It’s so easy to view your Virtual Assistants like a software program. Cursing at them every chance you get, pounding on your keyboard when something goes wrong, typing ALL CAPS in your emails to let them know you’re serious about the deadlines you’ve set – and firing them at the slightest hint of rudeness or perceived indignance when they finally get tired of dealing with you.
Does this sound like you? Or perhaps someone you know?
We live in a digital world and with millions of virtual offices cropping up over the last decade, many new entrepreneurs don’t have a clue how to manage people effectively – ie., getting the results they want, while still treating their virtual staff like they’re valued human beings.
Here’s a few tips you can use to make sure your VA is happy working with you, courtesy of 24/7 Virtual Assistant, one of the leading personal assistant companies:
Avoid Confusion When Communicating
Just as you shouldn’t accept subpar performance from them, they shouldn’t have to chase their tails all over trying to adapt your ever-changing mind, nor should they have to spend more than a few minutes trying to decipher your instructions.
When it comes to decision-making and giving instructions, think twice about everything you send. Try to put instructions together the night before and proofread again in the morning to see if it still makes sense to you before sending them out. Leaving this kind of leeway also ensures if things change overnight, you can avoid confusing the VA with multiple different instructions, or having them waste their time on tasks that later end up needing to be scrapped or completely changed.
Learn the Value of Patience
Just not too much patience! Start off slow with your VA, giving them single tasks to do and be available as much as possible to answer questions. Allow for little mistakes, politely informing them about what they did wrong and how to avoid those issues in the future. Everyone takes time to settle into a groove.
Set a reasonable expectation about what you expect to see from them in terms of performance improvements over the coming weeks. This is also the same timeline you’ll use to meter your patience and understanding. If the employee can’t get themselves up and rolling and working efficiently by the end of the agreed-upon schedule, then it’s time to politely let them go and move on. Getting angry or annoyed early on can scare away some of the best of the bunch.
Process, Process, Process!
McDonald’s wouldn’t be one of the biggest franchise giants in the world if it weren’t for their unique process that keeps the gears turning and profits rolling in. With offices and restaurant locations all over the globe, they need to have firm record-keeping, inventory, communication, employee management, and customer service practises in place. You’ll likely find these processes well-documented, clear and ingrained in the minds of all their employees.
This needs to be how you do business as well. Spend a lot of time documenting how you want tasks completed before and after you hire your first VA. Keep this information stored in the cloud using Evernote, Dropbox, or your favorite project management app, and make sure all VA’s have access to it.
Think of how much easier it is for an employee to quickly brush up on what you expect from the blogposts they’re in charge of or your suggestions for making viral social posts, than it is for them to have to ask you constantly (or worse, guess and end up guessing wrong!) As problems or confusion arise, revise your process notes to make them more clear and detailed.
All these tips will make for less confusion, annoyance and outright anger between you and your VA, resulting in less turnover and more productivity!