Volume 11 • Issue 1
WELCOME to our e-Newsletter on offshore project teams!
We leave a dynamic time in which our world continues to witness upheavals and technological advances that further shape the workplace. On a personal note, my book A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams launched and I am now creating an educational package for managers of offshore project teams to use in tandem with the book. One busy year transitions into another that I expect will be even more interesting than the last.
May it be professionally exciting and personally fulfilling for all of you…
- Four Forces Shaping the Virtual Workforce
- Force #1 – The Glocal Workplace
- Force #2 – The Rise of the On-Demand Workforce
- Force #3 – Out-tasking Joins Outsourcing
- Force #4 – Virtual Togetherness While Physically Apart
- About AIM Strategies®
I expect the future will bring a continuing series of challenges and opportunities in the world of virtual work. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you my thoughts about four forces that I believe will shape the virtual workplace.
Our world is indeed getting flatter as Thomas Friedman asserted, which will accelerate the pace of the Glocal Workplace. Today, we are all Globally Local, or ‘Glocal’. Organizations need to view their employees through a global lens, building tools and best practices that span continents, yet local managers and teams must be empowered to implement locally. I believe that this operating model will fit most organizations for years to come as technology shifts to the ‘Cloud’ creating fluid work situations, where product and services are produced anywhere, anytime.
As headcount budgets shrink, organizations look for additional ways to acquire talent. While it has long been possible to fill roles with temporary staff, it is even easier these days to identify and locate the necessary skills, thanks to the internet and offshore project teams. Contract bid sites like elance.com can be described as an ‘eBay’ for services’, where employers post projects online and freelancers bid on them. These platforms make it easy for companies to hire ‘just in time’ performers for a myriad of virtual projects and for individuals to use their skills from anywhere on a number of interesting assignments. According to one source, upward of 40 percent of the U.S. workforce now works part-time or on a contract basis, and online worker earnings on Elance.com are set to surpass $500 Million. The on-demand workforce is marching forward, indeed!
A generation ago outsourcing was an unfamiliar concept. Today most organizations not only engage in this process, but also build an outsourcing component into their business plan. Now, look for an increase in out-tasking, where particular tasks, rather than the whole process, is farmed out to specialists and generalists. I believe that rapidly heading in this direction.
Companies often confuse the terms outsourcing and out-tasking, but they offer different approaches for driving down costs. Outsourcing transfers an entire function, for example, the Information Systems, to an external provider, allowing organizations to focus on core business. On the other hand, a specific Information Systems operation can be out-tasked, creating adjunct staff resources to the internal IT team. How to effectively budget for, vet and manage out-taskers will become a critical skill as this option escalates. And, how to make sense of online reputations will be a new core competency for Human Resources and line managers.
Clearly all things point to an increase in virtual work of many kinds, which means that organizations need to ensure strong work relationships among colleagues from diverse cultures on offshore project teams. I believe that without this virtual togetherness, work projects may stall and teams could have additional difficulty meeting business goals.
A key question to ask yourself is, without trust, accountability and effective communication, how can my team get deliverables out the door? Smart managers in the virtual space understand that solid work relationships + sound business practices yield results. Detailed procedures and practices can be put in place, but without human connection to bring the business to life, you will not achieve optimal results on your offshore project teams. Therefore, keep the human connection alive, and replicate a sense of community despite distance, time and space.
My advice to smart virtual managers is this – – create an environment in which effective work relationships thrive, and you will stand an excellent chance at getting deliverables out the door. You can be sure that even if you don’t, your competitors will be doing just that. Consider the impact of these four forces on your organization, and you will help your team move ahead.
AIM Strategies® Applied Innovative Management® is a results-driven Human Capital Consulting firm specializing in the areas of: Global Leadership Development, Co-located and Virtual Team Facilitation, Cross Cultural Communications, and Change Integration Services. To request information about AIM’s experiential learning methods (5D’s™ Consulting/Proprietary Training Methodology and ACT™ Coaching Process), please email email@example.com. In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we’ll update you on tips and techniques related to raising your innovative management IQ. We are confident that the solutions we develop fit your needs and culture. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and visit www.aim-strategies.com to learn more about how our services unlock the people potential of your organization!