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 know how some restaurants have big menus and serve all kinds of food, while others, like your favorite barbecue spot or pizza place, are just focused on a few items?

As a business owner, especially a small business owner, you’re like the restaurant with the big menu – you have to handle all kinds of tasks, you have a wide scope of responsibilities.

And you have to be capable and knowledgeable about all the parts and pieces of running your business. To put it another way, you’ve got a closet full of hats and you wear them all day, every day.

But unless you’re a solo operator (and hats off to you, if you are. . .), you have an employee or two or ten that assist you in certain areas of your business, they take specific tasks off your plate.

Your employees are like the pizza place or the BBQ spot – they usually only wear one or two hats and they become specialists in their departments.

One of your main challenges, as a business owner, is deciding what tasks to delegate and who you’re going to delegate those tasks to.

That’s where HireSmart Virtual Employees  can really help you out.

We spend our time finding great virtual employees and we know exactly what skills they have and what tasks they’re prepared for, or capable of learning how to do.

We know all this because our hiring process has written tests, verbal tests, personality tests and we even train & certify every virtual employee for forty hours before they start working with the client.

When you contact HireSmart Virtual Employees to make a new hire, or inquire about our services, we always start with some version of this simple question – what tasks and responsibilities do you want to take off your plate?

Once we answer that question and get down to the nitty gritty, we’ll send three candidates your way who are specialists and who are capable of handling those responsibilities, plus a whole lot more.

I realize you might be new to the world of virtual employees and not even sure what’s possible to delegate.

These are just a few of the time-saving tasks our clients delegate to their virtual employees:

Any task that can be completed on the computer or over the phone can be handled by a virtual employee with the right set of skills. If you have an open position or realize your time can be better spent by delegating a portion of your tasks to a virtual employee, click here for a free consultation.

The community association management industry is facing a serious drought: qualified community management professionals simply cannot be found. They are overworked and underpaid and yet still somehow cost management companies a small fortune whenever a new hire does come on board. But there is a solution. This series will cover the roles a virtual assistant can easily and affordably take on to help your staff take back their workday! This article will talk about why a HireSmart Virtual HOA Management Assistant could be the best choice for your management company.

 

Community Association Managers Are More Than Human Fire Extinguishers

Community Association Managers (CAMs) are the face of your management company. For many boards of directors and community members, the manager is the sole representative of your management company that they see day in and day out. And that’s why the burden on your community association managers is so high.

As the primary representative of the management company, all duties, and deliverables for the communities they manage are funneled through them, from accounting issues to violations, to maintenance coordination, to coordinating multi-million capital improvement projects. Even for the items they can delegate, there is still a LOT on CAM’s plate:

It’s no wonder that managers get burned out!

 

A New Way to Expand Your Association Manager’s Capacity: Virtual HOA Management Assistants

Alleviating the burden on your community association managers isn’t as simple as just hiring more managers. Even if you can find and hire new people to manage a portfolio of communities, it takes time and effort you don’t really have to train them and get them up to speed with all of the issues facing the community associations they will be managing.

Instead of hiring new managers, consider adding HireSmart Virtual HOA Management Assistants to expand the capacity of your existing management team. Keep your existing management team as ‘executive managers’ with boots on the ground in your community, while your team of virtual employees assists them remotely.

 

How a Virtual HOA Management Assistant Can Support Your Management Team

Remote management assistants can take some of the burdens from your community association manager’s shoulders and help them put out fires before they become a raging inferno.

Your virtual management assistant can take on your manager’s bulging inbox to help identify and handle or delegate tasks as needed, such as:

With a HireSmart Virtual HOA Management Assistant, you can expand the capacity of your existing community management team and your community association managers can take back their workday to better represent your management company.

 

Let HireSmart Help You Hire Smart

Help your managers stop fiddling with the small things and focus on the big picture stuff that their community really needs. HireSmart Virtual Employees is here to help. Book your 30-min discovery call today to start the process of getting paired with your new HOA Management Assistant.

Remember in that movie from way back, Jerry Maguire, when Cuba Gooding Jr. was always saying “Show me the money!”

If you’re like me and love a great deal, it’s more like saying “Show me the savings!”

Some people get fanatical about trying to make money, and I mean, count me in.

But there’s something about making a great deal and saving big money that just, I don’t know, makes me feel smart.

Wall Street is full of smart people, making money, knowing about how all the markets work. For me, though, I’m from Main Street and I grew up knowing that a penny saved is a penny earned.

