If you’re thinking about hiring a virtual employee (and you should be!), you’re probably wondering how to go about finding one.

It’s possible to try on your own through Craigslist, or another job board that lists worldwide.

We’ve tried posting positions on those sites and occasionally come across a decent candidate or two.

But even when you’re lucky enough to find what looks like a good prospect, that’s just the beginning of the process.

Checking references is a little more challenging for virtual employees.

Making sure they have the appropriate computer, software, internet connection, and workspace is a lot more challenging.

Testing their skills, their communication style, their grammar, and writing – these things are essential and they take quite a bit of time.

This is the exact reason why we started HireSmart.

We realized that by partnering with a Philippine Staffing Agency, we could remove most of the stress and time pressures for our clients wanting to hire virtual employees.

Because it’s not about just finding any old person to join you and your team.

It’s about finding the right person with the right skills, personality, and work ethic to fit seamlessly into your team.

That’s our mission and our goal for every new hire and we’ve proven ourselves to be excellent at doing just that.

Our clients are surprised and delighted when they realize all the benefits of working with us.

Here are some of the value-added benefits of employment agencies, in addition to providing you with a shortlist of candidates.

Employment agencies offer a range of services including screening and vetting candidates, conducting background checks, and verifying employment history.

These services can be particularly valuable when it comes to hiring virtual employees, as it can be difficult to gauge a candidate’s suitability for a role when they’re applying remotely.

One of the key benefits of using an employment agency to hire a virtual employee is the time and resources that it can save.

According to a blog post on the HCMWorks website –

"recruiting is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process that can take weeks or even months to complete."

Working with an employment agency means you can offload most of the work of finding and screening candidates.

This frees up your HR staff (especially if you’re the owner and HR) to focus on other priorities.

Another advantage of using an employment agency to hire a virtual employee is their expertise and experience.

This expertise is especially valuable for hiring virtual employees because the particulars for remote work are a bit different than for in-person roles.

Also, and significantly, employment agencies offer valuable support and guidance throughout the hiring process.

As noted in a blog post on the GoHire website –

"working with an employment agency can make the process of hiring a virtual employee much smoother and more efficient."

Finally, working with an employment agency can help to reduce the risk of a bad hire.

As a business owner, you know that hiring the wrong person can be expensive in terms of time and money.

Using the screening and vetting services of an employment agency increases the chances of finding a candidate who is a good fit for your business.

There’s no need for you to go through the process of hiring a virtual employee by yourself.

HireSmart is here to help.

If you’re ready to unlock the value and resources of our high-quality employment agency, click here for a free consultation.

The non-profit organization hopes to equip deserving young entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed through youth programs and scholarships

HireSmart Cares, a non-profit organization built by Anne and Mark Lackey of HireSmart Virtual Employees, has launched to invest in the next generation. The organization is dedicated to inspiring and equipping young children in the US and abroad with fearlessness and ingenuity to help them rise to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Founded in 2021, the non-profit began by investing in the local agricultural community to attract more youth to farming. The organization has made a significant financial commitment to the local agricultural center to provide students with opportunities to learn about farming and livestock care and receive education from agricultural instructors and farmers. HireSmart Cares also focuses on trade education, such as welding, carpentry, and electrical training, to offer students an alternative to an educational field that often involves overwhelming student loans.

Founder Anne Lackey said, “Mark and I have been actively involved in youth entrepreneurship and business planning since the early 2000s. We have always enjoyed helping young people get the start they need, and HireSmart Cares was the next step to make that happen.”

In addition to local and other US-based educational opportunities, HireSmart Cares has established an annual scholarship for the children or dependents of their Philippines-based Virtual Employees (VEs). The organization offers a program for their VEs to receive scholarship money to send their children to higher-quality schools than they can currently afford. Also, all VE orders placed with HireSmart Virtual Employees will generate a $100 donation (called CareDollars) to HireSmart Cares. Anne and Mark personally match every donation of Care Dollars.

