Mitigating Personnel Issues in a Virtual Environment

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Practical Application: Moderating Personnel Issues in a Virtual Environment

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Types of Virtual Issues
  • 1:29 Advantages
  • 2:48 Taking Action
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Skoy

John has an MBA and has taught college business for over a decade, both online and in person. He is a Dean of Faculty for an online university.

Virtual environments can pose a challenge when addressing personnel issues. Although a manager may be separated from employees physically, written communication can effectively accomplish the job of coaching, reprimanding, and resolving personnel issues.

Types of Virtual Issues

You are a manager who is 500 miles away from your employees. One particularly troubling employee has been missing deadlines and won't return communication. Work is getting backed up and more pressure is being put on the virtual supervisor to solve the issue. What do you do?

Before solving this problem, it is important to understand how virtual workplace issues arise. They can be broken down into two main categories: interpersonal and performance.

Interpersonal issues in the virtual environment differ from those in the traditional workplace. Instead of daily face-to-face interaction, virtual teams rely heavily on written communication. Because of this, many interpersonal issues occur due to poor writing technique and tone. Writing ambiguous emails and messages that can be taken multiple ways can cause problems between co-workers. Writing messages with an aggressive tone can cause dissent. Frequency of communication can also contribute to problems with interpersonal communication, since the supervisor and team need to be able to remain in regular contact. Unlike the traditional workplace, you cannot just walk down to someone's cube if you have not heard from them in awhile.

The second type of issue that may arise is performance-based. This is a personnel issue that more closely aligns with the classical workplace. If an employee is not meeting their deadlines, quota, or other metric, then they need to be coached back on the right track.


In the example above, our employee is guilty of both of these issues: poor interpersonal communication and sub-standard work performance. In order to remedy the situation, we need to understand how to address each type of issue in a way that's specific to virtual work environments.

Virtual environments carry several advantages over face-to-face environments. First, everything that is communicated can be recorded and documented. This documentation is key for a company's human resources department, as it provides proof of action for personnel issues.

Another advantage is that activities and performance can also be more accurately monitored and recorded, since most virtual teams rely heavily on their computers and relevant software for their workday. Any issues arising from performance can be immediately noted and tracked for improvement.

Finally, directives and personnel coaching can be more accurately delivered, since the employee will have written document that shows exactly what improvements need to be made. This can be much more effective than a verbal meeting in an office, since the stress of an in-person interaction would likely cause the employee to forget most of the conversation. Since the virtual employee will have an email to refer back to, they can take time to decompress before returning to the message and taking action.

Taking Action

The first thing to remember when dealing with personnel issues is that quick action must be taken. Every hour that passes in the virtual world allows issues to grow. A manager must act upon learning of the problem.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account