Any type of savings has a better return on investment than the stock market. That’s because when it comes to savings, your investment is 0$.

And while it does take money to make money, it takes no money to save money. It’s literally an off the charts return on investment.

Here’s why I call myself a money saving expert. At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we save our clients between $25k and $30k per year for every employee hired through our agency.

Judith, a managing partner at one of our long term clients, gave us this quote:

"The hiring process and training that Anne provides is the best we have found. We have saved over $26,000/year PER Virtual Employee that we have hired. This has been a game changer for us and our business.”

Let me ask you something real quick – what other line item in your budget has that kind of potential for saving money?

If you could save $25k per year on, say travel expenses or equipment, that’s a no brainer, right? As long as the quality is the same or better, as long as your experience using the product is the same or better.

Our value proposition at HireSmart Virtual Employees is all about saving you money on labor costs while providing the same or better quality staff you might find anywhere else.

When you use HireSmart Virtual Employees to hire a full time staff member, you’ll have an extra $25k in your bank account. Where it belongs.

The stock market can give you great returns, but not those kinds of returns.

If you’re thinking about making some staff changes or adding a new employee to your team and you love getting a great deal that saves you money, click here to set up a free consultation.

I can promise you, we’re way more fun to talk to than a Wall Street stock broker.

The community association management industry is facing a serious drought: qualified community management professionals simply cannot be found. They are overworked and underpaid and yet still somehow cost management companies a small fortune whenever a new hire does come on board. But there is a solution. This series will cover the roles a virtual assistant can easily and affordably take on to help your staff take back their workday! This article will talk about why an HOA Accounting Assistant could be the best choice for your management company

Community association management companies are struggling on a lot of different fronts right now. The lack of qualified community managers and other industry professionals entering the workforce is creating a blanket of tension and financial uncertainty. This, plus what experts are aptly naming “The Great Resignation” (people leaving their jobs en masse for better pay, benefits, or quality of life) has hit management companies particularly hard. With a dwindling workforce that seems to be getting thinner and thinner, how are you expected to adequately support your clients these days?

Your Office is Overwhelmed

Chances are every person in your office is feeling the burn from the turmoil of today’s job market. Everyone is taking on tasks and responsibilities that tend to fall under “other duties as assigned” just to help keep things running as smoothly as possible. It’s great knowing that you have a dedicated group of people who are willing to go above and beyond for your clients, but it’s that exact mentality that has caused this Great Resignation movement to grow so quickly.

Loving your job simply isn’t enough anymore for so many people. They’re watching friends and family “trade up” to a new job with a smaller workload and bigger payout. They’re starting to think that they can’t continue to burn the candle at both ends, no matter how much they love their clients or their company. Your accountants especially are underwater, because there isn’t really anyone they can offload the work to except one another. And if your team has only one person handling your accounting, they are feeling the weight of their work. You may start to see this in task completion time –maybe they’re a little late processing late fees, getting monthly financials out, or taking longer than expected to respond to balance inquiries from homeowners. Getting everything done on time and accurately is crucial in any financial role. Helping better distribute some of their tasks is the best thing you can do for your accounting staff members.

Should You Bring in an Expert?

The first step to fixing this issue is lighting the beacons and calling for aid. But the kind of aid you call for is what will make all the difference.

For example, the typical search for help begins by looking for a specially trained accounting professional. Obviously, right? Because if you add to the number of accountants you have on staff, the workload will surely diminish. And that’s true, but it’s also pricey.

A licensed, qualified accountant will cost you a very pretty penny. The Great Resignation isn’t just seeing a mass exodus, it’s also seeing a mass influx of possible new staff members, but they all want the most pay and the most benefits. And they deserve it! But can you afford it? If your staff is buckling under the weight of too much responsibility, chances are you can’t reasonably afford the number of professionally trained accounting professionals it would take to ease their burden.

Choose a Virtual HOA Accounting Assistant

Most people hear “virtual assistant” and immediately assume that to mean an appointment setter or executive assistant. Those are just two of the plethora of functions a quality, English - speaking virtual assistant can handle.

At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we know that your staff is balancing all their most important tasks as well as the seemingly mundane – answering phone calls from clients, managing schedules, or handling reporting. Those skills pair beautifully with the needs your accountants have today. Do they need to process late fees and fines, but can’t seem to find the time? A Virtual HOA Accounting Assistant can cover that, no problem. Generating resale packages is exhausting, let an HOA Accounting Assistant sort that out. Need someone to enter vendor invoices? Or process payment batches? An HSVE Virtual HOA Accounting Assistant will take care of it.

