To provide you with helpful tips and tricks and meaningful content, I wanted to share with you some things that I have found have helped me in managing and getting the most out of my virtual employees (VE).
#1 – Have clear expectations of what you want from them.
Do you have set KPI’s (key performance indicators) for their role? Have you shared your expectations with your virtual employee? Are you giving them weekly feedback on how they are doing?
When talking with leaders & managers, I find that many times expectations are not clearly defined. I know I used to not be super clear in expectations back in the day. Often, we are so busy keeping the boat from filling up and drowning us that is becomes a low priority. Now, in my business, we have very clear priorities and KPIs for each role in the organization. This has really helped me understand the value that my virtual staff members bring to me and my organization every day.
It is almost impossible for anyone to meet an expectation that has never been communicated to them. This applies to staff, friends, & significant others. Your virtual staff has been trained and conditioned to give you a daily recap of their progress for the day. Take a minute and read the report. Are you happy with it? If not, ask them to track what is important. If you see a particularly productive day – tell them. Which brings me to the next tip.
#2 – Appreciate your Staff.
Your virtual staff wants you to be happy with them and their performance. Make sure you share some of the successes with them.
For me this was a particularly challenging task. In the beginning, I actually had to put it in my calendar to provide positive feedback weekly to get me in the habit. (Please don’t judge me – I am a very busy “D” personality who used to believe that if I wasn’t complaining – it was OK, and everyone should certainly understand that.)
Theriza - my very first virtual employee really helped me grow in this area. She needed more positive feedback and basically forced me into the habit. I am thankful she did. It has made me more aware of my communication style and allowed me to be a better overall person because of it. Now I am still not the flowery language type, but I do make an effort to provide both positive feedback as well as corrective feedback.
Don’t be like that friend, family member or customer who only calls to complain. Remember that they are people just like you and sometimes a nice pat on the back goes a long way to building a great relationship.
#3 – Provide constructive criticism.
At some point, your virtual employee is going to make a mistake. It is inevitable. I certainly make my fair share of them too. How you handle it will determine the quality of the working relationship you have with your virtual employee and the rest of your staff.
When my virtual employee makes a mistake, I categorize it into 1 of 2 categories. A training issue on my part or a flaw in the execution on his/her part.
Training issues. Most of the time when my virtual employee makes a mistake it is because I had a flaw in my process, training, or communication. These mistakes help me refine my skills as a manager and help me be a better business owner. I look at the hole in the system, repair it and move on.
An example of this might be. My virtual employee tells a prospective applicant that the home is available when in fact, a qualified applicant recently secured the home. I break down the flaw. Did my internal people update the spreadsheet? Did we not communicate to take it off market? Where was the breakdown? Once I determine the breakdown, I can fix it. Advise my virtual employee of the new process and evaluate the new process.
But let’s say using the example above, we followed the process, and she just missed it. We are all prone to error. I would ask her – why did she not review the information before frustrating a potential tenant? I would continue to ask questions until I fully understood what happened. Maybe she was tired, having a bad day or whatever the issue was. I then share that providing accurate information is really important to me and ask her what can she do to help make sure that this doesn’t happen again?
I involve her in the training and process development to help her problem solve herself. She learns from it and sometimes she has a better idea of a way it can be handled. Allowing your virtual employee to be part of the troubleshooting process can have huge rewards.
Make your virtual employee a valuable member of your team. Engage them in your business. Give them ownership of their tasks and expect greatness.
For over 2 years now, we have been helping clients find and select quality virtual employees. It has been an honor to help our US clients find quality staff and to help our virtual employees find reputable clients and long-term careers. If you ever have a question or concern about your virtual staff, please reach out to me here. I am here to help you. You don’t have to figure it out on your own.
To your success!
Co-Founder – HireSmart Virtual Employees