Fantastic Tips to Easily Train Your Best Virtual Personal Assistants Now

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!

Set Expectations

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.

Takeaway

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.

Team Productivity: 6 Effective Tips to Help You Improve

No matter how great your team is right now, you can still do something to further increase everyone’s productivity without sacrificing their health and sanity. There is no exact science on how you can do this. However, if you know your team and its dynamics well, you can do something to further boost their productivity with ease. The following are just some tips on how to improve team productivity:

 

Set goals with the team.

Every team is unique so you have to set goals that will work towards everyone’s interests and vision. Set both long-term goals and short-term goals. Long-term goals are usually those that you want your team to accomplish within at least six months to a year. While some may go as far into the future as five or ten years, this is not recommended as you can always review the goals after a few months and revise them accordingly.

As for short-term goals, you may set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. While you’re formulating these targets with your team, make sure to explain in detail how these short-term goals translate within the long-term goals you created with them. Also, speak with them about how these goals will affect them and the company as a whole. Discussing these goals will help everyone appropriately align their motivation to be productive.

Be a good example.

Self-discipline is a good way to go. You don’t have to be the perfect leader – you just have to do what is expected of you. When your team sees you persevering, this causes a ripple effect. Little by little, they will start imitating your example, consciously or otherwise. The end result of perseverance is increased productivity within the group.

Understand the process of creating team expectations.

If possible, you may also teach them how it’s done. To teach them the process, you need to have prior mastery of the skills that you want to impart to your team. Create visual aids and other similar teaching materials to make it easier for you to show them the ropes.

Schedule a meeting appropriately as a sign of respect for their time. If the training can’t be completed in a couple of hours, consider dividing the concepts into smaller parts and teach them in a series-like format.

During and after discussions, encourage them to ask questions. Be open for clarifications and allow them to discuss with you and each other what they think of the process and if they think more suggestions are in order.

Give them free reign to be creative.

They will appreciate the gesture. If possible, allow them the freedom to have flexible work schedules. This is important because no two people have exactly the same “productive time slot”. By allowing them to work during their most productive times, you allow them the chance to make the most out of their creativity by permitting them to be “in their zone” every time they work with the team.

At some point during the work day, they will need a break and that’s okay. Allow them time to regroup, and they will surely feel refreshed and may even return with new ideas that they can share with the group. However, sometimes, patience is key. Creative ideas cannot be forced, so, it may take some time before they have one or two good breakthroughs.

When they do have suggestions, make sure to listen to them without judgment. Never judge suggestions or ideas even if you think the idea is not good at the time. Take note of the idea. You never know when this might come in handy.

Provide everyone with feedback.

Initially, you may give individual feedback in private, then as a group. You may even ask them to give you feedback on how you fare as their leader so far. If you’re planning to do this, assure them beforehand that anything they tell you will not affect how you see them as a team member and as a person. If possible, you may even conduct a survey of anonymous respondents so they will feel more comfortable sharing their insights. The important key here is to discuss the type of feedback system that works best for everyone.

Conduct motivational sessions before crunch time.

It can be somewhere between 5 to 15 minutes. You may also treat this as a short session to check on each member in order to assess how they are doing as a group. For sessions like this one, you may share a quotation or an anecdote and relate this with the current situation that the team is facing. You may also encourage them to share their experiences and relate to them. Discourage team members from judging each experience and provide a supportive environment for everyone.

Despite any setbacks, you should place team member welfare above everything else. Make sure that in the process of doing your part in the project, you will not get so caught up in the job that you eventually forget to see your team members as people from different walks of life. Career growth is important, but, always remember to care for team members. You will surely not regret this.