“We know that too many young people lack mentors and resources to succeed and support their dreams,” said Anne. “We want to provide that support. We hope that HireSmart Cares can do that and more.”

To date most of the money has been self-funded by the Lackeys. HireSmart Cares has received about $30,000 in contributions and a commitment for another $204,000 starting this May. The team hopes to see that number rise with more help from donors and the support of their valued clients as they continue to grow.


About HireSmart Cares

Established in 2021, HireSmart Cares aims to equip the youth of today with the tools and technology needed to solve the problems of tomorrow. Every dollar donated provides scholarships, loan-free career pathways, and support for future farmers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and more.

To donate and help kids today, visit here.





Finding the right Virtual Employee to fit your business probably seems daunting.

At HireSmart, we walk our clients through the process daily, so we know lots of tips and tricks that work great.

It’s not really that complicated and mostly it’s the same things that make an in-person employee a successful hire.

Here are a few items we think are most essential to hiring the right virtual employee to meet your specific business needs.

Define the role and responsibilities clearly.

The first step in finding the right virtual employee is to define the role and responsibilities clearly.

This helps you identify skills and experience necessary for the job.

As Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, a social media management tool, explains –

"Before you hire anyone, it's critical to be clear about what you're looking for. This starts with defining the role and responsibilities in detail. Without this, you can't effectively evaluate candidates."

By defining roles and responsibilities clearly, you make sure you’re considering appropriate candidates that understand what’s expected of them.

Look for the right skills and experience.

 Once you’ve defined the role and responsibilities, it’s time to look for the right skills and experience.

Shane Pearlman, CEO of Modern Tribe, a digital agency, says –

"When hiring remote employees, you want to make sure you're hiring people who can handle the job. This means looking for people who have the right skills and experience to get the job done."

When reviewing candidates, make sure to focus on their relevant skills and experience.

Once that’s established, HireSmart will help you identify candidates who have the required background to succeed in the role.

Assess communication skills.

One of the most important skills for a virtual employee is communication.

You need to hire people who can effectively communicate, especially when they're not in the same room as you.

When evaluating candidates, make sure to assess their communication skills.

Look for candidates who are responsive, clear, and concise in their communication.

This will help ensure that your Virtual Employee is able to collaborate effectively with your team and your customers. This is something that we have dialed in.

Our clients’ selected virtual employee gets a 1-week mentoring and certification from me. My guarantee is if I would hire that candidate for my business, they aren’t going to waste my clients' time. This is part of the HireSmart difference.

Consider cultural fit.

Cultural fit is another important factor to consider when hiring a virtual employee.

As Joel Gascoigne explains –

"Culture fit is crucial when it comes to remote work. You need to make sure that your remote employees share your company's values and work style."

Look for candidates who align with your company culture and can work well with your team.

Each selected candidate that HireSmart presents to our clients is skilled, but there will always be one or two who understand your business, your values, and maybe even your sense of humor.

Those will be the best candidates for your business.

Conduct a trial period.

 Finally, it’s important to conduct a trial period before making a long-term commitment to a virtual employee.

Part of the HireSmart process is a 1-week certification. We work with our clients chosen candidates to do 3 things:

  1. Mentor them in their communication
  2. Assess their skills and make sure they can learn new tasks quickly
  3. Apply the knowledge that they learn

This process has allowed us to have a very high standard and a 97.3% success rate for placements.

We want to give you every opportunity to hire a Virtual Employee who stays with you for the long term.

If you’re ready to take advantage of our tried and true process for hiring a virtual employee who is an excellent fit for your business, click here for a free consultation.

I think you already know that virtual employees are here to stay.

One main reason is that virtual employees have highly valuable benefits and skills, with a much lower pay scale than the US labor market.

At HireSmart, we’ve been a part of growing virtual employment for a long time, and we stay amazed by the combination of significant savings and quality employees.

