Virtual Workforce Trends: What is HR's Role?


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Part 1: Virtual Workforce Trends

• 2013 SHRM Workforce Trends report
• HR’s response to workforce trends
• Role of technology in a virtual workforce

Part 2: HR’s Role in Managing Virtual Teams

• HR’s role in supporting virtual teams
• Becoming more engaged in the success of your virtual workforce

Current workforce trends suggest that HR leaders are faced with the toughest challenges to attracting, rewarding and retaining talent. Research suggests that compensation alone is not doing the trick to solve the talent crisis. Employees are relying on employers to provide flexible work schedules and arrangements to balance work and life.

Technological advancements have made it possible to conduct business virtually anywhere in the world. More organizations are taking advantage of the ability to expand their brands and to connect their workforces, as well. Forty-two percent of HR Professionals said the use of technology to eliminate geographic barriers in the workplace would have a major impact on business operations in the near future. In a related trend, a combined 85% of HR reps said an increased use of virtual teams would affect the U.S. workplace in the next five years as reported by the 2013 SHRM Workplace Forecast. As these workforce trends become the “new normal” in the way employees work, companies are relying on HR to support virtual leaders and global virtual teams to be engaged and effective.

This webinar will focus on the current workforce trends of 2013 as well as provide HR professionals with strategies on forming and norming virtual teams, building trust and accountability of virtual teams, resolving conflict amongst virtual teams, delivering training, and implementing collaboration and communication tools.

Raymond Lee launched Careerminds in 2008, a virtual outplacement company. He brings over 18 years human resource leadership, virtual career consulting, and outplacement experience to Careerminds. Raymond pioneered the concept of virtual outplacement after experiencing years of traditional outplacement in a variety of HR roles. Over his career, he planned and executed several large-scale layoffs and in his last role set up a costly in-house brick and mortar outplacement center for displaced employees to access.

