In 2020, many companies had to abruptly changed to a virtual work environment. Two major shifts were required.
• First, many companies had to change their technology infrastructure and related processes and procedures to continue operating effectively.
• Second, employees had to quickly adapt to these changes.
If both parties, company and employees, did not do their part in making these shifts, challenging situations may have occurred.
Let’s assume your company made the necessary changes to operate effectively in a virtual work environment. But, did your employees make the shift and get on board?
According to research conducted by Mike Billington as part of his Doctorate studies in Education, not everyone can get on board. Here is an excerpt from his studies.
“Hiring successful virtual workers requires a paradigm shift. My research found that about 70% of the workforce that is not already remotely working is adaptable to virtual workplaces. Of this 70 percent, 50% easily adjust while 20% can acclimate with moderate training and supervision. Adapting the remaining 30% to virtuality will be a challenge.”
Based on this research, it is quite possible that 30% of your workforce who are working remotely may be struggling. If a virtual work environment is your new norm, these employees may never be able to work successfully in a virtual environment.
As this workplace shift continues, management will need to identify those who can adapt and those who cannot. Lack of adaptability may be a generational or possibility a personality trait issue. Over time, it may become obvious who is struggling to make the shift based on that employee’s work productivity or attitude. If you need to hire a new employee or replace an employee, evaluating potential new hires based on personality traits conducive for virtual work environments will increase your hiring success.
Back to Mike’s research study on virtual work teams, he identified four critical traits that successful virtual workers possess. These four traits are part of the Big Five Personality traits that have been studied for decades within the psychology world.
Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
Introversion (solitary/reserved vs outgoing/energetic)
Emotional Stability (secure/confident vs sensitive/nervous)
There are many assessment tools that can evaluate these traits. Consider assessing your entire team to identify those who may be at risk of struggling in virtual environment. Help those that need additional mentoring or training. Replace those who will or cannot make the shift.
For hiring purposes, couple assessments with behavioral interview questions that shed light on an individual’s ability to adapt and work independently. For example, “Describe your most recent work environment. What did you like or not like about it?”
If you have a hiring need that requires a virtual work environment, give us a call at 317-578-1310 for a complimentary discussion on how to effectively recruit top performing virtual workers.