While everyone understands the savings part, we like to point out the additional benefits virtual employees offer.

Increased productivity is a significant advantage that virtual employees bring to your business.

Partly that’s from the flexibility and autonomy of remote work.

As Deanna deBara writes in her article for Zapier –

"Virtual Employees are often able to work more productively and effectively without the distractions and interruptions of the traditional office environment."

This autonomy can lead to more focused and efficient work, as well as a better work-life balance for your employees.

Another advantage of virtual employees is their ability to bring diverse perspectives and skills to the table.

 A recent article in Forbes explains that –

"Virtual Employees bring a wealth of cultural and linguistic diversity, which in turn enriches the company culture and contributes to better problem-solving."

Because they are spread out across different locations and time zones, virtual employees bring different perspectives and ways of thinking.

This helps them approach challenges in new and innovative ways, leading to added value for your business.

Virtual Employees also typically have strong communication and collaboration skills.

Because they can’t rely on in-person communication, they need to build skills allowing them to interact virtually.

This means expertise with video conferencing, clear and direct email writing and instant messaging, to stay connected and engaged with their colleagues and your customers.

Finally, Virtual Employees tend to be highly motivated and engaged.

At HireSmart, we specifically look for employees who are self-motivated and self-starting, which makes them productive and effective.

Because they work remotely, virtual employees must be highly disciplined and self-motivated, which translates into greater job satisfaction and engagement.

Virtual Employees bring a range of valuable skills and attributes to your business.

From productivity and autonomy to diverse perspectives and strong communication skills, virtual employees are an asset to your team.

As Kristi DePaul writes in her article for Forbes, "It's time to stop thinking about virtual employees as second-class citizens and instead recognize the unique value they bring to the table."

By embracing the strengths of virtual employees, you can build a stronger, more diverse, and more productive team better equipped for success in the modern workplace.

If you’re ready to dive into the wonderful world of virtual employees for your business, click here for a free consultation.


In the digital age, virtual employees are now an increasingly common and valuable resource for businesses across a wide range of industries.

But where did the concept of virtual employment come from?

Let's take a closer look at the history of virtual employees.

According to a blog post by Hubstaff, the beginning of virtual work started in the early 1970s, when tech first allowed remote communication.

But it took until the 90s, when email and other online communication tools came along, that virtual employment truly began to take off.

As Hubstaff notes,

"The rise of the internet and the ability to easily communicate with others from anywhere in the world paved the way for virtual employment to become more commonplace."

One of the earliest uses of virtual employees was the virtual call center, starting in the early 2000s.

Virtual call centers made it possible for companies to have customer service reps in different parts of the country, or even different parts of the world.

The difference in wages and labor costs for virtual employees saved companies money on overhead costs while still providing quality customer service to their customers.

Today, virtual employment is more popular than ever before.

According to a blog post by FlexJobs –

"Remote work has grown by 159% since 2005, and now represents 3.4% of the total US workforce."

This growth comes from additional advances in tech, like cloud computing and video conferencing.

Of course, virtual employment isn't without its challenges.

As a blog post by Forbes notes,

"Virtual employees can struggle with isolation, lack of structure, and difficulty separating work from home life."

However, as this same post points out, "There are ways to mitigate these challenges, such as implementing regular check-ins and providing opportunities for virtual employees to connect with their colleagues."

The history of virtual employees is obviously still being written.

We expect even greater innovation and growth for this way of hiring and working.

As Hubstaff notes –

"The future of virtual employment is bright, with a growing number of companies recognizing the benefits of a distributed workforce."

At HireSmart, we're committed to staying at the forefront of this exciting and rapidly evolving field.

By providing our clients access to a wide range of talented virtual employees, we're helping them stay competitive in a fast-paced and ever-changing global marketplace.

Whether you're looking for someone to help answer phones, do administrative tasks, help with sales, marketing or accounting support, we can help.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help build your virtual dream team.

