In the course of the months I’ve been writing this blog I’ve frequently referred to how managers’ MAP impacts who they hire; how managers prefer to hire within their comfort zones, etc. Each time I write on this topic I receive email explaining that many of these difficulties could be avoided by hiring VAs (virtual assistants, many of which are virtual professionals). It was pointed out that since they didn’t meet/work face-to-face the problems would not arise, but is that really true?
Whether or not a job should be outsourced is beside the point for purposes of this discussion, but having virtual employees, whether temporary or permanent, won’t improve or fix management MAP.
The idea that a manager’s mindset, attitude, philosophy and preconceived notions all change or go away because the interaction is virtual is ridiculous—almost all the same issues come into play. Bad attitude (whether the manager’s or candidate’s) show up just as much in email, instant messages and phone conversations as they do face-to-face; the manager who doesn’t like to hire female engineers is unlikely to hire one because she is working virtually; age (whether younger or older) is almost as obvious in language usage as it is visually (if it wasn’t already noticed in the résumé or skill set); etc.
The real problem (or challenge, if you prefer) is one of manager MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy)™ and that’s what needs to change. The same problems usually affect the current organization, not just future hires, whether on-site, telecommutes, or virtual. If managers won’t hire someone because of a personal attitude, then how in the world can they manage similar people, since the same attitudes that create barriers when hiring create problems in managing?
Further, what are the chances of a manager being able to completely control every single person hired into their organization? In order to do that the manager would have to be the founder of the company, with every person reporting directly to him, which precludes growth, or a CEO who insists on final approval of every person hired, which practically guarantees failure.
So the true, the only, solution is for managers to change.