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.

I absolutely love this time of year. As we transition from one year to the next, it is a time of reflection, a time of new beginnings, and a time to do things differently.

5 years ago, I remembered thinking that I needed a significant change in my life. My Marketing Manager of over 4 years quit via text on my first vacation in 7 years the year before, and it was a revolving door to find quality help. I was burned out, frustrated, and knew that if I kept doing business the same way, I was going to decide to quit myself, and all my hard work the past 14 years would have faded away.

I had gotten introduced to the concept of full time dedicated help from the Philippines, and I was intrigued. I took 6 months to research everything. We looked at other countries and evaluated price points, language, culture, and determined that the large fortune 500 companies like Chase Financial, ATT, Verizon, Dell, and many others. I figured they had more resources to evaluate these things better than I did.

At the time, I knew I wanted to protect myself against employee payroll taxes and benefits. I didn’t want there to be any question about whether we were hiring another employee disguised as an “independent contractor.” Yet, I wanted the control and commitment of an employee, so I needed a staffing company.

I searched and interviewed several and came across 5Star who seemed just to fit. They had similar goals and philosophy to ours. And I took the leap to hire my first full-time virtual employee (VE). After working with 5Star for a while, we decided to join forces. Neil, Mark & I formed a formal arrangement and HireSmart Virtual Employees was born. We started helping friends find amazing people and it worked great for everyone. Those first VEs that my first client hired are still working for them today 4.5 years later.

We certainly have grown a lot, learned a lot, and this year we actively employ over 165 workers. We have several businesses, but only 1 employee to do the things that need to be done physically. Interestingly, she has been out for the past 2 weeks on medical leave. My husband & I am absorbing her role while she is out.  I was a little worried about how I was going to manage, but I am happy to say, while a little stressful at times, my virtual staff handled most of the heavy lifting so I am free to continue doing what I like to do.

Some people think that hiring VEs should be like an automated machine. More AI than VE. I disagree. I think hiring virtually should be done as with much care as hiring an employee. They need to be screened, properly vetted, trained, coached and mentored just like your local hires. The difference is we help our clients find the best matches, and we provide coaching and support along the way when there are challenges. We are dealing with human capital and so there are always going to be personal trials that come into play. We help our clients get to the finish line faster with less wasted time.

My hope for you as we enter into 2020 is that you get to do more of the things that you like to do. That you find the peace that I did. I found mine through transitioning to a virtual workforce and helping others to do it as well.

One of the changes that I am making in 2020 is to communicate more. If you like what you are reading – I hope you will email me and share your insight with me.

For those of you who are interested in taking a step to find out if virtual employees are for you, I would encourage you to book a call with me and let’s chat to see if this would change your life like it did mine 5 years ago when I hired Theriza.


Time is very valuable. It is our least plentiful resource, and if you are most entrepreneurs, you are often trying to fit in multiple tasks in a single hour to maximize your time. Yet, often we end up doing a lot of things halfway and not gaining any momentum. Bottom line is we all want to free up some time on our schedules to enjoy life.


Here are 3 effective ways to help you free up some time, feel accomplished in your goals while enjoying life balance:

1. Time Blocking Your Schedule

While this may feel constrained, it will give you the biggest freedom in the long run. As business owners, we need uninterrupted blocks of time to allow for the ideas to flow. Having a schedule where we have everything accounted for allows us to make sure the business tasks that have the most impact are accounted for. ‘

If you haven’t read the story about big rocks – read it here. It will be life-changing to have too big rocks in place for the week. This is true for your personal and professional life.

2. Visible Reminders

Most of us rely on technology or cloud-based services such as Dropbox or Trello to arrange our schedules, appointments and provide reminders to help us avoid forgetting things we might miss otherwise. However, no matter how well we plan our next to-do list, chances are, you’ll lose the quality of the secondary or pending tasks one way or the other.

One solution I do is to have one big whiteboard in my workspace that has important projects and any required deadlines. I make sure to review this on a weekly basis to keep myself focused on the next important project. Sometimes, all you need is a physical paper, post-it note, or whiteboard to remind you. Try it, it works pretty effectively. Think of it like double-checking your homework before you submit it.

3. Establish Good Alliances

Building your group of people to help you with your business is very important. Finding motivated and skilled individuals are the core ingredient to a well-run organization. However, searching for the best candidates to involve in your business can be costly and will consume a huge amount of time if done well. One best solution to this is to hire an excellent virtual employee.

Here at HireSmart Virtual Employees, part of our dedication is to provide an all-in-one solution for your recruiting and training needs. We help multiple businesses find the best virtual assistants to help them run their companies more efficiently at a fraction of the cost when compared to hiring physical employees.