HireSmart Health Insurance Coverage for VEs — Sheryl’s Story.

Sheryl tried to ignore the terrible pain in her stomach.

“I was thinking I could make it without going to the hospital, but there was one day where I could not take it anymore,” she said.

The HireSmart Virtual Employee, who lives in the Philippines and assists a property management client in the U.S., went to the emergency room seeking relief.

“I was grateful to have health insurance at that time,” Sheryl said of her coverage through HireSmart. “That was during Covid time, and most of the hospitals in the Philippines were full. So, if they know you cannot pay, they will not allow you to be admitted to the hospital.”

Sheryl said it’s awful to see fellow Filipinos waiting outside hospitals, unable to be treated.

“For our health care system in the Philippines, they would ask when you go there for a deposit — money that you have to give to the hospital to be able to treat you,” said the Cainta resident in the province Rizal. “But if you don’t have enough money, they would cut the treatment for you. So technically, you would not be able to get the treatment needed. It’s heartbreaking when you see fellow Filipinos standing outside waiting.”

Sheryl got the care she needed, and she recovered after going on a strict diet for three months.

But soon after her hospital stay, one of her three teenage sons was stricken with Dengue fever.

“And since he is enrolled with my health insurance with HireSmart, he was able to use the benefit also for the medical coverage,” she said, adding that he spent two weeks in the hospital but is now recovered.

Sheryl worked for 14 years in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) for US Telecom companies. But she’s worked for HireSmart for over two years and is delighted with the move. The pay is better, and she says eliminating traffic congestion from her routine is lovely. She recalls getting stuck in traffic and sprinting from her car to the office to avoid being late.

“Here in the Philippines, the traffic is terrible,” she said. “I’m thankful to work here from home. I don’t have to travel and be stressed about how many hours I’ll spend on the road just to be there. Working from home is a big benefit because I can work conveniently at my home office and have enough time to care for my kids.”

Sheryl is a self-proclaimed “foodie” who enjoys spending time with her friends, trying out restaurants, and watching serious documentaries. But the primary aim of the single mom is to be present for her sons and give them every opportunity she can.

“My eldest would like to work in computers and programming,” said Sheryl. “The other two don’t have a specific pathway, but I don’t push them. Maybe they’ll be able to see what they enjoy doing. I want to support them with what they want rather than push them to do something I want.”

Sheryl feels HireSmart is the best place to earn good money, protect her family with health insurance, avoid bad traffic, and be present for her sons.

“I’m thrilled and thankful that HireSmart hired me to be a part of their company and team because they’re very helpful and supportive to all their employees,” she said. “I’m also happy that they provide their employees with health and other benefits. Not all companies that hire virtual assistants provide health benefits. So, I’m happy that they’re providing it to their Virtual Employees (VEs). It’s one way of letting us feel and know that we are important to them and that they care for their employees. I’m thrilled working with them and trying to stay as long as possible here in the company.”

Sheryl also said she has a blast with the company’s online parties.

“We do have parties, virtual ones!” she exclaimed. “You’ll see bosses Anne & Mark Lackey and your co-workers having fun. It’s a way of meeting fellow VEs, getting to know each other and knowing what other co-VEs do. You get to chat with them. If you experience something bad, like typhoons and things like that, HireSmart is always there to help its employees. I’m thankful to them for that, and I’m sure other employees that HireSmart has are also thankful for all the benefits they’re giving us.”

If you have what it takes to be a Rockstar VE like Sheryl and want to enjoy the benefit of having health insurance coverage, join our HSVE team! Apply here.

Book a call with us if you want to find out more how a HireSmart VE can help you and your business. Discover us here.

As demand grows for remote employees, it's important for businesses to partner with the right employment agency.

Finding the best available virtual employee takes time, energy, and resources that you’d probably rather spend on other things.

Using the right employment agency can really make all the difference.

