For a manager, setting performance goals is the tool of alchemy – turning regular employee productivity into solid gold.

I’ve written a lot about Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in the past and how they’re a powerful tool for setting up virtual employee success.

They allow you, as a manager, to identify the indicators that are most valuable to you and to your business.

When you communicate those indicators to your virtual employee and make sure they’re being met, you secure the value of your labor dollars.

Really, if there’s only one management strategy you use, it should be KPI.

But even when you set and manage KPIs, there’s another step to elevate your virtual employee into higher achievement levels – setting performance goals.

According to the McKinsey organization blog, setting performance goals directly benefits the employee –

“Encouraging employees to set performance goals helps push performance and serves as a motivator for ongoing development.”

And also benefits the business –

“Goal-setting can help improve employee engagement in a way which elevates performance and benefits organizations overall.”

Not every employee will want to set high reaching goals – they may not have the time or energy to invest more of themselves in their jobs.

That’s fine, they can continue to meet their performance indicators and stay in that lane of steady, solid performance.

But, maybe you have a virtual employee (VE) who seems excited by the opportunity to learn new skills, take on additional responsibility and improve her position by helping to grow your business?

This person has the potential for solid gold employee performance using the alchemical power of setting goals.

Harvard Business Review offers four helpful approaches to setting goals that supercharge employee performance:

Now, Harvard is fancy and all that, but we’ve helped our clients improve virtual employee performance through goal setting for years.

If you’re looking for a staffing company that knows how to maximize productivity from virtual employees, click here for a free consultation.

As the end of the year draws closer, management companies are faced with less and less time to plan for “the future.” It’s around the corner, creeping up quicker than any of us are prepared for, and it signals a time for a lot of additional tasks – write-offs, annual reports, and annual budgets for each community, not to mention for the management company, are all coming up due. These are all important, but the biggest task might be planning out the calendar for the coming year.

Now we know that community association managers are the unsung heroes of communities. They're behind the scenes, working hard to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently for each community they serve. So, it can be difficult and time-consuming to manage multiple priorities while still paying close attention to detail. Having an accurate calendar of events is crucial and with help from a Virtual Employee (VE), your community managers can focus less on scheduling and tedious meeting management tasks, and more on the rest of the communities’ needs.

A Man(ager) with a Plan

Whether you manage one community or fifty, scheduling conflicts are just a fact of life. As a community association management company, your managers are expected to attend many different types of meetings.

Nearly all associations have regular monthly board or committee meetings. That’s at least the full board, anywhere from 3 - 7 people or more, plus the additional faces on any committee (like architectural committees), which means there are a lot of schedules to consider when finding a time and day of the week that works for everyone required to attend.

Associations also have special annual or semi-annual events such as the Annual General Meeting (AGM) where members vote on important issues like electing a new board member and setting the budget for next year.

All those meetings should be scheduled relatively far in advance so you can give the legally required notice to community members. With each community needing their manager’s attendance, the number of potential scheduling conflicts starts to snowball out of control.

By introducing a HireSmart Virtual Employee, management companies can redirect the experienced focus of their community managers onto more specialized tasks without losing any traction on time management needs. A VE can easily work with all parties necessary for each

meeting to determine the best date and time each type of meeting should take place and plan out your managers’ annual schedules in advance.

In Case of Emergency, Call Your Virtual Employee

In addition to regularly scheduled events, there are always emergency situations that require immediate action by your association's governing body. If there is an emergency (like a burst pipe flooding one of your buildings or a broken elevator), it is likely that another meeting will need to be called relatively quickly, and management involvement is much preferred so that everyone can discuss what should be done about this issue. Instead of a manager taking time out of their day to handle that emergency meeting planning a VE can be available to respond to the board and quickly find the best time for their manager to attend.

Let Someone Else Handle the Paperwork

For a community association manager, it might be tough to manage the day-to-day responsibilities and plan for an upcoming AGM or committee meeting. But don’t worry! There are plenty of things that a VE can do to help prepare the board for these important events.

