Talent Development: Building Commitment in Virtual Teams

By Elif Çalışkan

Commitment has been defined as the degree of devoting the individuals to a set of behaviors that motivates them to act. Employee commitment has a positive impact on performance, productivity, job satisfaction, increased competitiveness, accountability, and organizational citizenship behaviors (Fornes, Rocco, & Wollard, 2008).

Indeed, two critical factors that exist in most traditional organizations are usually absent in virtual organizations. The first of these is an internal factor: the hierarchical control. The second is the external factor; the legal authority needed to regulate the formation, operation, and resolution of the organization (Kasper-Fuehrera, & Ashkanasy, 2001). However, some people take a more reactive manner toward work, while others are proactive, initiating efforts that positively change the commitment and performance-related processes (Crossley, Cooper, & Wernsing, 2013). On the other hand, building commitment may be related to combining some items together. In this article, we will propose some tips to ensure the talent development of virtual teams while building commitment.

Recruitment of Appropriate Candidate

Personality traits may play an important role in a virtual team environment or to build commitment into the company because some people feel more tender, anxious, and insecure in remote work (Rosenthal et al., 2013). For instance, proactive personalities may focus and organize their efforts by being anticipatory, and planful based on goals (Crossley, Cooper, & Wernsing, 2013). On the other hand, a study has shown that neurotic people reported at a greater risk of poor mental health when working remotely. However, openness to experience people reported less worried, depressed, or miserable. Agreeable people and introverts also reported feeling less worried and depressed as well (Ogbonnaya, 2020). A study has shown that extroverts misfits with features of a remote work environment, therefore it may bring about virtual team-work burnout. Thus, in the recruitment process, it is important to focus on determining adaptable personalities as well as experience (Meymandpour, & Bagheri, 2017).

Clear Goal Setting

Sometimes it can be tough to build commitment while working remotely. However, setting clear goals have an important influence on employee behavior in organizations and business environments. The goal commitment of the team may have also an important effect on team performance, the quality of group experience, and team exhilaration (Aubé, & Rousseau, 2005). Studies have shown that individuals who are provided with specific, difficult but accessible goals perform better than those given easy, nonspecific, or no goals at all. Furthermore, if people believe they serve important goals, they show more commitment to the organization. Also, for most employees, goals are generally more effective if include a completion deadline because deadlines are perceived as a time-control mechanism so they increase goal-oriented motivation (Lunenburg, 2011).

Trustworthy and Effective Leadership

Trust is an important ingredient of social relationships. It provides frequent and meaningful interaction. Similarly, if individuals trust someone they feel more comfortable and open in sharing their personal feelings and concerns, without feeling anxious and fear to ask and they try to learn more (Holton, 2001). Trustworthy leaders provide serious commitment because they are more likely to negotiate the cooperation and coordination of the team properly. Leaders should also help the team members to look at old problems in new ways, and they are able to motivate, arouse, and inspire group members’ behaviors to achieve the group’s goals (Andi, Santoso, & Simanjuntak, 2008). On the other hand, it can be tough to build trust and effectiveness in a virtual team. However, if a team leader actively listens and responds to team members, and empathizes with their values it contributes to developing more trust and commitment in the virtual team.

Multiple Available Meetings

Work and life roles are established by communicative interaction. Communication provides to ensure responsibilities as well as maintain boundaries among individuals (Warkentin, & Beranek, 1999). However, ensuring the team members get in contact with each other for appropriate response times or meeting one time can be tough, especially when working across multiple time zones. So, arranging multiple meetings can be an efficient strategy and an important way to build more commitment and involvement in the virtual team. It is also important to receive some cues about the availability of the people you would like to speak. For instance, asking whether they are currently dealing with other tasks or not at the same time. Thus, checking the availability of other people and arranging meetings according to the availability of the majority provides a sense of worth for employees and increases trust in the company (Cremers, Duistermaat, Groenewegen, & De Jong, 2008).

Multiple Communication

Social Information Processing Theory suggests that relational intimacy may take longer to develop in computer-supported groups. However, if it is given adequate time, the virtual team exchange enough social information to develop strong relationships. The Team Performance Model also represents a macro view of the meeting process. The development of a relationship among the team members to build trust and commitment is a critical part of any meeting (Warkentin, & Beranek, 1999). However, if there are structured meetings in a week it can take longer to build commitment among the virtual team members. So, one solution is they may create additional special meetings such as “coffee hours” or “breakfast times” to get to know each other more. They can also communicate more in social media. Video calls and chat tools such as Zoom, Discord, or Skype are great ways to build more commitment in the virtual teams.

“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Patrick Lencioni, American Author on Team Management


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