization.
Creating a Shorter Time to Market for a Product or Service
When an organization has a product or service they need to get on the market, they want to be quick about it. If they are not fast, their competitors may put something out first. Then the organization is not seen as innovative, and instead they are trying to catch up to where their competition is. It will not be possible for an organization to be first at everything all the time, but it can be possible for that organization to be first often enough to stay relevant in the eyes of their customers. Even when they are not first to market, they still want to have a shorter to-market time to keep themselves in the public eye and see their profit margins climb. A properly utilized virtual workforce can help with all of that.
Providing the Organization With Flexibility and Responsiveness to an Ever-Changing Environment
The business environment is not going to stay the same, as it is always fluctuating. Because the environment always changes, stagnating would be terribly bad for any organization. Fortunately, there are many different ways an organization can stay flexible. A virtual workforce is a big part of that. This kind of workforce is so spread out globally that it can help the organization be much more responsive to change.
What is happening in the business world in one area of the globe is likely going to spread, and with a virtual workforce the organization can find out about those changes far sooner. That lets the organization make adjustments right away, and helps keep that organization as flexible as possible when it comes to what is taking place in their industry.
Developing a Higher Level of Innovation and Growth
Growing and remaining innovative are common goals for most organizations. Customers want to see new and more innovative things from the organizations they work with and purchase from. Since companies know this, they focus on giving customers what they need. But that puts the companies under a lot of pressure to perform continually. As such, they sometimes put products on the market that fail to meet what customers expect. With a virtual workforce, there is a far lower chance of that happening because of the nature of the global identity and the different ideas and beliefs the workforce brings to the table.
Intangible Goals Are Worth Considering
Just like tangible goals, intangible goals need to be focused on and understood. They also need to make sense for the organization that has created them and that is trying to achieve them. Setting goals just to set goals will generally result in a lack of achievement, because the organization does not understand why the goals have been set or what they are really trying to accomplish.
With intangible goals this is a much more likely scenario, as well, since these goals cannot be measured in the same way as tangible goals. Here are some intangible goals that are often tied to a virtual workforce.
Having a Higher Rate of Employee Satisfaction
There are subjective ways to measure whether employees are satisfied, even if this information cannot be quantified in the same way a tangible goal would be. With a virtual workforce, asking questions and surveying employees, along with keeping the communication lines open and the communication honest, can give an organization a good idea of whether it is raising employee satisfaction.
Having a Higher Rate of Employee Retention
Do employees plan to stay, or do they want to leave? Is there a high rate of turnover in the organization's virtual workforce? While the retention rate itself can be measured, the reasons behind that rate are not as tangible. Organizations should have goals that focus on retaining employees, and making them want to stay with the company for the long term. To do that, organizations need to talk to their virtual employees and discover what matters to them.
In short, it is not always easy to achieve tangible or intangible goals. But an organization that does not set strong goals and work toward them is setting itself up for failure. Rather than take that risk, organizations should determine what kinds of goals they really want to work toward, and why those goals are important. Then they can see how a virtual workforce can help them meet those goals, and what they can do to develop this workforce in a way that works for everyone involved. With a strong workforce and proper goals, organizations can see much higher levels of achievement, satisfaction, and growth.