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  • Welcome everyone to todays webinar. As Justin mentioned, I’m Raymond Lee and I’m the Founder and Chief Product Officer here at Careerminds... I’m truly delighted to be here with you today to discuss a very exciting and very evolving topic such as virtual workforce trends and your role in supporting virtual employees. POLLS AND CHAT BOX. Phones are on mute. I’ve been researching virtual for some time now and as I continue to see the trends moving toward flexibility in work schedules, I REALLY I felt like it was time to bring HR together to talk about best practices, so this is my first webinar I’m presenting on this topic. My hopes are to get conversation going about what YOU’RE experiencing as well as well as the challenges you face with supporting virtual employees. Next week, I’m attending SHRM in Chicago and will be conducting a survey on HR’s role in supporting virtual employees, so I’m planning to have a part two of the webinar to share my findings. I’d also encourage you to stop by our booth and say hello.SO, there are really two main components to today’s webinar that I’m planning to present. 1. Highlight the latest workforce trends recently published by SHRM in May 2013, Titled “Top Workplace Trends According to HR Professional” 2. Share ideas and best practices in HR’s Role in supporting “Virtual Employees”. Get your input as well as being collaborative.
  • Open with a poll. How many of you are currently working full time virtually in your current job? Give a second for responses to come in.DEFINE 100% virtually.YesNo
  • According to a recent surveypublished by Gartner, over 3.1 million professionals work full time from home.. . That’s roughly 2% of the overall labor workforce of 155M. What does that mean? KPMG reported in late 2012 that organizations are saving over $8000 per employee via telecommuting. The is a combined total of 24 Billion annually. Will be discussing drivers today….. Cost savings to the organization
  • Open with another poll. How many of you are currently working virtually in your current position at least one day per week, 2-5 days per week, at least one day per month or none of the above. One Day per week2-5 Days per weekAt least one day per monthNone of the above
  • 16 million professionalsare working from home at least one day per month, that is over 11% of the US Workforce.It could be a Friday or Monday or middle of the week. These employees are working from a home office, kitchen table, spare bedroom, their car, coffee shop, etc.
  • So, one of the biggest drawbacks for me while I work from home is the social interaction I get from working in the office.- This is my social companion., snickers…. Taking breaks is hard for me when working from home, so snickers forces me to take breaks a few time throughout the day.
  • SHRM reported that over 79% of employees are looking for a flexible work schedule, as reported by HR professionals. So, who are these people? It’s not the is not just the mindset of the Gen X ers or Gen Y (also referred to as the Millennials). Sure, they are the group that expects flexible work options, and employers of choice need to recognize this in order to attract great talent.Research suggest the average telecommuter is a College gradEarning an average of $58,000, with 75% earning more than $65,000 per year49 years old…. Does include a few Baby Boomers too
  • At IBM, about 42% of the company's 300,000+ employees work on the road, from home, or at a client location, saving the computer company about $100 million in real estate-related expenses each year.These are significant benefits to keeping cars off the road, helping thembolster its green initiatives, but this practice ALSO can foster employee retention, boost worker productivity, and slash real estate costs.
  • So, I want to spend a few minutes reviewing the latest SHRM Workforce trends just released last month. This is such a great report…… This report highlights the biggest challenges HR executive face as well as employment and economic trends for the next 5 years.
  • POLL- What is the biggest challenge that HR Executive face today as reported in the workforce trends?ANSWER?59% of HR Executives reported that “Retaining and Rewarding the Best Employees” is the biggest challenge they face in the coming years followed by- “Developing the next generation of Corporate Leaders”- “Creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees”…And remaining competitive in the marketplace.
  • POLL-What are the tactics HR professionals are taking to retaining and rewarding the best employees?HINT – click slideWhat is really interesting though.. For the last 4 years … - over 50% of respondents said “Providing Flexible Work Arrangements” was the number 1 tactic HR Executives felt would be the most effective in attracting, retaining and rewarding the best employees in your organization - 37% was next with “Maintaining a culture of trust, open communications and fairness” ….- And next was “compensation”. Over the last 4 years, compensation continued to lag as a tactic to attract, retain, and reward employees.
  • SHRM also reported that HR felt the rise in fuel and gas prices were going to have have a significant impact in the workplace. So providing flexible work schedules to employees would have a direct impact on employee savings as well as keeping cars off the road and reducing corporate expenses. Other economic trends worth noting were healthcare, shortage in skilled workers, and decline in employees retirement savings.
  • So what about technology? SHRM noted technological changes in the workplace have been extremely fast-paced, and have allowed organizations to be more efficient in supporting and managing virtual workforces. These new technologies and softwarehave also streamlined HR processes and made it easier for employees to collaborate.I’ve talked to several HR professionals and business leaders, and people are using technology more today than ever before. We’re going to be talking a little later about how technology can really enhance engagement of virtual employees…….
  • So before we get to that, lets first define the differences between a virtual team and virtual workforce, because the level of support, policies, and challenges will be different with each. A virtual team is a group of dispersed employeeswho work across time and space utilizing technology to accomplish one or more organizational tasks. They are also defined as being small temporary groups of knowledge workers. They tend not to meet face to face. I find that virtual teams have been around for a while, but because technology has evolved so much in the last several years, the level of engagement in virtual have significantly improved.As an EXAMPLE of virtual team - During my time with a global telecommunications organization as an HR Business Partner in mid 2000, I was selected to participate on a team of global HR consultants to implement SAP HR Globally. I represented the US on the project located in Philadelphia and there were 5 other HR business partners on the team from Mexico, Europe, Spain, Asia, and Singapore. The project lead was also located in the US at corporate in Cleveland. The SAP project consultant was located in California. The project was 18 months and we met face to face twice, once at the kick-off meeting and once after 9 months, which was the start of implementation. Selection Criteria - HRIS subject matter experts - more about technical expertise versus ability to work