People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34

Conclusion

Virtual teams represent remarkable opportunity for the
modern organization, helping to resolve many workplace
challenges. Among other things, in an environment where
many critical skills are scarce, global markets create access to talent resources that otherwise might be extremely
difficult to find. Nonetheless, virtual teams face barriers
that co-located teams do not. It is, therefore, particularly
important for virtual teams to establish intentional communication and trust-building strategies. Technology, when
used properly, can facilitate trust-building, effective communication, and overall coordination of teams; however,

ILLUSTRATION
The following illustration is an amalgam of virtual project teams, showing
areas that can hinder performance.
Each situation is supplemented with
explanations of ways technology can
effectively address the issues. First,
we provide background on the team
and its members.
A relatively young team formed to
design and implement an HRIS
reporting platform includes nine
representatives from across IT
and HR and is about 10 months
into an 18-month project. As with
most teams, members bring varied
backgrounds and goals to the project. For example, some of the HR
representatives are prioritizing ease
of use while others are particularly
concerned with data privacy and
accuracy. There are representatives
from each geography on the team
to help ensure appropriate reporting practices across countries with
about half of the team co-located at
the U.S. headquarters while others
are located in Germany, India, and
China. Additionally, while this project
is the primary workload for several
team members, most team members
have competing time priorities.
Ten months into the project, the team
lead is struggling to keep things ontrack. Team members don't seem to

34

PEOPLE + STRATEGY

the reverse is also true in that ineffective use of technology
can impair team functionality. Thus, any technology usage
in virtual teams should be aligned to optimize team trust,
communication, and coordination.

Jared Ferrell, M.A., is a senior associate at Shaker International.
He can be reached at jared.ferrell@shakercg.com.
Kelsey Kline, Ph.D., manages the talent research team on the
talent intelligence and analytics team at Intel Corporation. She
can be reached at kelsey.kline@intel.com.

want to collaborate, and work that
should be interdependent is happening in silos. Virtual team meetings
are typically dominated by co-located individuals, while dispersed team
members sit silently on the line.
Several milestone deadlines have
been missed in the last month, and
the team lead is beside herself and
cannot figure out what is causing the
disconnect.
The team described above is clearly
on an extreme in terms being dysfunctional, yet the challenges they
face should resonate with virtual
teams across organizations and
functions. Next, we will dive into
specific challenges plaguing this
team and ways technology-facilitated
interactions could work to improve
this team's trust in team members
and subsequently its performance.
Issue 1: Lack of Initial
Trust Development
For the HRIS reporting team in
this illustration, all of the barriers
to trust formation described above
were present. The co-located team
members, including the team lead,
felt the team was forming cohesively, but the dispersed team members
were not included in enough interactions to build relationships across
the team. The dispersed team members tried to stay connected and
communicate regularly with others,
but much of the team's communication was informal "hallway chats"
that were never relayed. More than

once, this resulted in a change of
direction that wasn't clear to the
whole team.
Ultimately, this meant unequal visibility to decisions as well as progress, and dispersed team members
began to feel alienated and distrustful of what was communicated.
While there may be no silver bullet
in terms of technology to solve this
team's trust issues at this stage,
more effective usage of technology
earlier in the team's lifespan could
have enabled a healthy, trusting
relationship to develop among team
members. As described earlier in this
article, a formal orientation process,
either in person or via video conferencing software would have helped
to build initial relationships. Even if
the team is located across different
time zones, a scheduling tool could
be used to find a time that is mutually
agreeable for all teammates to meet
in real-time to build more personal
and trusting relationships with each
other.
Further, utilization of email or instant
messaging to relay information from
"hallway chats" to the remote team
members would allow for more
comprehensive information sharing
among team members. The onus for
this information sharing should fall
more on the co-located team members than on those who are more
geographically dispersed. In the
case of discussions that changed
any part of the overall project's direction, either a video or telephone



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_3_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_2_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_41_1_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_4_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_3_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_2_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_40_1_2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_4_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_3_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_2_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_39_1_2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_38_4_2015
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http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d49675_hrps_spring2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/d47867_hrps_winter2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/HRPS/hrps_fall2014_teaser
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com