Training Your Virtual Assistant
Steps to guaranteeing your virtual assistant new hire will be successful
Before you hire a virtual assistant, you need to determine what role you are going to hire for. If you are going to hire to support a specific process, go through the process and determine which tasks can be offloaded to the virtual assistant. Make sure there is no ambiguity on how the tasks are completed.
Determine the personality type
Determine the personality type it will take to fill the job role and hire for that personality type.
If you have a training system with manuals and videos, that is great. However, it is not necessary. It is important that you spend a lot of time with your virtual assistant the first few weeks they are on the job. During this training time, have the virtual assistant build the training manual and videos for the job role. This way, they can train the next person, or if they get promoted, the next virtual assistant can learn through your new training systems.
Record Your Training Meetings
After your training session, have the virtual team member watch the recording, take notes, and build the training manual from the recordings. This should be their main task the first few weeks on the job.
Treat them as part of the team
Include them in team meetings, add them to your internal communication channels, get their photo and bio on your website, and listen to their feedback.
It is important that you establish how your virtual team member will be communicating with the team. Having the team members constantly be on a video conference to see them tends to exhaust their local computer resources and gives a “big brother” vibe. One that is distrusting. It is better to create a policy that for each meeting they are in they must be on a video call and they must have their camera turned on. Slack or some other Instant Messaging service is very helpful with communication. This tells you if they are logged on to their computer.
Ask for feedback
It is important that you ask for feedback from your team members. It is they that are performing the job role. By asking for feedback, it gives the team members a sense of ownership over their job roles. Many great ideas and process changes come from the team on the front lines that have the ability to give feedback to their managers.
Give them Authority
You cannot give them authority when they first start but once they are fully trained and fully understand the job role, give them the authority to make decisions and to make recommendations to change any process that they own. By empowering your team members to take ownership, you will be rewarded with lesser escalations, less stress, happier team members, and an overall better customer experience.
Delegate not abdicate
There is an important difference between delegating and abdicating. When you delegate to someone, you give them responsibility for something, but you stay in the information loop. Abdicating is when you give somebody responsibility and then you disappear and you are not in the information loop. You will create stress and potentially lose a good team member when abdicating.
It is important to meet with the team members often when you first contract with them. You need to spend time training the team member on the job role, on the company core values and how the company operates, communicates and who is who in the company. You will also need to schedule weekly KPI meetings so they can go over their KPIs with you and inform you what is going well and what is not going well. These meetings are important to obtain feedback so you can help them become adjusted and to become a productive part of the team.
When compensating your virtual assistants you always want to build a compensation plan that will continue to motivate your team members and pay them market or above market price. Most employers that hire a virtual assistant just want to pay the assistant an hourly rate. Usually, one that is very low, and expect a long term commitment and long term success. The more you can treat your virtual assistant like a team member, the better chance of long-term success you have. You need to consider the following when compensating your team member:
- Hourly rate
- Will you pay overtime or not
- Will you provide paid time off
- Will you give paid off holidays
- Bonus structure
- Internet or computer stipend
You do not have to provide all of these items. But the more you provide, the better chance you have of your virtual assistant staying long term with your company.