virtuallyWork location- Office environment. #1 Challenges- Time zones impacting the coordination of meetings, particularly impromtu meetings. There were also some technology gaps and language barriers.This is just one example… There are many other examples of where virtual teams are created to accomplish organization goals and objectives.We’re going to spend the majority of our time discussing the support of a virtual workforce. I find there is a big gap between how organizations use and support virtual workforces. A virtual workforce is defined as one or a set of employees who work full time or part of their time in a virtual workplace, such as their home, car, hotel, or coffee shop, etc. Some organizations refer to this as Flexible Work Arrangements. EXAMPLE- Here at Careerminds, we use a 100% virtual workforce of career consultants to deliver career consulting to participants going through our program.Selection Criteria- self motivated, can work alone and independently. We rely on behavioral assessments to screen for desired competencies, must have experience working from home, needs technical coaching skillsWork location- Home office (consultants have a laptop, access to the network and corporate email, and a smart phone)Challenges we face- Getting them to feel included and part of the team. I also see many organizations with a flexible workforce where part of the time is spent in the office while the other part of their time is virtual. Again, the flexible work arrangements.Poll- Have you supported or currently support a virtual team, virtual workforce, both, or neither?Virtual TeamVirtual WorkforceBothNoneCHAT BOX – What are the challenges you face?CommunicationCulture ShiftPulling their own weightLeft behind in the officeManagers like to see face to faceFair and balance of teams
  • So, why go virtual?? Well, I’m here to tell you we are in a war for talent!! Your competition is responding to the workforce trends and are providing virtual and flexible work arrangements to employees.I was recently talking with a SR HR BP within a fortune 500 pharmaceutical company and he said it best “My company provides me ultimate in flexibility in my job. They allow me to work from home when needed. I save two hours of travel time a day when I’m working form home, I’m just more productive and more efficient. I’m often contacted by recruiters for great opportunities, but for me to leave my organization, I need to really consider the all the benefits I get, not just compensation.”Employees want flexibility in their schedules to work WHEN and WHERE its convenient. Virtual reduces employee and employer expenses, keeps cars off the road and is great for the environment.Virtual also creates time efficiencies. I hear from so many employees that they’re actually able to get more work done because they don’t have the travel time in the morning. They are more productive.If you think about it from a talent acquisition standpoint, a Virtual Workforce will significantly expand your talent pool and reduce relocation expenses
  • So let’s talk about your role in supporting virtual employees. You really need to give special consideration here to the four components as you think about creating and supporting a virtual workforce.1. Creating and administering Policy – What type of policies are needed to support a virtual workforce and flexible work arrangements. 2. Training (How are you able to train employees and Supervisors on your virtual and flexible work policies)3. Engagement (How are you able to establish good engagement, create a culture of trust, feeling like your virtual employees are part of the team and not on a remote island. It also means Equitable performance management and maintaining acceleration within a virtual environment) – I call it the PUSH versus PULL. 4. Monitoring (being able to help managers recognize issues and provide coaching support, also administering virtual engagement surveys to understand what’s working and what needs improvement and, lastly answering questions about the policy, and ensuring consistency and fairness across the organization)The Use of Technology as indicated in the center is such a key theme as you support virtual employees, particularly with engagement.
  • Before going virtual, you must first determine your corporate philosophy around a virtual workforce. I’ve seen organizations start with a policy that promotes a culture of “shared responsibility” where executives promote TRUST, employees take ownership and accountability of their work, and most importantly supervisors are supportive and are fair to all employees within their departments. As a starting point- good policies need to be in place.The organization needs to determine corporate philosophyThey also need to determine who is eligible. Not all positions are eligible for virtual and flexible work arrangements. Virtual work needs to support the business objectives and cannot have a negative effect on the business.You should also consider defining the virtual functionsSuch as telecommuter (would be classified as someone working from home)Mobile worker (may be someone who works at various corporate locations – hoteling) – this person may not have a permanent workspaceRemote worker (may be someone who works between a client location, home, office, etc.Lastly, you’ll need to define a request and approval process for flexible work?
  • You’re all probably familiar with the bold decision Marissa Mayer, CEO Yahoo made to end their companies popular “Work From Home Policy”. This is a picture of Mayer at the Great Place to Work Conference earlier this year. She defended her decision by first acknowledging that "people are more productive when they're alone," and then stressed "but they're more collaborative and innovative when they're together. Mayer felt strongly this needed to happen in order for her team to be innovative. She pulled 200 of the companies 12,000virtual employees back in the office.It worth mentioning that Mayer that before joining Yahoo, Mayer helped create the culture at Google that landed them at the number 1 spot on the fortune list of 100 best companies to work for list. Her decision to replace “the end of virtual work” came with different ideas together included free food at the office, iPhones for the staff which were both staples at Google. Mayer has made resetting the culture a Yahoo a top priority. Maybe one day, she’ll revert back to offering a work from home policy, but for now it’s a benefits they do without.
  • So with that being said, you really should give some thought to what are the right positions to make virtual or flexible. Virtual is not for all positions, your policy should include an equitable process for determining if an employee can complete their work virtually. Remember that virtual work needs to meet business needs.I’d love to hear from you what types of positions you’ve approved or supported as virtual?Using your chat box, please share with me positions in your company that you’ve allowed to be virtual and why?Thanks for sharing…..I personally think it really depends on the company culture, size and job functions. Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Product managers, business leaders, some engineering functions such as software, creative design positionsOne of the things HR can do is help determine success factors among virtual employees:Number 1, for us at careerminds, Being Self motivated is really importantAble to work independentlyAccessibilityTrustworthy