Book a free appointment with me today to find out how our service approach has created great leverage for our valued clients.

As a business owner or manager, you must always present your staff with performance goals examples to help grow your staff, as well as justify position changes like, transfers, promotions, and salary adjustments. Ideally, these goals should be tied to the overall business goals and should be achieved before the staff member can be promoted or considered for a higher-level job.

Apart from helping determine career paths for your staff, these goals also help you know what is expected in the position. Much like the key performance indicators (KPIs) we have discussed in another article, these performance goals help your staff understand the overall behavior you are looking to achieve.

Here are some examples of performance goals that should be measured:


It is important that productivity be measured. This is a critical performance goal. Obstacles that hinder employees are usually discovered through evaluating employee performance, which can then be corrected with training and development. It becomes part of the goal-setting stage within most performance appraisals. These appraisals are tools that can be used to determine effective methods to increasing productivity – including changing processes or procedures to help make the job easier.


Another performance goal is to hold staff accountable for their job responsibilities. Accountability determines the outcome when performance goals are not met. It helps you determine if employees are performing the job they have been hired to do. The consequences of non-performance should be well thought out and should escalate as more goals are not met. Accountability allows your staff to understand the consequences of not meeting expectations. As with anything, however, the standards should be what most people can achieve for the position.


One of the most important performance goals examples is motivation, which prepares employees for bigger or additional responsibilities either within their current roles or for promotional opportunities. Motivation focuses not just on employees’ monetary gains, but rather, employee recognition that is not necessarily in cash. It is best served by recognizing and appreciating talent through assigning high-level duties and tasks and giving employees the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills.


Setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive (SMART) is crucial in creating a path to reaching employees’ performance goals. Having goals set out in this manner prevents confusion and difficulty in holding them accountable.

Creating performance goals

While there are clearly some basic goals and objectives that need to be done for each position, it is always best if a manager and employee can work together to create goals that are specific to the job and position. Collaborative goal setting helps ensure that the staff is engaged and invested in to the company’s goals.

Importance of performance goals

Performance goals examples are important because they help people determine how well they are performing, which then helps them plan their next moves as far as their careers are concerned. For the employee, it can get them promoted, get a pay raise, or get assigned bigger responsibilities. For the company, it ensures that the staff is motivated and productive. In short, it’s set up for success in that the position is done right and on time, so that the overall company goals are met.

For more tips on how to create performance goals, visit our site or book an appointment with us.

It is now a new year. It is hard to believe that 2016 is complete and we now march on to 2017.

This time of year we tend to reflect on our lives and what we want to change, improvements we want to make, and we start out with great intentions. Yet somewhere around February, we lose resolve. We justify that those ideas, dreams, etc are too elusive, too difficult to achieve and we give up.

According to only 45% of American even make New Year’s resolution of those only 8% actually keep them. However, most of the people who at least make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals over those who don’t make them.

At, we have some very big goals for 2017. We want to help 75 business and get 100 staff working. We know that what we do helps. We help business owners find excellent talent and we help them train their remote staff in a wide variety of ways.

Whether you are a real estate professional, small business owner, or Solopreneur, we have the way to help you grow and scale your business economically. Want to find out more? Book a consultation with us and we will show you how we can help.

Cheers to a great 2017!

Mark & Anne Lackey

Ever wish you could clone yourself to get all those things done?

Successful people do not do everything by themselves. They delegate some of the tasks to skilled individuals. By allowing someone else to help them, they accomplish much more than they could otherwise.

If you are starting your business, hiring an additional employee can be very costly. If you have been in the industry for quite a while, you are probably finding that the hours in the day simply are not be enough to complete all of your To-Do’s. Things like calling clients, setting appointments, filling out forms, researching competition, marketing your business, networking, vendor management, accounting, the list goes on and on.

We have laid out 5 categories for you to best determine if now is the time to hire a Virtual Employee. If you feel that you fall into one of these categories, you might want to consider hiring the services of to provide you with a solution for cost-effectively managing your time and productivity.

1. Hiring a full-time employee to help you is not affordable.
Hiring an additional employee can be very costly – you have to take care of the health benefits, vacation days, sick days, payroll taxes, computer equipment, etc. Working with a virtual employee can save you a lot of money as compared with working with a full-time employee. A virtual employee has his/her own equipment so you do not need to invest in a computer, headset, and other stuff. Another thing is that you are not responsible for their health care plans, and their payroll taxes – that alone is a very big help to reduce the costs of hiring an additional employee. Here is a savings breakdown for one of our clients who saved over $26,000 per year for each Virtual Employee they hired.

