As an entrepreneur or business owner, getting a virtual assistant (VA) is an excellent way to take some workload off your shoulders to focus on more pressing matters for your business. Of course, hiring a VA means you need to prepare to offer some training.
Properly training your virtual assistants minimizes errors and helps make your daily operations run smoothly. When your VA understands how you do your business and gets a good grasp of their responsibilities, they will measure up to your expectations.
If you want to maximize your VA’s skills and help them adapt better to your business, make sure they undergo sufficient virtual assistant training. Moreover, avoid these mistakes when training a VA, or you risk wasting precious business resources.
1. Failure to define the role and set expectations
Before you publish a job post about looking for a VA, you must first define their role. This way, you attract qualified applicants, narrow down the candidates quickly, and know precisely what you’ll need to train them for.
By clearly defining the roles and expectations, you can plan out their training more efficiently. What will be their primary responsibilities? What are the specific technical skills they need to be trained in? What processes do you need to coach them through? How much training do they need?
Think about how you will track their progress or work, their working hours, and what you will do when the work performance isn’t up to par.
2. Not giving clear and concise instructions
Since you will be working together virtually, it’s essential to write down all your instructions, guidelines, and expectations in an email. You can use email as your primary source of communication and for documentation purposes. Here are some tips to help you write clear instructions for your VA:
- Use bullet points.
- Write the priority tasks first.
- If necessary, provide screenshots or links to give examples of what you’re looking for.
- Don’t forget to indicate the deadline.
Your VA can’t read what’s on your mind. If you fail to provide clear instructions, you shouldn’t expect too much from their end. Make sure to check on them regularly for the first few weeks; if, in any case, they make a mistake, you can correct them right away and avoid wasting another day.
3. Not letting your VA in on your vision, mission, values
Your virtual assistant is a part of your team. Ensure that you share your mission, vision, and core values with them, so they can set the same goals as you have and see the big picture. Sharing these principles with your VA will boost their drive to work hard and own their role in your team, helping you achieve the goals as a unit. This is how you can also see if you’ve got the right people on board.
4. Leaving the virtual staff to fend for themselves
Yes, you managed to hire a competent, hardworking, and experienced virtual assistant and gave a set of clear instructions and training materials. But that doesn’t mean you should expect them to know what they’re doing right away. As with everything, there is a learning curve. Monitoring your VA at this stage is crucial in making sure that they’re learning the proper way to accomplish tasks.
Check to see how your VA is doing and ask if they have anything they want to have clarified. But be mindful not to micromanage, as this could demotivate them and negate the time savings of hiring them.
To work with a virtual staff successfully, you have to find the right balance in monitoring them. You shouldn’t check on your VA every five minutes, but you shouldn’t leave them alone either. Check-in from time to time, and make sure to give feedback to ensure you’re coming from the same direction.
5. Neglecting to use and train for project management tools
Working with a remote staff means there is little to no face-to-face contact. Hence, the need for all documents and work logs to be documented. Before you start working with a virtual assistant, find a reliable project management tool that can help you review their time management, delegate tasks, assess work performance, and communicate easier.
Using project management tools also help reduce the constant back-and-forth. Having these standard procedures in place can help you manage and train your VA efficiently, even when they’re in the opposite part of the world.
Additionally, run your VA through the critical functions of the tools you’re using. Sure, they can explore the tool and learn how it works on their own, but there may be functions that are more crucial for you than others. So if you want your VA to hit the ground running, identify the features you will be using primarily. This way, your VA won’t waste time trying to figure out functions they may not even end up using.
6. Failure to provide feedback
Providing feedback benefits everyone involved—it helps your virtual assistant to work harder and more efficiently. It also helps your business to grow further as you manage its revenue-driving aspects. When your VA does something right or completes a task, always thank them and provide feedback.
Positive feedback is easy to give, but it can be a little tricky when you find their work lacking or if they are doing something wrong. Nonetheless, it’s important to let your VA know. Take your time to review your VA’s work and leave a comment on the mistakes you want them to improve. Make sure to frame the feedback to motivate them to become more proficient at the task.
Work with Your VA Efficiently
Looking for and working with a virtual assistant for the first time is both exciting and stressful. When done right, a VA can save you time and money and help grow your business. If you don’t have time to get into a virtual assistant course or training to prepare you when hiring your virtual staff, consider working with an outsourcing agency like Outsource Access.
Outsource Access trains and retains top VA candidates in the market. We hold a VA Bootcamp that covers technical tasks and tools training to prepare remote workers for onboarding when they engage with a new client. Outsource Access also conducts weekly training sessions to introduce new tools and techniques to virtual staff members with practical application.
You will face many challenges when working with a virtual assistant. Hopefully, you can avoid the mistakes above to help you move forward with your business.
If you want to learn more about how to find skilled VAs and how they should be trained, schedule a call with Outsource Access today!