Working with a reputable employment agency like HireSmart means letting go of the stress and pressure that a new hire can cause.

We streamline the process, so you get the strongest candidates for your business.

Here are three ways employment agencies add value to your business.


Expertise and Resources

Working with an employment agency means access to dependable, well-trained, skilled candidates.

It also means you have specialists with expertise in evaluating and matching candidates with your specific needs.

According to an article by Forbes –

"Employment agencies have a wealth of experience when it comes to finding the right people for the right job. They know where to look for the best candidates and how to evaluate their skills and experience to ensure a good fit."

That absolutely describes our own process here at HireSmart.



Have you ever been looking for a new employee and only one reasonable candidate shows up?

That’s the opposite of flexibility – trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and don’t want to do it ever again.

Using an employment agency means having options instead of being stuck with whatever resumes Lady Luck blows into your email inbox.

At HireSmart, we always have multiple high-quality, prescreened candidates, so you can make the right choice for your business.

Another part of flexibility is being able to increase your staff quickly.

As Business News Daily says –

"Working with an employment agency can provide you with access to a pool of candidates who are already screened and qualified. This can help you to scale up or down quickly as needed."


Increased Retention Rates

Working with the right employment agency increases retention rates by matching candidates with your business needs and culture.

This is related to having multiple candidates to choose from.

While there are often many virtual employees who have the skills and training to meet your job description, there are certain personalities and styles that will better complement you and your team.

Don’t just take my word for it (I’m obviously biased).

In a recent blog post, Glassdoor wrote:

“Employment agencies can help to increase retention rates by finding candidates who are a good fit for your company culture and values."

Choosing the right employment agency is essential for businesses looking to hire virtual employees.

You’ll benefit from their expertise, resources, and ability to streamline the hiring process.

As you begin searching for your new virtual employee, keep in mind that not all agencies are created equal.

Be sure to do your research and choose an agency that has a proven track record of success in finding the right candidates for their clients.

At HireSmart, we’ve been helping businesses find qualified, dependable, highly skilled virtual employees for over 8 years now.

If you’re ready to access all the benefits of working with a top-shelf employment agency, click here for a free consultation.

Let’s start off with some quotes about the benefits of taking advantage of opportunities (and the dangers of missing them).

“Necessity is the mother of invention” – Plato

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” – Churchill

"Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them." –Andy Grove, former Intel CEO

Like it or not, we’re in a labor market shortage, if not a downright crisis.

Wages are rising significantly and finding quality employees is increasingly more difficult.

So, let’s explore how to turn this crisis into an opportunity that improves your company through necessary innovation.

Entrepreneur Magazine proposes five strategies for managing obstacles and crises successfully.

  1. Keep a cool head. Yes, absolutely keep your head cool. Getting overly stressed out, losing sleep, barking orders is no solution to the labor shortage. Take a few deep breaths, get some distance from your emotions and put yourself in problem solving mode.
  2. Think Differently. This is where invention and innovation come in. The type of thinking that created the labor shortage – rapid economic growth mixed with Covid and inflation – won’t be the same type of thinking to solve the problem. For instance, you can ask yourself – “Where should I look for employees where I wasn’t looking before?” This is a potentially very productive question.
  3. Ignore The Rules. This is probably my favorite suggestion. There really are no rules, only consequences. In our modern fast paced business world, by the time rules are established they are likely out of date. The rules say that in order to attract high quality, dependable, skilled employees, you need to pay competitive wages, offer significant benefits and use expensive headhunters and placement agencies. Trust me, with HireSmart Virtual Employees, there’s another way.
  4. Anticipate. This is like weighing the odds. What happens if I try a new plan, a new approach and it doesn’t work the way I thought it would? Essentially, what’s the worst-case scenario and is the upside worth the risk? Knowing that you have a plan to address a negative outcome will help you move forward with confidence.
  5. Love Your Fate. Maybe this sounds a little strange to you, especially if things are going in the wrong direction. But this is a reminder to be persistent. Like the above quote says – great companies are improved by crisis. When you hit a wall and don’t know how to move forward, you start to look around for help. When you stay curious, invested, open-minded, you very often find the help you need in places where you would never have looked in calmer times.