For example, a VE can:

Plan the agendas.

This can be useful not only for big meetings like the AGM, but plenty of others as well, to help the new board meetings acclimate. This ensures that items are prioritized in a way that makes sense, so they don't waste time or forget important items.

Help with deliverables.

Important takeaways, such as meeting minutes and financial statements, are important to the success of any board meeting. Having a VE handle that responsibility ensures the documents get done in time and accurately reflect what happened at each meeting.

Having this content readily available for every meeting is just another way these meetings take up less effort for community managers and streamline other tasks in the process.

Choose HSVE

HireSmart Virtual Employees aims to simplify the way management companies, and community association managers handle their day-to-day. From time management to efficient preparedness, Virtual Employees hired through HSVE can make a massive difference, especially during year-end. If you’re ready to find a Virtual Employee to add to your team, click here to schedule your initial HSVE consultation

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rogers

If you’re a new virtual employee starting a new job, you should absolutely be concerned about making a great first impression.

Guess what? That’s also true for the employer.

You want your new hire to respect and admire your team, your business culture and all the products and services that make up your business.

A well planned and comprehensive onboarding process is the key to start building a positive relationship with your new hire.

The onboarding process is an important factor in how long new employees ultimately stay with your business.

According to an Indeed survey –

In jobs where people left within the first six months, almost 4 out of 10 said a more effective onboarding process could have helped them stay longer.

That’s why getting your onboarding process right is so important.

Being willing “to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” is really a quote about empathy.

But it’s also a great way to visualize what your new virtual employee will need to get from your onboarding process.

At Hiresmart Virtual Employees, we recommend you put yourself in the position of your new hire when planning your remote onboarding process.

Now think about all the things that would make you feel comfortable and successful working with yourself, your team and your business.

You’d probably be a little nervous your first day and first week. So, it’s important to make new hires feel comfortable and welcome.

 

One of the significant changes due to the pandemic is we’re all much more comfortable meeting new people virtually and working remotely.

Online classes are basically taking over higher education, and zoom meetings are now totally normal.

That might be why you’re considering hiring a virtual employee. You may have already seen how easy it is to work with remote staff.

At Hiresmart Virtual Employees, we were in the remote work game long before the pandemic. And we’ve helped hundreds of clients successfully onboard virtual employees.

We’ll be happy to help you, too, whether you’re looking to hire your first virtual employee or you’re coming back for more. Schedule here for a free consultation

If you’re like me, you’re a creature of habit. I have my routines and enjoy the stability of knowing what the future will bring.

That’s what they call the left brain stuff and it’s a real asset in business because that’s how the checklists get made, the assigned tasks get marked off, and everything moves forward.

Fortunately, I also have a creative – call it “business artistic” –  side. I feel lucky in that regard because, really, you need both sides of the brain to succeed in business.

What’s so important about being creative when it comes to business?

According to McKinsey partner, Marc Brodherson,

“Creativity is associated with superior performance, and creative leaders outperform their peers on key financial metrics.”

Creativity helps you see outside the box, it helps imagine new and different ways of doing things.

And it makes sense that a creative leader would outperform peers because they spend time thinking about new and different solutions to improve their systems and processes.

When it comes to hiring new staff, you probably have a set way of going about it, and since you’re running a successful business, your way has produced at least good enough results.

But you might be wondering if there’s a different approach, another place to look for great staff?

That’s a creative question – wondering is a creative act.

Many years ago, we were introduced to the world of virtual employees as an outside-the-box way of finding great staff and saving serious money. We loved this creative idea so much, we started HireSmart Virtual Employees soon after.

The advantages of virtual employees are many, but one of the most significant is the competitive advantage of lower labor costs.

In this new, highly technological age of business, your potential employees are anywhere in the world that has stable internet connections.

