As you may know I really like to use Virtual Assistance for my projects and today I am happy to present you Felix who works with OutsourceWorkers.com.au, a company specialized in providing virtual assistants services. He enjoys talking with people sharing entrepreneurship interests and here is the guest post about how to manage VA.
The Virtual Assistant continues to grow in popularity among businesses. The largest corporations in the world such as Dell, Aetna and American Express have integrated virtual assistants in their work force because they effectively lower cost and generate greater productivity.
Managing a Virtual Assistant or a team of virtual assistant is not difficult even though you are conducting work through the virtual world. In certain respects, it is easier because of the greater degree of flexibility and mobility of virtual assistants.
7 Best Ways you Can Manage your Virtual Assistant:
Qualify your Candidates from Reputable Sources.
There are several sources where you can pool together a short-list of candidates for your Virtual Assistant. But not all of them are reputable or dependable this is especially true if you plan to do most of your recruitment work online.
There are several scammers in the virtual world whose only objective is to take advantage of your need and naiveté. They operate in the guise of legitimate service providers or freelancers only to retrieve your personal information, get you to pay “upfront fees” or play mischief by uploading a virus file unto your PC.
Here are a few ways you can be assured of quality resources:
- Do a quick online research on the best service providers.
- Do your due diligence on the profile of every interested candidate.
- Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations.
Hire your Virtual Assistant on the basis of Right-Fit.
Common mistakes of most businesses that hire virtual assistants include over-emphasizing the Curriculum Vitae and the profile of the candidate.
Experience, certifications and recommendations are great but these don’t mean the candidate is ideal for your business. You can hire the candidate with the highest test results, number of certifications and longest tenure but these don’t guarantee you results.
You have to make sure your Virtual Assistant has the right disposition and set of ethics to work with you. He or she understands the purpose of your business, wholeheartedly subscribes to your vision and respects your capabilities in running a business. This is the essence of Right-Fit.
You have to remember that anyone regardless of educational attainment, cultural background and socio-economic status can be trained. But values are ingrained. You cannot override a person’s subconscious with rules and guidelines.
A right-fit candidate will be dedicated and committed to the success of your business.
Use Project Management Tools.
The most important component of any business is to establish organization. When managing a Virtual Assistant you have to institute workflows that make operations more organized and efficient.
There are several innovative project management tools available online. These include Asana, Trello, Basecamp, salesforce.com and Bitrix-24 among others. With the use of a project management tool, you can delegate the work to your Virtual Assistant or team of virtual assistants, keep track of their progress and make changes to the schedule whenever required.
Most of these have a user-friendly navigation interface, highly-secured and accessible. Best of all, a number of these do not require membership fees to join. There are platforms that integrate project management with communication software that allows you to contact your Virtual Assistant if you have to. Your choice of project management software would ultimately depend on the needs of your business.
Use Time-Tracking Software.
One of the biggest advantages in hiring a Virtual Assistant is the ability to generate a productivity level higher than a full-time employee. This is because a Virtual Assistant is compensated based on the accomplishment of milestones that are scheduled using productive hours as reference.
For virtual assistants who are paid per productive hour, you can use time-tracking software to document their productivity. Among these include HubStaff and TimeDoctor. The use of time-tracking software keeps the work arrangement honest; your virtual assistant knows he will be paid according to what he produces and you can be rest assured you will only pay for what has been delivered.
Use Collaborative Software.
Another tool you should use when managing a Virtual Assistant is collaborative software. These are programs that allow you to upload work unto a highly-secured, cloud based file sharing platforms.
Collaborative tools have the unique feature of designating certain work files only to specific members of your team. They also give you the assurance that should your PC crash; you have your important files securely backed up.
Schedule weekly meetings.
Despite managing work through the virtual world, communication remains a vital component of its success.
It is always a good idea to schedule weekly meetings with your Virtual Assistant. The meetings have a three-fold purpose:
- To discuss pending issues, problems and concerns
- To work toward improving the current system or workflow
- To build a stronger working relationship
Always conduct your meetings with video. Even if you are separated by oceans from your Virtual Assistant, communication with face-time is always more effective that pure audio. It fosters transparency and trust.
Implement a grading system.
The worst enemy of any organization is complacency. Once a structure has been in place and work processes become normal, people naturally gravitate toward complacency.
Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link; in business, every area plays a crucial role in ensuring its success. Your Virtual Assistant must remain consistent in the performance of duties and in fact, should work towards self-improvement.
This can be done by implementing a grading system that measures performance on the basis of:
- Statistics – The number of tasks done consistently
- Accuracy- A check and balance on the performance of each task
- Ethics – A measure on the attitude toward work; these include dates of tardiness on the time-card and conduct during meetings
The grading system should work toward improving performance not used as a veiled threat to terminate the Virtual Assistant.
Managing virtual assistants is not much different than managing full-time employees. There are actually more advantages because you can keep track of their work and performance in real time.
Keep in mind, that virtual assistants get more work done than a full-time employee.