It can’t have been an easy decision to let go of the reins and hire a virtual assistant. But if you’ve made the leap, then this article is for you!
Here are some tips that can help your life and your virtual assistant’s life a whole lot easier.
Tips to Improve a Virtual Assistant’s Performance
Tip #1: Create clear expectations, objectives and deadlines
Virtual assistants are likely to be confused if you don’t define what your goals are for the work you’ve given them.
Although they are professionals and have experience doing administrative tasks online, you must encourage them to ask questions so that they can clarify specific instructions that might not be clear to them.
The ability to let them do it reduces time spent on guesswork and allows them to easily understand your message.
Set clear deadlines for tasks assigned. It will help your VA plan the rest of their assignments, but also to understand the importance of each task.
Most VA’s have their own families or other concerns, so being able to manage their time and determine the amount of time they need to dedicate to every task will allow them to plan their schedules more efficiently.
Decide how often you’d like to communicate with your virtual assistant. Will you be calling each day? Each week? Do you expect the employee to submit daily, weekly , or monthly reports of work?
Being transparent about this, and defining how you’ll monitor their time, as well as the preferred method of communication, or contact methods – messages, email and video or phone calls, will help make work processes more smooth and less likely to cause problems.
Tip #2: Be real and don’t assume
Hiring a virtual assistant is not the magic solution to all your business problems.
Virtual assistants let you clear your schedule by handling mundane or administrative tasks that you can’t do on your own.
Let’s face it, your virtual assistant isn’t you. A virtual assistant will do things in a different way than you would do it, so you’ll have to be flexible with your expectations.
Virtual assistants may be novices or have years of experience, however you should always allow them to have some time for learning and adjustment.
Like the start of every relationship, flexibility needs to be contributed by both sides. He or she will need to tweak their working styles to adapt more to yours, and vice versa.
Tip #3: VA’s are assets
Virtual assistants are there to make your work life easier.
Tasks like checking your messages, calling, organizing your travel itineraries, researching, booking your hotels or flights, bookkeeping, managing your social media accounts and other tasks that take up a lot of time but don’t need your personal attention can be delegated to a virtual assistant.
Hiring an offshore VA costs less than hiring one personally and in-house. With their vast experience and set of extensive skills, most of the time you will be surprised that they have the skills of 2 to 3 employees.
Tip #4: Be respectful
Respecting your virtual assistant does not only mean entertaining questions and asking them for suggestions or ideas, but also paying them on time, building a good relationship with them and acknowledging that, though you are the client or boss, they’re human beings too.
This means they also have a life away from the work they do for you. Give them rewards and compliment them on a job well done too.
Doing this is not a step back from your accomplishments but will go a long way toward giving your virtual assistant a confidence boost.
It will also let them know that they’re going in the right path of what you want and expect.
Tip #5: Trust your VA and step out of their way
Take the time to train your virtual assistant in exactly how you want to do things, but always with the intention of having them work unsupervised in future.
No one likes micromanagers, because it creates a negative environment, and lowers productivity and work satisfaction.
If there are specific systems that you usually use for your business, now is the time to give them access and bring them onboard with the way you do things.
Training a VA should not only be done in the beginning. As your business grows, or as you make changes depending on the needs that arise, or you think your virtual assistant could use a little more explanation of what your company is about, don’t be afraid to contact them and provide them with additional training.
Tip #6: Feedback
When you work with a virtual assistant, it’s important to not only provide them with feedback on the tasks they have completed, but also to ask them for their opinions.
Asking your VA for suggestions or opinions regarding the tasks at hand is an excellent way to increase engagement and make them feel that they are respected.
For instance, you can ask your virtual assistant for opinions on how certain processes are going or to let them contribute ideas on a specific project.
You also have to remember that just asking for their opinion will do absolutely no good if you don’t actually listen to it. Listen to the suggestions of your VA but make sure that they also feel that their opinion matters.
Many business owners aren’t willing to respond to feedback since they believe that their business should be built around their own visions.
But, having your team to brainstorm is likely to result in excellent outcomes.
Tip #7: Dedicate time to improve relationship
Virtual assistants could be among the best assets of your business, however, you should not take them for granted
If you invest time in improving your relationship, you’ll be able to ensure that your assistant will stay and work with you long-term, meaning you won’t need to go through the hassle of selecting a new assistant or starting from scratch to train them.