Why limit yourself to potential employees only in your area, or your state, or even your country? Whether or not the world is your oyster, it certainly is your potential hiring pool.

Maybe it's time to consider expanding your search process to include virtual employees. That’s the kind of thinking outside the box that will definitely improve your labor costs.

With HireSmart Virtual Employees as your staffing partner, we’ll make sure that translates into a competitive advantage for your business. Click here for a free consultation.

Two minutes into a consulting call with a client and she shared this scenario with me:

Miranda, one of her hardest-working employees, was showing all the classic symptoms. She was late to work twice that week, which was unusual.

Also, she was making little mistakes like forgetting to add items to our calendar and basic spelling errors.

This is an employee who was known for her impeccable organization and now she seemed hopelessly scattered. My client and she have worked together for years, so she was honest when asked “what was going on?”.

“I’m just trying to get through the day,” she said, “That’s all the energy I have.” It was obvious even from a continent away – Miranda was experiencing burnout.

It wasn’t a cause for panic, but it worried my client, and it should worry you as well. Burnout is one of the major causes of turnover.  Your organization is feeling it and you are too more than likely.

These are the crucial moments in an employer/employee relationship that require a thoughtful and human response.

In these moments, with the appropriate response, you can help your employee weather a burnout blizzard.

Why does burnout happen?

I’ve been around the block a few times, so I know that burnout is pretty common. A recent Gallup study determined that about two-thirds of all employees feel some level of burnout at work.

It’s important to know what causes burnout so you can help your staff deal with it.

Some of the causes of burnout, according to the Mayo Clinic are:

Fortunately, burnout can be addressed successfully and can even lead to a more productive working relationship when handled properly.

At HireSmart Virtual Employees we reduce burnout by focusing on the causes.

Burnout is real and so are the potential consequences for yourself, your business and your employees.

Sometimes your answer is as simple as a new team member, someone to help lighten the load. Because our Virtual Employees cost 50-75% less, you can afford to hire additional people to lighten the load without adding excessive payroll overload.

Are you seeing signs of burnout in your staff? If so, it may be time to look at your staffing needs to keep that burnout at bay.

If you’d like to learn how HireSmart Virtual Employees can help your business with staffing solutions to manage burnout, click here to book a free consultation.

Now that COVID has ravaged our travel plans this year, my husband decided it was ideal for spending 6 months at our country home. We bought the land over 20 years ago from a man named Joe T. Bond whose family had lived here for generations.

He couldn’t even read the simple sales contract we wrote up, and the local attorney urged us to set the closing for the morning so he wouldn’t be too drunk to show up. (No joke!)

It is a beautiful parcel of land filled with Mountain Laurel around a winding stream, but when we bought it, it was cluttered with a burned-out mobile home and decades of trash piled up. We spent the first year cleaning up the land and eventually built our cozy farmhouse.

Soon after, we started our first business. It turned out that we realized we didn’t have enough time to come up here with young kids and the new company, so we put the farmhouse into rental service.

A couple of years ago, the tenants moved out, and since life has settled down for us, we decided to rehab the house and make it more like the second home we craved.

Little did we know that this would become our more permanent home this year. We still travel back to the city every couple of weeks, but we have enjoyed the pace of the country with the roaming dogs, chickens, cows, and donkeys who are our neighbors. It is peaceful, and lightning bugs light up the fields at night.

Since we are up here, Mark determined that this was the year to start a ½ acre garden. He had the field plowed, and he spends part of his time overseeing the plants, nurturing them, and watching the progress.

Parts of the garden are going gangbusters, and other parts are entirely dormant; same soil, same amendments, the same amount of sun, but completely different results. Why are some doing so well while others are not? I guess we will never fully understand.

As we continue to think about the workforce and changes that are happening, it allows us to reflect on our business and how we can best meet our clients’ needs. We are improving our processes, communication, & training.

