These days, productivity does not only mean that you have done a lot of tasks within a working day, it means that you have delegated your tasks. In order to achieve this, you may choose to hire a virtual personal assistant to help accomplish more for your business. This will help you acquire more time for yourself and your loved ones.
Just the mere thought of doing everything by yourself may already be overwhelming, especially when you take into account not all tasks laid out before you are those that you really look forward to in the first place. This is where the wonder of training your VA enters the picture. If done right, you get to do the work that you enjoy while your virtual assistant completes tasks that they are really good at which may also be those that you do not particularly like to do. It’s a win-win situation, to say the least!
Establish Company Rules and SOPs
If you plan to train a team of VAs in the future, you should have everything in writing! Actually, you may want to prepare a training manual even before you hire your first VA. While it is more convenient to let everything go and just conduct video and audio chat training sessions, everything is more concrete when properly documented in writing.
This is also beneficial especially if your VA is a visual learner. The best part is, you will not have to design a manual over again if you need to hire more VAs in the future. All you have to do is update your information as needed. In case writing manuals is not your thing (hint: you can delegate this task), you may go for audio and/or video manuals as well. This is especially important if you are about to assign voice-related tasks.
Once you’re done creating your training materials, upload them on your dedicated drive. This can make the files more accessible for your trainees. This will also help save time in the long run because you do not have to repeat everything for them. Instead, you can focus on matters that were not directly tackled in the training materials. Once the new concerns are tackled, you may organize the ideas and concerns that were raised and create even more helpful training materials!
Not to assume that something will go wrong, but preventing things from going awry can save you and your VA from a lot of problems that can be avoided if you talk about the essentials beforehand. This can also help improve your professional relationship with them from the get-go. This is especially ideal if you plan to hire your VA on a long-term basis.
A couple of days before the first working day of your VA, hold an orientation meeting. Video calls are ideal to help you see and hear each other in real time. Seeing and hearing each other while talking to each other is a good way to establish better communication online, according to experts.
Prior to the orientation, prepare a checklist or simply a rough list of what you think you need to tackle during the meeting. You may initially list any random ideas that come to mind. After listing everything, group them into categories depending on the nature of the topics. For example, group together rules and regulations, workflow essentials, filing for breaks and leaves, payment schedule and terms, and so on. If you have ideas that do not seem to fit your categories, consider them as miscellaneous and discuss those last.
During the orientation, you may also tackle personal and business expectations, responsibilities, and even the entire business process. You may also establish a time frame for replies and when you need a heads-up for anything. Most importantly, encourage your VA to ask questions and voice their concerns during this meeting. This will help you get on the same page and develop a harmonious working relationship.
Manage Expectations and Prevent Being a Control Freak
Remember that your VA is also a human being with feelings and aspirations. Therefore, they also have limitations. If it is their first time working with you, make sure to set realistic goals with them. Don’t expect them to provide you with a “100% output” during the first few days of work. Most VAs will still need to undergo an adjustment period. If you expect them to provide that type of output and they fail to give it at once, you’re in for a great disappointment.
Instead, ramp them up for a gradually increasing workload. For example, if they are tasked to answer bulks of e-mails, provide them with a minimum of 20 e-mails in a day. After a week, increase the number to 30 e-mails, and so on. If your target number is at least 100 e-mails in a day, then you should set a goal of reaching that level in about five weeks.
During this period, make sure to periodically check your VA’s progress. To check progress, set metrics like the number and length of e-mails sent. Identify weaknesses and strengths. Let them express how they feel about their experience and if there are other things that may need to be reinforced or improved upon.
Especially during this time, withhold judgment and establish trust with your VA. It is not a pleasant experience having someone (virtually) breathing down their necks while they work, nor is it a good to feel like they are being interrogated all the time. Be compassionate and your VA will surely work at their best potential.
One of the largest mistakes that you can commit is assuming that your VA already knows everything. While VAs are already considered experts, you still have to teach them their roles and your typical workflow. This will help them see the bigger picture and engage in their role accordingly.