At HireSmart we’re always prepared to help you in times of crisis.

We offer diversification for your labor force portfolio.

Just because labor costs are high in the US and great workers are hard to find, that’s not necessarily true in the global labor market.

By using virtual employees as an innovative solution to the current labor crisis, HireSmart will improve your company.

Once we help you manage this crisis successfully, you'll be perfectly positioned to reap the rewards when the labor market stabilizes again.

Because in good times and in tough times, HireSmart Virtual Employees brings profit to your bottom line by substantially reducing your labor costs. Click here for a free consultation.

There was no actual ballroom, but there was music, dancing, and fun.

Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” rocked through computer speakers, and Anne and Mark Lackey played host to all those arriving to the HireSmart Virtual Employees’ 2022 Christmas party as a couple might welcome family at the door. Anne showed off some moves. Her employees joined along. It was time to celebrate. It was time for Christmas, for gifts, for some love to be expressed.

The party stretched across time zones — 7 a.m. on the East Coast in the U.S., 8 p.m. in the Philippines, 11 p.m. in Australia. This was an international event for an international company.

HireSmart partied across the world on that day in early December, but it also works globally across the calendar, connecting virtual employees (VEs) in the Philippines to clients in the U.S. who need an assortment of tasks handled. HireSmart partners with a local Philippine company for compliance and we have teams in the Philippines and Australia.

This collaboration means that over 400 virtual employees (VEs) perform a variety of office tasks for clients across the U.S., but the Christmas party in the virtual ballroom was not a time for more work. It was a time for fun, as well as a time for two words to be completely understood: “Thank you!” Those words were repeated frequently by Anne and Mark to the VEs at the party.


The festivities kicked off with a “Stump-the-Boss” contest, with VEs given a question they answered collectively through a poll, such as: “Do you prefer to open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?” The Co-Founders competed to guess the right answer. Anne said “Christmas Eve.” Neil said in the morning. Seventy-nine percent of the employees said “Christmas Eve.” Anne pulled out the close victory after several questions.

The Zoom party then got a little more personal as over 400 employees were put into smaller virtual chat rooms for about 15 minutes to meet each other and talk about their commonalities and interests. For instance, in one room, Dianna shared that she is a prolific reader, enjoying the escapism of romance novels in her spare time. Estella likes to cook Italian food and has two sons, 8 and 3, and enjoys playing with them. Dane said he likes to ride his motorcycle when he gets free time. The group smiled and waved goodbye to each other as the party resumed in the big room for the “big show.”

Entertainer Keelan Leyser then took over, calling individual VEs up on “stage” as he dazzled the audience with often logic-defying tricks, both with cards and without. “Stump the Boss” was the first game of the party, but Leyser “stumped the audience” with his ability to provide predetermined correct answers to seemingly impossible narrative journeys with the audience members.

“We wanted to get you something that was a little different and a little exciting,” Anne said to the employees, whose faces expressed disbelief with Leyser’s tricks.


Anne then took “the stage” to talk to the large room of employees. She spoke of her own health issue this past year, which is in her rearview mirror, but the health matter took her out of her routines for some time in 2022.

“I share this not because I want a pity party or anything, but because I know a lot of you are going through difficult times yourself,” she told her employees. “And you feel like you’re alone or there are challenges, and sometimes life is hard. Let’s just call it what it is. But we do what we do. We persevere. We go through these challenging times and out of that bears a new perspective.”

Anne said her experience helped her understand the value of what HireSmart offers.

“My team was super supportive, and they stepped up in a time when I really needed them,” she said. “And for a lot of you guys, your client needs support, too. So be there for them. And then, we will be there for you.”


