Best Practices for Managing Property Management Virtual Assistants
Property management virtual assistants are a vital component of the business operations for a property management business. However, managing remote team members can be challenging — but with proper guidance and adherence to proven practices, it's possible to achieve great success and build efficient, productive remote teams of skilled VAs.
So, what's the best approach to building your team and managing them well? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of managing virtual teams effectively and efficiently.
Table of Content
- 01 Start With the Onboarding Process
- 02 Apply Good Communication and Technology
- 03 Set Expectations and Evaluate
- 04 Why Documentation is Crucial
- 05 Best Practices for Building Remote Teams
- 06 What You Should (and Shouldn't Do) When Managing Virtual Assistants
- 07 Help Your Virtual Assistants Manage Their Time for Better Productivity
- 08 Crucial KPIs for Property Management Virtual Assistants
- 09 Understand Delegating vs. Abdicating
Start With the Onboarding Process
Offering comprehensive training is essential to acquaint the VA with the processes, tools, and technologies specific to your organization.
This training should cover various aspects such as the use of software, understanding of workflow procedures, and adherence to company policies. Alongside training in their specific role, including elements that cover the company's culture and values can also be beneficial in making the VA feel like a part of the team.
Continual support and the availability of resources for reference will further aid in solidifying the learning experience.
Set Clear Goals
Establishing clear and measurable objectives for your virtual team members is a vital step in their quick integration into remote teams.
Goals should be aligned with both the specific responsibilities of the VA and the broader mission of the organization. Setting these objectives not only provides direction but also creates a sense of purpose.
The use of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework can be an effective way to set goals that are both challenging and attainable. Then, regular check-ins on these goals can provide timely feedback and necessary adjustments, ensuring remote team members stay on the right track.
Encouraging your virtual contractors to take ownership of their goals fosters a sense of responsibility and helps build confidence in their new roles.
These foundational elements build trust, promote understanding, and set the stage for a fruitful relationship between the VA and the organization. The time and effort invested in this process are valuable in ensuring that the VA becomes a productive and integrated member of the remote team.
Apply Good Communication and Technology
Clear instructions are pivotal to success when managing remote teams.
To make instructions effective, create detailed step-by-step guides, breaking down complex tasks into manageable steps. Utilize visual aids like diagrams, flowcharts, and videos to make complex instructions more understandable.
Additionally, encourage questions and follow up with Q&A to ensure your VAs fully understand their tasks.
Property managers should also set a consistent schedule for weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with VA teams and for one-on-one sessions to create consistency. Utilize video calls to build rapport and make communication more personal. Encourage a property management virtual assistant to reach out anytime they have concerns or need guidance by keeping an open-door policy.
Use Technology Effectively
Embracing technology is essential for communication.
Optimize technology by selecting platforms that suit your team's needs, such as Slack for messaging or Zoom for video conferencing. Create collaboration spaces with online platforms like Trello or Asana to help teams collaborate on projects. Offer tutorials or training on using these tools to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Set Expectations and Evaluate
Good virtual team management also requires that all property management virtual assistants understand their targets.
Explain how a VA's tasks align with the company's larger objectives. Adjustments may be necessary, so it's vital to review and modify goals as needed.
Regularly review performance and provide constructive feedback for each virtual contractor on your team. Feedback fosters growth and can be impactful by implementing a model like "Start, Stop, Continue" to give structured feedback.
Be timely with feedback, addressing issues and successes as they arise rather than waiting for a formal review. Encourage VAs to provide feedback to the management as well, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Why Documentation is Crucial
Documentation is an essential component in managing virtual assistants.
The importance of documentation extends to the following key areas:
Documentation ensures consistency across all virtual teams. By defining procedures, policies, and standards, organizations create a common framework that every team member can follow.
This uniformity leads to more predictable outcomes, minimizes errors, and creates a more cohesive work environment. It ensures that every VA, regardless of their location or background, adheres to the same principles and practices, leading to smoother operations and a higher quality of service.
Documentation facilitates the sharing of information and best practices among remote team members.
In a virtual environment where team members might never meet face-to-face, having a centralized repository of knowledge is invaluable. It allows for quick onboarding of new team members, continuous learning, and a shared understanding of processes and expectations.
By documenting experiences, insights, and methodologies, organizations create a knowledge base that enhances collaboration, innovation, and overall efficiency.
Best Practices for Building Remote Teams
Building and managing remote teams calls for strategic planning and execution.
A reliable process involves the following key practices.
Assemble the Right Team
Matching skills with the need is foundational to a remote team’s success.
This can be effectively achieved by identifying the hard and soft skills necessary for each role within the team, such as specific software expertise or communication abilities.
Implementing online assessments during your selection process can assist in matching the right candidate with the right role. Encouraging continuous learning and development keeps the team’s skills aligned with evolving needs.
Then, fostering an inclusive culture that emphasizes collaboration is vital. This can be achieved by defining and communicating the core values that the team should adhere to, encouraging participation from all team members to ensure everyone’s voice is heard, and organizing virtual team-building activities to promote collaboration and understanding among remote team members.
Use Technology Wisely
The tools used for communication and task completion can make or break a remote team.