Your accountants should be able to take back their workday so they can focus on the mission-critical accounting tasks that they have the skills to tackle. Giving your team an assistant to juggle the minor tasks is the best way you can ensure they do just that.

Let HireSmart Help You Hire Smart

When the time comes to start onboarding a new support system for your accounting team, HireSmart Virtual Employees is here to help. Book your 30-min discovery call today to start the process of getting paired with your future HOA Accounting Assistant.

While any business can improve their bottom line by using Virtual Employees, we wanted to share with you our personal top 5 Industries that benefit by using Virtual Employees.

Hiring a Virtual Employee or Virtual Staff as we like to call it continues to be a growing trend, although the idea is relatively new to some business owners and professionals. The technology has advanced in such a way that it has become easier and more efficient to use remote staff than have an office full of employees

Businesses are now using cloud-based tools like Skype, Microsoft 365, Docusign, iCloud, and Dropbox, to name a few. This means that there are a lot of tasks that can be done remotely and incorporating a global workforce is the smartest way to go.

Companies leading the race in their respective industry have discovered the benefit of hiring a virtual staff. In a previous post, we talked about the huge cost savings our clients have found 1 year after incorporating Virtual Staff into their organization.

Here are some types of companies that can use the help of a Virtual Employee:

Real Estate Brokers, Agents & Property Managers
As a real estate professional, you can’t continue to do everything and the sooner you realize that you are not superhuman, the better. Considering the help of a Virtual Employee would benefit you in many ways. A Virtual Employee can aid you in filtering leads, setting and managing appointments, posting ads, handling email correspondence, provide general administration & customer service as well as make you look good in social media.

Law Firms
Law firms a notorious for handling a lot of paperwork. It doesn’t matter the type of law they focus on, they all have time-consuming tasks like research, legal transcription, calendar and email management, data entry and communication with clients. A Virtual Employee can take the responsibility of accomplishing these tasks to lessen the burden.

IT Firm
This industry was one of the earliest to discover the benefits of hiring Virtual Employees. From providing world-class quality website development to administrative support, technical and customer technical support and everything in between, technology companies have reaped the rewards of using Virtual Employees.

Accounting and Financial firms
Organizing records, data entry, accounts payables and receivables, calendar management & bank reconciliation are the some of the most daunting tasks for an accounting firm. The presence of a Virtual Employee with the appropriate skills will definitely help lessen the distress

Marketing Firms
In today’s digital age, companies that are looking to perform marketing services for clients can certainly use a Virtual Employee. Social media campaigns, Facebook ads, market research, blogging, finding images for quotes, article syndication, and design. All of these tasks are perfect for a Virtual Employee.

Honestly, any company that provide a service – janitorial, general contractors, architects, and many more can benefit from having Virtual Staff.

As an entrepreneur, the success of your business depends on your actions and decisions you take, use your expertise to grow your business, and get all the help you need for everything else. At HireSmartVirtualEmployees.com we help take the pain of finding those great employee and help train if you need it. Contact us today to determine how we can best help you.

Thinking about hiring, we wanted to give you our 7 steps to hiring quality staff.

The first step is to think about the tasks you need help with. Maybe you need help with social media, customer service, general administration, or possibly sales support. If you aren’t sure, it is very hard to find someone who can help. Start with the end in mind and think about the top 3 things that if could be done but not by you, it would help. Let that be the starting point if your job description.

Once you have the tasks that you need, think about the traits that the ideal person to do the job would need to have. For example, if you want someone to answer the phones for customers, then having a pleasant phone voice and ability to communicate well is necessary. If you are hiring for an accounting position, then ability to be an accurate data entry person would be a requirement. You want to match the position with the personality and skills to ensure a good match.

Now that you have the tasks and the type of person you need, it is important to start recruiting. This is where it can get very confusing and expensive. You can certainly post your position on free job sites, but a lot of time you get a ton of spammy emails and then must wade through the junk to hopefully find a diamond. One of the reasons our clients love our services, is we do all the front-end work for you saving you tons of time and headache. We believe it far better to post an ad on a paid site so that you have better results. Remember that when posting for a position – your headline is your hook for getting people to read the full description so take some time to come up with something interesting.