 Anne shared some of the successes of HireSmart over the past year, including the company’s rapid growth. The number of VEs serving clients continues to skyrocket, with the staff growing by 40.5 percent over the past 12 months.

“So that’s our goal for next year,” she said. “We have 42 percent more new clients this year, which means we’re able to help more U.S. companies, which gives us more opportunities to get more VEs working because that’s our mission.”

Anne talked about the growth of the company, but she wants to see the VEs grow professionally, too.

“We provide careers,” she said. “This isn’t just a job. We hope it’s something you want to see in your professional development and that you are meeting your life objectives as well.”


Along those lines, Anne announced the establishment of a company “Smart Leadership Program,” a six-week intensive led by Anne to help five-or-six employees take another step in boosting their careers with lessons on leadership. She emphasized the classes, which will begin in late February, are totally optional and there’s no pressure to join.

“If you’re like, man, I really want to take my career up to the next level, I’m willing to invest my time to help you,” said Anne. “I’m looking at about five-or-six people in a very intimate setting.”

Participants will commit to one hour a week in a virtual class setting, with an additional hour a week of homework.

“At the end of that you’ll get a certification,” she said. “I will also have a conversation with your client that you have passed this and maybe this will lead to better bonuses or enhancements.”


While career development is a major emphasis, Anne and Mark Lackey aren’t just interested in helping their employees. They want to help the children of HireSmart employees, too. The couple then announced that they will award scholarships in 2023 to advance the education of 20 children of HireSmart employees in the Philippines.

The Lackeys planned to kick off that campaign last year, but Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines in 2021 and a number of HireSmart families needed help. So, the scholarship money for 2022 was redirected toward typhoon relief for 31 HireSmart families.

“We directed that support to those victims to help them relocate and have power and food,” said Anne. “So that kind of wiped out the funds we had for the scholarship program. We felt that was the biggest need.”

But the scholarship program is back for 2023, and 20 children will receive a year-long education scholarship. Employees with children were encouraged to apply.

“Imagine the impact we’ll have helping your children get the best education possible,” said Anne. “We know that by helping our young people we’ll have a lasting impact on our communities, in our cities, our countries, and ultimately what we’re looking to is to change the world.”

The scholarship program comes under the broader umbrella of HireSmart Cares, a non-profit established by Anne and Mark Lackey to serve a variety of needs of children in the U.S. and abroad.


Of course, what’s an office holiday party without awards, without acknowledgment from the bosses on a job well done? The Lackeys saved those moments for the end, presenting several employees with special honors for their stellar work with U.S. clients in 2022.

Anne said those honored are “the rock stars” of the HireSmart crew.

The award for top VE of 2022 went to Regine, a “rock star who hits all the marks,” Anne said.

Regine’s business client was also effusive in praising her, saying she goes “above and beyond, is amazing and so reliable.”

“She can assist with anything,” the client said. “She is truly a team player. Goes above and beyond every day in assisting her co-workers and clients and provides great detail and information precisely. I receive compliments from those who have spoken to her. She is able to deal with all different personality types. She’s well-rounded and a pleasure to have with us.”

HireSmart received 136 nominations for “Top Overall VE,” meaning that 30 percent of the HireSmart workforce was deemed worthy of the top honor by their clients.

The award for the “top newbie” VE — someone who has been employed for less than six months — went to John C., who returned to HireSmart in 2022 after previously working for the company for two years.

“He impressed us so much after three months of working with us we asked him to step into a more difficult role,” his business client wrote. “I’m grateful for the energy and dedication. We hit the jackpot!”

The Top VEs were both awarded new laptop computers for their performance in 2022. Regine’s emotion was obvious as she received the good news. She seemed choked up with joy as she was shown on the party screen.