Determining the team's needs in terms of collaboration, project management, and communication, and then trialing and evaluating various tools to find the best fit, can be a wise approach. Ensuring all team members are proficient with the chosen tools and offering training if needed further enhances collaboration.
Property managers should also prioritize handling data securely. Utilizing encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure VPNs helps in protecting sensitive data.
Regularly training and updating remote team members on security protocols and emphasizing the importance of adhering to them ensures that data is handled with the utmost care. Routinely assessing and updating security measures keeps the protection in line with evolving threats and technologies.
What You Should (and Shouldn't Do) When Managing Virtual Assistants
The dynamics of working with remote team members differ from traditional in-office relationships, so understanding what to do and what to avoid is crucial.
Here are a few "Do's" and "Don'ts" to keep in mind when managing remote teams.
Do: Monitor Performance, Reward, and Recognize
One of the fundamental responsibilities of good team management is to regularly evaluate the progress of your virtual assistants for property management. By setting clear benchmarks and expectations, you can track how well the VAs perform in their roles.
This monitoring can include periodic reviews, project completion checks, and feedback from other team members. Such an approach not only keeps the VAs accountable but also allows for timely adjustments and support, ensuring that the objectives are met.
Additionally, appreciating and rewarding outstanding performance goes a long way in motivating virtual assistants. Recognizing their achievements, whether big or small, reinforces positive behaviors and fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty.
Rewards can be financial incentives, public praise, additional responsibilities, or personalized tokens of appreciation. It's the acknowledgment of hard work and dedication that can make virtual team members feel valued and engaged.
While it's essential to monitor performance, there's a fine line between supervising and micromanaging.
Trusting virtual team members to execute their responsibilities without constant oversight is crucial in building confidence and autonomy. Micromanaging can create a feeling of distrust and undermine the professional relationship.
It's crucial to provide clear guidelines, sufficient resources, and regular feedback but allow the VAs to carry out their tasks independently. Offering support when needed rather than continuous monitoring empowers virtual contractors and promotes a healthy working relationship.
Help Your Virtual Assistants Manage Their Time for Better Productivity
In the virtual world, managing time effectively is both a challenge and a necessity.
Here's how proper planning and tools can assist your team's productivity.
Defining work hours for better productivity is essential.
By setting clear schedules, organizations create a structure that helps VAs plan their day and prioritize tasks. It fosters a sense of discipline and allows for better coordination with other team members.
Having a well-defined schedule also ensures that VAs can maintain a healthy work-life balance, contributing to their overall well-being and long-term productivity.
Use Time Management Tools
Implementing tools that track and improve time utilization plays a vital role in managing remote team members. Various applications and platforms can monitor time spent, analyze productivity patterns, and suggest improvements.
These tools can be customized to match the unique needs of property management and can be integrated with other systems for a comprehensive view of the VA's performance. By using technology to understand and optimize how time is spent, organizations can identify bottlenecks, streamline workflows, and empower remote assistants to make the most of their working hours.
Crucial KPIs for Property Management Virtual Assistants
Tracking performance through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is essential for understanding a virtual team member's effectiveness and identifying areas for improvement.
KPIs also apply to your team as a whole.
Crucial performance indicators to consider for your VAs include response time, client satisfaction, and task completion rates. It's also wise to consider other factors, such as adaptability, collaboration, and accuracy.
By focusing on KPIs and tailoring them to specific organizational needs, property management professionals can ensure that their virtual team members are aligned with business goals, responsive to client needs, and consistently delivering high-quality service.
Understand Delegating vs. Abdicating
When managing VAs, what's your approach?
Understanding these concepts of delegating vs. abdicating is essential for effective management and successful outcomes.
Delegating involves assigning tasks to VAs with clear instructions, expectations, and oversight. It's not just about handing over the responsibility but ensuring that the VA has the necessary resources, understanding, and support to complete the task successfully.
A proper delegation process begins with identifying the right person for the task, considering their skills, experience, and workload. It includes providing comprehensive instructions, defining the desired outcome, setting deadlines, and outlining relevant guidelines or constraints.
However, delegation does not stop at the assignment. Continuous communication, monitoring progress, providing feedback, and being available for questions or assistance are essential elements of effective delegation. It creates a sense of trust, accountability, and collaboration, allowing VAs to take ownership of their work and contribute positively to the team's goals.
Abdicating, on the other hand, refers to assigning a task and leaving it entirely in the hands of the VA without proper guidance, support, or oversight. Unlike delegation, where there's an ongoing relationship between the manager and the VA, abdicating is a hands-off approach that often leads to confusion, misalignment, and failure.
When a task is abdicated, the VA may not fully understand the expectations, lack the necessary resources, or face obstacles they cannot overcome without assistance. This lack of support and guidance can lead to poor performance, missed deadlines, and dissatisfaction among team members.
Get our Free Guide to Managing Virtual Teams
We've covered a lot here, and we've also developed an in-depth resource to help property management companies build and manage successful remote teams. Simply request your free copy of "The Ultimate Guide to Managing Property Management Virtual Assistants" and apply the insights to finding and managing your property management virtual assistants!