The Virtual Manager: Cutting-Edge Solutions to Hiring, Managing, Motivating, and Engaging Mobile Employees

If you are looking for a guide to managing a virtual workforce that expands upon human resources procedures beginning from hiring the right people, to helping them succeed in a virtual position, to helping someone transition back onsite if the arrangement doesn’t work out, The Virtual Manager by Kevin Sheridan does exactly that. This book opens up with a thorough explanation of the advantages of having a virtual workforce (e.g., the business case – enhancing the ability to recruit and retain talent as well as increasing worker productivity). However, it also addresses the inherent challenges of effective communication. Continue reading

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Having finished some books on managing virtual workers, I’ve come to realize that there is some content overlap. All thoroughly address the leaders’ and managers’ roles and responsibilities as well as the process through which they can develop and maintain an organizational culture that supports a telework arrangement – i.e., one built upon trust, frequent and effective communication, clear expectations, and accountability. For the sake of avoiding repetition, I’ve decided not to go into heavy detail here as all authors appear to agree about the important components of such an organizational culture. Continue reading

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The 1997 edition of The Information Age: An Anthology on Its Impact and Consequences, edited by David S. Alberts and Daniel S. Papp, was made available in pdf format and downloadable for free online. Click here to attain a copy. Updated editions (for 2004 and 2012) are available, however I wanted to check this copy out first and compare it to more recent editions later. As it turns out, I think that the information and predictions in the 1997 edition are still relevant and do a great job of explaining the Information Age’s impact on the way we work and live, job market trends, and how societal institutions will be shaped. This anthology is jam-packed full of interesting information, but I’ve elected to focus on the interesting forecasts made in the first part of this book. Continue reading

The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce

In The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce, authors Christopher Rice, Fraser Marlow, and Mary Ann Masarech provide a thorough guide for organizational leaders interested in improving work engagement. At the outset, they establish that engagement is a unique construct that is distinguishable from satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Furthermore, employee engagement is an individualized equation expressed as the combination of maximum satisfaction for the individual and maximum contribution for the organization. From there, they discuss particular industries (e.g., where there is a high degree of interaction with customers) in which employee engagement particularly impacts results. Additionally, the authors caution against assuming measures that have increased engagement in one geographic region would similarly increase engagement in another. Continue reading

The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All

Julie Clow’s The Work Revolution: Freedom and Excellence for All is an engaging and practical guide written for organizational leaders and thinkers interested in the issue of optimizing organizational structure and culture to suit business needs in the Information Age. Towards the beginning of the book, she provides a comprehensive self-assessment quiz that covers various facets of the organization’s philosophy, the rules, leadership, team and coworkers, and the leader’s role. A chart is provided to record scores and the rating criteria is clear-cut, showing specific areas of strengths and weaknesses. The remainder of the book expands upon the subject matter covered in the quiz providing suggestions for improvement in the process. Continue reading

Nine Shift: Work, Life, and Education in the 21st Century

By William A. Draves and Julie Coates, Nine Shift: Work, Life, and Education in the 21st Century opens up with some historical overview about the transition from the Agrarian Age to the Industrial Age in the United States and compares this to the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. The authors aptly noted cultural resistance to new technology and transitions in work systems both at the turn of the 1800s and at the time of the writing of their book. In doing so they present interesting and entertaining side stories such as L. Frank Baum‘s writing of The Wizard of Oz to convey pro-Agrarian values and resistance to encroaching Industrialization. Continue reading