We are planting seeds of ideas and watching them develop and mature. We are excited to see what concepts grow like gangbusters and what falls flat. We are innovators and creators, never satisfied with the status quo.

At HireSmart, we are interested in helping all our clients thrive and grow. We want them to have success and give them everything that they need to have healthy, productive teams. If you have ever considered a virtual employee, we will welcome the opportunity to speak with you and help you in any way possible. Book a time here that works for you!

He is a 20-pound miniature Schnauzer that thinks he is a 200-pound pit bull. Six years ago, this month, I carried him home from his birth mom. I found him online and fell in love with him. He was true to his online profile. He is loving and kind, loves snuggles, and is super smart, but only with those who in his inner circle. To outsiders, he is loud, barky, and quite frankly annoying.

We have been to many trainers, through several classes, and yet, he is still at his core, afraid. Afraid of losing me and so anything he perceives as a threat, is to be yelled at, circled around, and lunged at. It amuses me that this little ball of fluff thinks he can scare away any perceived threat that I apparently can’t handle.

Mark & I travel for work quite a bit. We have a dedicated dog sitter for these occasions, as I don’t want to add to the stress of placing him in a kennel. When the sitter met him for the first time, I was there, and he was terrible. I’m surprised she even agreed to keep him. The next time she saw him, I wasn’t there, and he was an angel. Loving, sweet, “best dog ever,” she said. This wasn’t the first time we have had that experience. (If you are in North Atlanta and want a great pet & people sitter, check out Pets & Peeps –  https://petsandpeeps4u.com/. Karen Thompson also does artwork, and you can see her sketch of Adrian under the “Fun Stuff” tab of the website.)

Apparently, I am a resource to be guarded. He thinks he is the only one who can protect me from the evils of this world like other people, dogs, mops & leaf blowers.

This made me think about how we also guard things, especially in our work. We have tasks we feel like only we can do. However, by thinking this way, we chain ourselves to a job. We become so focused on the things only we can do that we limit our impact. You see, Adrian doesn’t realize that I can take care of myself. I don’t need him to protect me. Your tasks don’t need protection, either.

Once you allow yourself to realize that “done is better than perfect,” you begin to expand your impact and are able to do more. At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we help businesses grow and scale by providing great workers at a fraction of the cost of a traditional hire. If you want to release some of your tasks and need a full time dedicated virtual employee, connect with me.

A few months ago, I was having dinner with my aunt & uncle, and they shared a compelling story with me about my Grandmother Mamie.

As with a lot of our grandparents in my generation, they had hard lives. From being born in the depression era to several wars, they learned to make due, adapt, and innovate.

Being the parents of three children, my grandparents lived in an efficient 3 bedroom / 1 bath home that completely served their needs. Can you imagine sharing a bath with your kids in today’s time? No, thank you. And yet, it was perfectly acceptable.

They had air conditioning in their bedroom through a window unit. I remember on hot summer days; I would sneak into their room to cool off. I never thought anything about it growing up.

But, that small room with the air conditioning was a multipurpose room. It was where my Grandmother worked and helped to support her family.

You see, I never knew that my Grandmother worked for an insurance company from home. She would assess fire damage, write up the reports & submit them to the office. She was a top producer in the company working at home with 3 kids. She was an original remote team member when there was minimal technology. She had a desk and a landline and a small air-conditioned room.

How was she a top producer? She outsourced. It turns out my Grandmother couldn’t type. She was determined not to let that stop her, so she hired a typist. She would do the forms/ analysis and then submit them to the typist. She was able to do twice as much. She focused on what she was good at and had others do what she wasn’t. This enabled her to be the top producer.

It’s funny to me that 5 years after starting HireSmart, this was shared with me. You see, HireSmart is all about helping our clients do more of what they are fantastic at while letting our virtual employees be the most productive and best in the business.

If you have ever considered a virtual employee, let’s chat. BOOK HERE