To improve your relationship with your virtual assistant, you have to make sure to always keep communication open, starting from the onboarding process during the first few weeks.
Make yourself open to any questions your assistant may have and trust them that they can complete the task and give them feedback once you feel they are capable of working without your supervision.
Scheduling video or voice calls with your VA, whether once a week or once a month, can also help you improve the relationship you have.
Communicating by voice or video can help you pick up some things that you wouldn’t normally be able to notice via email or chat.
Having a good professional relationship with your virtual assistant is important because VAs will feel that their employer cares and more likely they will be motivated to work harder.
Tip #7: Put the effort
It’s quite easy to ignore your virtual assistant particularly in the event that you don’t talk to them in person regularly.
Although you may think you’ve got a great work relationship, you still need to be sure that you put in the effort to ensure that it doesn’t change
Remember that things will not always be perfect with your employees. Still, by putting in effort and reminding yourself that they are only human, you can build a long-term relationship with someone who will appreciate you for it, and might also be more invested in the success of your business..
Respect your virtual assistant as you would do with any of your other employees.
Make an effort to recognize their hard work on a regular basis and provide them constructive feedback.
Most business owners have more success in building long-term relationships with their virtual assistants when they get to know them a bit more on a personal level, too.
Tip #8: Stop micromanaging
No one likes to be micromanaged because it usually sets the assumption that there’s not enough trust between the employer and their employees.
This is also true in the case of working with a virtual assistant. If you manage them too much, your VA could feel resentful and not valued.
However, you must be ready to manage your virtual assistant if needed, as the relationship you have between your virtual assistant is likely to be a hands-off one.
Micromanaging can be a bit confusing when you are doing it overly and overdoing it, so try to find a compromise and monitor your virtual assistant without becoming too overbearing.
Tip #9: Perks and rewards
Recognition of employees is essential to ensuring motivation and engagement. Everyone wants to know that they’ve done their job effectively and virtual assistants aren’t an exception.
If you feel that your virtual assistant has significantly decreased your workload or made it a lot easier for you and completed their tasks on time, don’t hesitate to acknowledge it by appreciating them.
A simple thank you can be enough to encourage employees, however, you should think about giving your virtual assistant benefits or rewards periodically.
It could range from tech products like an upgrade to their laptop, better headphones, or a brand new application that makes their job easier. They can also get unique treats like the gift card to an online store or a local establishment in their local area.
You could also arrange for a surprise delivery — like cake for their birthday or simply a surprise pizza delivery to help them out while they are working hard to meet the deadline can definitely motivate your VA and boost their loyalty.
If you work with a virtual assistant for a long period of time, you should make it easy for them to take some breaks away from work when they want to.
Tip #10: Always stay on top of payroll
It is essential to establish the right expectations regarding the amount your VA is paid, whether they’re paid on an hourly basis or on a contract or with a salary, and the method by which you’ll be paying them.
A contract must be signed in the hiring process. It should outline the specifics of the job as well as payments that way there will be no issues when payday arrives.
One of the main reasons that excellent virtual assistants leave companies is that they don’t get paid on time. Be sure to pay them according to the schedule discussed since the satisfaction of receiving reliable and steady pay is a powerful incentive for virtual assistants to stay at your company.
After all, you don’t want them to go work for the competition just because you forgot to pay their monthly invoice on time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can a virtual assistant be productive?
A virtual assistant can be productive if he or she knows how to manage time wisely and prioritize their tasks. Being productive is not always easy, but you have to maintain a steady, average speed on a few things to get things done.
How can a virtual assistant work effectively?
To work effectively with your virtual assistant, you need to have effective communication and you need to be able to delegate tasks and set goals. Provide them with the right tools and trust your VA.
Making a little time and effort to train your virtual assistant and build a good working relationship with them can bring huge benefits and improve their work output.
Once you have found and hired a virtual assistant that you are happy with, it’s time to start building a long-term relationship and get the most out of their skills as well as helping them with extra training as needed.
It can be a big adjustment to let go of some control and delegate tasks with someone you may not ever meet in person, but after overcoming that hurdle and getting used to the idea, there’s no roadblock to ensuring that your working relationship will keep getting better and better.
Rei is a resident Author on Mango & Coffee. Specializing in business development online. Well-versed in article research and creation. A long-time independent worker, assisting clients with administrative work, business development projects, social media, marketing, content writing and other tasks.