2. You have too many administrative tasks
Doing administrative work definitely eats a lot of your time. Instead of spending hours filling out forms, preparing presentations, handling emails, paying bills, etc., you can use a virtual employee to handle all of these things so you can focus on the income-generating activities or on the tasks you prefer doing. Your virtual employee can do anything you need that can be done with a computer and/or a phone. You can even have your virtual employee set up appointments for you to better leverage your time!

3. You are out of the office and need someone to handle the back-office tasks of the business.
Meeting with your client means a busy day. Yet when you are out of the office, the work can still pile up quickly while you are gone. You need someone to manage the emails and phone calls while you are gone. The technology has advanced to a point that having your virtual employee work seamlessly with you is a huge advantage to any business owner.

4. You are overwhelmed
One of our business colleagues told us about a time where he was working 10 hours a day making $175,000 in revenue. Bills were piling up, customer calls and sales were not being addressed – he was just so overcome with all the things that needed to get done – he just ignored them. The power was shut off because he didn’t pay the electric bill. This was the final straw. He finally realized that it was either get a virtual employee or go back to a corporate job. Needless to say, the later was not an option. Soon after he hired the employee, he was able to grow his business to over $1,000,000 in revenue just in the first year. It takes a leap of faith to get started, but all our clients are so glad that they do and many hire a second virtual employee within weeks of their first hire.

5. You want someone to manage your projects
Virtual employees can multitask very well. If you need someone to keep the projects moving – checking in with outside vendors, keeping everything on time, and budget, your virtual employee is great for that. This includes social media projects like writing content, producing marketing material, or keeping your team informed of deadlines. All you need to do is layout all the details on how you want that project to turn out and just review it as soon as it is turned over to you. If there are revisions, of course, you can ask your virtual employee to take care of it for you.

Our clients have proven over and over again that they are using their time and talent better than ever before and saving money by using virtual employees. We have helped many business owners just like you. Have questions? Contact us for a quick conversation to see if this is right for you.

We hope as you reflect on 2015 and look forward to 2016 – you are pleased.

As we close the door on 2015, we wanted to share with you 3 things that we hope will help you in 2016 have more of what you want out of life.

1 – Quit doing things you don’t want to do

While it sounds simple – you can improve your quality of life by simply doing more of what you enjoy. But first you have to ask yourself – what tasks are dragging you down? What would you eliminate from your work or personal life?

If the task is required to be done –  figure out how to minimize it or get rid of it completely.  For us that meant – hiring virtual employees. If we don’t like doing it and it can be done via a phone or computer – our virtual employee does it for us.

Now there are some things that a virtual employee can’t do. Ask yourself – does it really need to be done?

There are times that we do things out of a sense of obligation, because they are expected or a sense of false guilt – those are feelings that weigh you down. Resolve in 2016 to live your life the way you want to. Nothing has improved our quality of life more than when we let go of what we perceived were expectations that had nothing to do with what we wanted, but what we believed other people wanted. We changed our friends, some of our family, and started doing what we really wanted to do. It was liberating and you know what – we didn’t miss those we let go of – they were just holding us back & weighing us down. Let it go!

2 – Would a little extra cash ease the burden?

Of course it would. Yet, we find people make excuses as to why they aren’t producing the income that they desire. It is a mindset. You can have anything you want if you are willing to do what it takes.

“People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.” ~ David Wong.

What would you need to do to get a little extra cash? It may be simpler that you think. Think about selling 1 more widget a week or go on 1 more appointment. What impact would that had on your business? What needs to be done to make that happen?

For us, it meant using the skills of other people to afford us more time with clients. More time with clients = more cash in our pockets. We went through the process of evaluating: how could we get more widgets produced?

Prospecting, marketing, branding, research, customer service – all of that is done by our virtual staff which allows us to do more business.

3 – What would you do if you could?

If you had more time and more cash – what would you do? Often people don’t have life the way they want because they don’t believe it is possible. For a minute – remove the limitations from your mind. Get rid of all the reasons you can’t and believe that you can. What would you do?

Believe it or not – a lot of people don’t have an answer to this question. They never allow themselves to even think about what they would even want to do. Dream! Dream big and then think about how to get what you want.

We have shared with you that hiring virtual employees have given us more time and more cash while enjoying the business more. It has allowed us to travel, spend time with other business leaders, develop new strategies, help other business owners grow, & we get to do it together. We have created the life we always wanted and we want that for you.

May 2016 be the start of new beginnings. If we can help you in 2016 – let us know.

Mark & Anne Lackey