HireSmart also presented its “Core Value” awards for employees representing the company’s values in their work with business clients. Jovilyn took the “Core Value” award for “availability” for always being there for her client, who said she is “a key employee to making the business run smoothly and efficiently.”

Laiza won the “Core Value” award for “service,” with her client saying she has made life much easier for the company with her hard work.

“She’s given me back at least 20 hours per week by taking responsibility over the proposal creation process, preparing management reports, managing our project management and billing systems, and tracking the team’s WIP,” the client said.

Judy Ann won the “Core Value” award for “relationship,” with her client saying, “She anticipates my needs, is so attentive to detail — she cares about her results, and she cares about the team. She constantly tells me, I’ve got you. And she does! Even though she’s in the Philippines, it feels like she’s right here all the time, and that’s a difficult thing to accomplish.”

The “Core Value” award winners all received a power station for their work in 2022.

HireSmart also recognized BJ with the “Ambassador Award” for bringing more VEs into the business, which earned her a cash bonus.

The “Best Small Team” award went to the VEs serving Sundance, with 19 of their employees recommending their HireSmart VEs for special recognition.

The virtual employees working for One Focus were recognized with the “Best Large Team” award. The team award winners received a cash bonus for their work in 2022.

The global party wrapped up after awards were announced, and the crew said their goodbyes with Pharrell Williams singing “Happy” in the background — another HireSmart year on the horizon.

An HOA capital expense (CapEx) project can be stressful. It’s a big undertaking, and you must make sure that your community association is organized and on schedule. If you don’t have time or the resources to do this yourself, hiring a virtual employee (VE) can save your community association time and money by helping with a capital project.

Affordable Project Management

Project managers are in high demand for a good reason – doing the work is hard enough without having to PLAN the work you’re trying to do! A HireSmart VE is the perfect asset to help manage your community’s capital project from the sidelines.

Now hiring someone to manage your capital project might feel like you’re adding costs to an already expensive process, but it can help to save you money in other ways. For example, a VE can work without distraction from any other projects which might be going on in your community association right now. This means they're more likely to finish the job quickly, saving time and money long-term.

VEs can tackle just about every component of a major capital project, from research and record maintenance and management, liaising between the board, the vendors, and the community, and handling important timelines to ensure progress and timely project completion.

Research & Records Management

A HireSmart VE is the ideal person to handle research for your CapEx project. They can find out all the information you need about a project to make an informed decision, such as:

When it comes to keeping records, a virtual employee can help you stay on top of the details. Your VE will help keep track of important information related to capital projects. This includes:

Holistic Communication

A key component of project management is effective communication. When it comes to communicating capital project details, your virtual employee can be an invaluable asset.

VEs can act as a liaison between your community association board members for any project components that require their approval, such as changes or delays in construction schedules or new vendors. They can also provide regular status updates on project progress to ensure everyone is always up to speed, eliminating time-consuming games of “telephone.”

Your VE can also handle community-wide communications about the project’s progress. Updates about parking structure clearances, road closures, lighting or electrical updates, or any other information that might impact their daily routine, can all be handled by a Virtual Employee. Emails, phone calls, SMS texts, or bulletin board notices can all be handled by a HireSmart VE.

Vendor and Timeline Management

As a collective board of people, managing relationships between multiple points of contact can get … dicey. Your virtual employee can manage all contractor communications so that they only have one point of contact if or when issues arise during production or installation processes — saving everyone involved time by reducing communication overhead associated with multiple people needing access simultaneously (i.e., notifying multiple parties).

This makes tasks like scheduling and meeting management significantly less difficult. With only one person managing the board’s calendar, there are fewer chances for meetings, installations, or vendors to be double-booked by accident.

Start Your HOA Capital Project Today with a HireSmart VE

Ready to kick off your community’s next big project? HireSmart Virtual Employees are custom trained to handle whatever workload you need and can make CapEx project management seamless for you and your board. Contact us today for your free 30-minute consultation to see if a VE is the right choice for you.

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