  • So, how do you determine if someone is self motivated?So at Careerminds, we use the DiSC personality profile tool to determine a career consultants work style. That help us determine desired behavior strengths. Your looking at two DiSC profile patterns here, Results oriented and a Specialist Pattern.Results Oriented people tend to be self motivated and are easily able to work independently with little direction and hand holding. They tend to look for difficult tasks and competitive situations as indicated by the high “D”. These ARE people who tend to AVOID constraining factors such as direct controls, time consuming details, and routine work…. On the other hand Specialist people tend to need specific goals and assignments laid out for them, but when done so, they’re able to stay focused on the project as evident by the high “S” – steadiness. They may also require help when starting new projects and in developing shortcut methods to meet deadlines.
  • Once you have a policy in place, how do you assimilate and orientate employees to your virtual work culture and practices:I’ve seen some companies do this really well. I’ve seen programs that depending on the nature of the virtual work, equipment is provided to employees from Laptop with VPN access , land line phone with teleconferencing capabilities, smart phone, printer/scanner, as well as allowance for office furniture. It is important that employees have a home work environment that allows them to be productive in their work.Employees who are hired and work virtually need to be orientated to the company, people and culture.- I’m seeing more and more emphasis on technology for onboarding, such as employee intranet sites with video messages from the CEO, social collaboration tools, and other online resources that are specially catered to the employees interests.The use of effective eLearning was recognized in the SHRM workforce report as the number one way HR will train their employees of the next 5 years. Webinars/web are also conferencing are great ways to onboard new employees. I also recommend video recording your web conference meetings and training to email to new employees or employees who missed training.. When you have virtual employees, they will need a place to plug in when visiting an office. I remember a time where I would literally fight for a conference room or vacant office. It was always on a first come first serve basis. Hoteling is a recent term invented by large consulting firms who have large mobile workforces. This concept is rapidly expanding to broader organizations though. The way it works is the company has an enterprise software that manages all of its office resources. Virtual employees can log in and see the layout and availability of offices for a particular need. They reserve an office for a specific date and time. It truly reduces the stress of not having a place to plug in to conduct business.
  • Engagement I feel is the number one challenge I hear that employers face with a virtual and flexible workforce, particularly with more full time virtual employees. It doesn’t just start with their job, but starts with the way the company treats virtual employees as a whole.I often see companies making the mistake of not being fully inclusive of virtual employees and begin to create stereotypes.For example…. I’m familiar with a company who required specific annual training to employees within the office around ergonomics in the workplace as well as other office training. They didn’t make the same training mandatory for their virtual employees. You don’t want to create an environment where employees say, we don’t need to worry about that group…. ..”their remote or their virtual.” Thatmayseemlike a minorexample, but it begins to form and shape a mindset that virtual employees are treated differently.You don’t want employees feeling like their not part of the company.You especially don’t want employees feeling like their being treated differently around performance review time. You need to over-communication with your virtual employees. They need to feel they are part of the office environment.Examples-How do you creating a culture of trust – HR can facilitate these activitiesVideo record your employee town hall meetings and make available to your virtual employees to watch on the company intranet siteSchedule weekly or monthly teleconference/video conference calls with department manager so they can communicate how the business is performing by showing key performance indicators. Record the meeting and make available to others who couldn’t attendHave the division VP or someone high up in the organization place a call or video call to welcome the new virtual employee to the teamCan you share other ideas you’ve done to make virtual employees feel more included? I’d like to share with others on the call.
  • Companies are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on social collaboration tools to foster collaboration and engagement of employees working in the office as well as virtually. Larger organizations have their own systems…. Small to midsize companies use tools like Yammer, Google+, Chatter, etc…. We can spend a whole session on social collaboration tools and best practices. If you already have a system in place, HR should be able to help identify technology gaps among employees and provide tools and coaching on using tools to stay connected.
  • Lastly monitoring your virtual and flexible workforce policy is very important. This can be a challenge when it comes to performance management and succession planning. Knowing who your virtual high-potentials are in your group or organization is critical. You need ensure all employees are treated equitably across the organization regardless to where they work, corporate or remote.Another key area that you can help add value is new manager assimilation to a virtual workforce. When a new manager is hired to the company, you can help facilitate an assimilation exercise where the manager gets to know all employees strengths and development areas.I’ve seen where new managers get hired in and don’t really get to know the virtual employees and their contribution and are the first to go in a reduction in force. They’ve actually left higher performing employee go because they were out of sight-out-of mind.You can help support managers with the assimilation of their new team.
  • HR can play a significant role in monitoring virtual employees such as helping supervisors with managing conflict and providing coaching support to resolve. You can also help of course with documenting performance issues and performance discussions.Lets take a quick look at some potential examples. Lags in emails generate mistrust and frustration between team members- Instant messaging can be effective here On the flip side, employees complain to supervisors that employees may try solve complex problems over instant messaging- I experience this with texting. At some point you’ll need to pick up the phone and call to work out the issue.3. Silence from team members on conference call, not all is engaged – Video conferencing would help here because, people would see each other multi-tasking on their phone or laptop as opposed to not paying attention.
  • Here is a virtual team matrix that I use that highlights employees on my team, where they work and time zone, along with the communication preference and DiSC profile pattern. It also shows the strengths and weaknesses of the virtual team as it relates to technology.
  • Virtual Workforce Trends: What is HR's Role?

