Fourth in a series on Team Building.
Along with personnel factors, there are also a number of business environment factors affecting firms’ ability to hire and develop quality team members. Just as the world population is evolving, so too is the world work environment, and the speed of change is leaving many firms breathless.
Businesses must increasingly compete on a global scale and deal with staff just as mobile as their corporate leaders. Virtual teams are rising, freeing workers from the confines of the office, which in turn makes it more difficult to control and train talent pools. With lower loyalty levels to organizational leaders, the global, mobile, and virtual workplace can mean a staff free-for-all when competing for talent.
The blending of talent pools from around the world brings diversity of ideas, cultures, and practices to the business environment. For some firms, this is a wholly positive experience. For other firms, this is disruptive and difficult to adapt to in daily practice. Yet the shifting demographics of the world mean that globalization forces are more likely to increase than decrease, requiring staffing managers and business planners to adapt or lose at the global talent game.
RISE OF THE VIRTUAL WORKPLACE
In the United States, 58 percent of companies consider themselves to be virtual workspaces, according to the Insight Research Corporation. This rise of virtual work and virtual office environments presents a challenge to hiring and developing quality team members.
Culture and fit to culture is a prime driver of employee success, but how can this be assessed if the employee will never spend time in the office? What is the role of workplace learning culture over Twitter or via Skype conferencing? How can team member development be instigated and monitored remotely to ensure training and development investments are paying off? These questions and many more are becoming larger and larger issues for recruiters and managers worldwide.
DECREASED LOYALTY/INCREASED MOBILITY
Adding to the challenge of managing virtual work teams is the challenge of managing less loyal and more mobile workforces. While previous generations of workers were bound to one company for the effective duration of their careers, some 80 percent of modern workers are ready to go work for another firm if it appears more attractive according to research firm Right Management.
Over the course of their working lives, the average American worker will have 8 – 11 jobs, and up to five different careers. While this represents greater mobility than other parts of the world, it is not unusual for top talent in developing nations to switch jobs annually in pursuit of pay increases or promotions. Brazil, facing a 7.5 percent annual growth rate, can’t keep up talent wise, while India and China face broad-based skill shortages as workers routinely jump ship to pick up the double-digit wage increases that are expected even in a down market.
Firms can no longer expect that workers will stay with them throughout their working life. On one hand, this makes organizations reluctant to invest in talent that may head for the door at the first opportunity. Yet on the other hand, firms who can grow talent become less dependent on individual workers and better able to pass knowledge between team members to reduce the impact of a highly mobile workforce. Adapting rather than complaining about the turnover rates is going to provide smart firms with real talent advantages.
 Insight Research Corporation. “The Mobile Workforce and Enterprise Applications 2007-2012.” Retrieved August 5th, 2011 from: http://www.insight-corp.com/reports/mwf.asp
 Harnish, Tom. “Be Flexible To Modern Staffing Challenges.” Open Forum March 25th, 2011. Retrieved August 4th, 2011 from: http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/be-flexible-to-modern-staffing-challenges-1
 Kazmin, Amy, Robinson, Gwen, and Weitzman, Hal. “Talent Shortage Adds To Growth Strains.” Financial Times, published May 19th, 2011. Retrieved August 4th, 2011 from: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5d288c4-816a-11e0-9c83-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1UNIic5IA