Now you should have candidates applying for the position. How are you going to decide which to interview and which to eliminate? Again, depending on the position type, you may want to have specific criteria as a pre-screener. For example, if you are hiring for a customer service person who will be handling support via email, you may want to ask for a writing sample. If they are applying for a phone position, have them leave a voice mail so you can hear them. Make the task simple to do and easy to follow, but will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to make a yes/no decision. For a more complex position, I embed instructions into the middle of the post like in your cover letter, tell me your favorite animal and why. If they fail to provide a cover letter- next. If they provide a generic cover letter – next. That will significantly narrow down the prospects to those who can read and follow instructions well.

Once you have a shortlist of resumes, you will set up the interview. Interviews can be done via skype, phone, or in-person depending on the role you are hiring for. Have a set of questions you ask all the candidates and use what I call a tournament ranking system. Assign each candidate a starting rank based on their resume and credentials. Then rank them after each interview from highest to lowest. This allows you to objectively evaluate each on without being emotionally bias. Whoever has the highest score is the person for the position.

Now that you have selected the candidate and made the offer, your work isn’t done. You must have an onboarding process. What tasks are you going to train them on first? The best way to do this is to use the job description that you started with and work on the most important tasks first. We highly recommend having a screen capture software like Camtasia so that you can easily create a library of tasks that everyone on your team can reference.

Finally, how are they going to be measured for effectiveness? Every person wants to know what is expected of them and how they can self-evaluate their progress. Make sure that you have weekly meetings and feedback sessions in the beginning. After 90 days, you can reduce that to monthly as long as you are getting the results you need.

If you are looking to hire full-time staff, consider using our service.  We provide top-notch, quality staff at a price that is easily affordable. Want to know more? Book a free consultation with us to learn more.

Ever wonder why some people have rock star virtual employees and others dump their employee after a couple of months?

With the advancement of fiber networks and technology has increased the popularity of virtual workers.  A global workforce can allow a small business to become a medium business without a significant upfront investment.  With virtual meetings on Skype, have someone halfway around the world answer your phone with VOIP and ability to exchange large files, the use of offshore virtual employees is growing exponentially.

The key to success for onboarding a virtual employee is similar to bringing on an employee.  If you are a good manager then you will have success. If you are not so good a manager then you will still have challenges, only heightened by the distance.

The key is planning.  Having the tasks defined, the schedule required and the training prepared in advance helps have your virtual employee become productive the fastest.

Make certain you allocate time early in the training process to familiarize your virtual employee with your business, who are your customers, what services or products that you provide, the geography of where you serve, how you make money, what your mission is, and your core values.  By teaching your virtual employee all of this, it will help them see into your business and understand the interrelationships of your business and become better problem solvers.

Especially when using a global workforce, they need to understand about American Culture & your business expectations as well as you need to understand theirs. Explaining how we act and think and providing them with a set of expectations or key performance indicators, allows for better understanding & communication. This is one task that HireSmarterVirtualEmployees.com assists client with to help ensure a greater success.

Plan the work that you expect your virtual employee will be doing. You will want to write up those tasks and explain how they fit onto the bigger picture of your business.  We recommend that you break them into categories based on a “to do” schedule of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly tasks.

Once you have the tasks, break them into urgency/priorities. For example, must do immediately like answer the phone, quickly like answer an email, soon like items that need to be done on the day scheduled and as soon as possible like items that can be pushed to the next day if higher priority items fill the day.  This way they can prioritize without you having to micro manage.

Next put together a calendar with when the repeating tasks need to occur. Answering the phone and responding to emails are no brainers as they are done as they occur.  But a research item or file update may be done at close of each week or close of each month.  Build a task list and then feed into the scheduling calendar for your work as well as for the virtual employee and label as such.

For each task develop a process, procedure, and training. Well run businesses have a written process for everything you need to get the job done. A virtual employee will test the strength of that process as they will follow the instructions provided. The better the detail and more complete the process, the better the result. If your virtual employee isn’t getting the results you want or need, look at the training.

These trainings are the key to delegation.  We recommend a combination of video & written documentation that your virtual employee can repeatedly use and then if there is a change of process – having them keep the procedures up to date.

HireSmarterVirtualEmployees.com uses video training extensively. Easy to produce and update, a library of the training is always available to the virtual employee with a subscription to the on-line web service.

Anytime you have a new team member, you need to provide a way to integrate them into your team. Onboarding a new virtual employee is a key step in the process. Here is a short video to explain how we recommend that you get started with your onboarding and training process.

We hope that you enjoy this video and we look forward to hearing about your success!