    1. 1. Virtual Workforce Trends: What is HR’s Role? By Raymond Lee
    2. 2. Raise Your Hand Do You Work Virtually?
    3. 3. Professionals work full-time from home 3.1 million
    4. 4. How Often Do you Work Virtually?
    5. 5. Work remotely at least 1 day per month 16 million
    6. 6. #1 Work Colleague
    7. 7. Number of professionals who want to work from home 79 percent
    8. 8. May 2013 SHRM Workforce Forecast Top Workforce Trends According to HR Professionals
    9. 9. #1 Challenge HR Executives Face “Retaining and Rewarding the Best Employees”
    10. 10. Tactics to Retaining and Rewarding the Best “Providing Flexible Work Arrangements”
    11. 11. Top Economic and Employment Trends “Rise in Fuel/Gasoline Prices impact the Workplace”
    12. 12. Technology Connects Global Employees Remotely
    13. 13. Virtual Team Virtual Workforce Do you support the following?
    14. 14. Why Go Virtual? “Retention & Cost”
    15. 15. HR’s Role in Supporting Virtual Employees Technology Policy Training Monitoring Engagement
    16. 16. Policy: Do you have a policy on Virtual Work? Telecommuter Mobile Worker Remote Worker
    17. 17. Virtual May Not Be For Everyone?
    18. 18. What are the right positions for Virtual?
    19. 19. Personality Profile Comparison
    20. 20. Training: On-boarding virtual employees Company Intranet eLearning Hoteling
    21. 21. Challenge for virtual employees Engagement
    22. 22. Social Collaboration Tools Corporate Movement • CRM Chatter – Salesforce • Yammer – Microsoft • Google Hangouts! • Corporate Solutions  Instant messaging
    23. 23. Monitoring: Virtual Performance Management
    24. 24. Conflict Among Virtual Employees
    25. 25. Team Member Location (Time Zone) Communication Preference DiSC Profile Strengths Weaknesses Rex (Team Lead) Denver, CO (Mountain) E-Mail, Instant messaging, WebEx, Inspirational Building & maintaining trust, Performance Mgmt, and Networking Use of information technology John Wilmington, NC (Eastern) Telephone Perfectionist Networking face to face Use of technology and spanning boundaries Joyce San Francisco, CA (Pacific) Email and Instant Messaging Persuader Self Management & Project Management Networking Charlotte Toronto, Canada (Eastern) SharePoint; Web conferencing (with video) Persuader Use of Technology Interpersonal Awareness & project management Adam Dallas, TX (Central) Instant messaging & discussion boards Counselor Networking via technologies Use of technology Brenda New Orleans, LA (Central) Instant messaging, blogs, SharePoint Objective Thinker Use of Technology Self Management Virtual Team Member Matrix
    26. 26. ONLINE at Thank you Careerminds is a leader in outplacement 2.0, serving the U.S. and Canada. We’d like to learn more about your outplacement strategy and how it can evolve to deliver better results. Raymond Lee: Twitter: @virtualHRpro CONTACT US