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

Maybe you’re familiar with virtual employees, and maybe you’re not. Whatever your situation, here’s something to consider.

A virtual employee is the right fit for any job that requires a computer with reliable internet and a phone.

I’ve used virtual attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, technical assistants, customer service representatives, and graphic designers, I’ve even had remote consultations with doctors.

I’ll bet you’ve done the same.

When you have a job that needs doing, there are two things that really matter – price and quality.

Unless you like to regularly get coffee with your bookkeeper, do you really care whether they live in the next town over, or across a continent or two?

And that bookkeeper that lives in the next town over, let’s look at her average hourly pay in the US. According to Indeed, for 2022 it’s $21/hour.

Please keep that number in mind while I digress with the following example.

You’re shopping for shoes, and the salesperson puts two pairs down in front of you. They look identical, you try them on, and they feel identical.

The materials are the same, the craftsmanship is the same, the return policy, the box they come in, everything is the same except for one quite important detail – the price.

One of these pairs of shoes costs $100, and the other pair costs $50.

Your first instinct tells you something must not be quite right; something is too good to be true. That’s what I’d be thinking right along with you.

You try them on anyway, each pair, first the expensive ones and then the cheaper ones.

All your five senses tell your brain that they are actually the same even though one costs half as much as the other. But your brain resists the truth because we know that price usually indicates quality.

Except sometimes it doesn’t.

Let’s return to our $21/hour bookkeeper. At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we will find you a bookkeeper for $10, maybe $12/hour. That’s half the cost.

Will that same bookkeeper do data entry for you? Yes. Will she fill in on customer service when necessary? Absolutely. Will she set up meetings with clients for you? Of course.

Will you pay benefits on top of wages? No. Will you pay social security taxes or disability benefits? No. Any payroll taxes? No.

I think you see what I’m getting at. Let your competitors be the ones who pay double for the same quality of service.

If you want to gain the competitive advantage of lower labor costs and smile all the way to your bottom line, click here for a free 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

As a fellow business owner, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this one.

I was feeling indulgent the other day and couldn’t help popping into my favorite ice cream store as I was driving by.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t driving by, but I was in the neighborhood.

There were no other customers, just four employees and here’s the thing – they were all standing around chatting. In other words, not working.

My business antennae started freaking out. I mean, I almost lost my appetite (not quite).

I don’t really blame the employees – this was clearly a management issue.

I guess there was no manager on duty, or maybe I just walked in when they were taking a short break. Who knows?

They were all sweet and polite and I got my ice cream treat and went on my way.

But it got me thinking about one of the questions new clients ask most often – how do I make sure my virtual employees are using their time productively?

It’s a legitimate question and deserves a thoughtful answer. Fortunately, over the years, we’ve given this quite a bit of thought at Hiresmart Virtual Employees.

There are a couple parts to this question, the way I see it. First and most basic, there’s the minimum effort principle and it’s pretty simple.

There’s a minimum amount of effort that all employees have to give in order to keep their jobs. They have to show up, meet deadlines, and perform given tasks adequately.

No one will keep an employee around who doesn’t meet these basic requirements.

The trickier part of the question is how to create a system where employees are challenged so they’re working at a high level, not only accomplishing their tasks, but learning, growing and becoming more efficient.

With a system like this in place, employees become more valuable and more productive. They put themselves in position to advance and your business in a position to succeed.

Now I can’t teach you a management system in the space of an email. Hundreds of entire books have been written on the subject.

But, at Hiresmart Virtual Employees , we do spend lots of time coaching our clients on how to build this type of management system.

So, I’ll give you a few pointers:

Making sure our clients get the best work from their virtual employees is something we take very seriously at HireSmart Virtual Employees. It’s an essential part of our repeat business.

Maybe that’s been the sticking point keeping you from hiring a virtual employee? If that’s the case you should click here and set up a free consultation.

We’ll be happy to address your concerns and match you up with one of our hard working, experienced virtual employees.

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.

A Company Values Statement is what drives the employee’s motivation providing worth to their expertise, loyalty, and contribution to the business. Whether it be a small or large enterprise, one of the biggest factors that separate a good company and the not-so-well-developed ones are clearly defined values.

What is the importance of and how does a company create a Values Statement? Well, as the business owner, it’s your opportunity to define the company’s goals, culture, objectives, the importance of your people and how it gives value to your employees and customers.

A comprehensive and well-built values statement serve as a great instrument that hooks your audience for understanding, developing, sharing fundamental objectives, and must be expressed in just a paragraph or two that can answer questions people have about your business and about you. Combined with a Mission Statement, your Company Values Statement should give your clients and staff a very good picture of what is important to you.

With years of experience as a REALTOR, property manager, and a business owner of multiple businesses, I’ve discovered a useful process for developing a values statement and boils down to these 3 steps:

Your customer’s life has become better because of your business

Think about the big things that make your customer’s life better, and put yourself as one of the greatest contributors of those things. Don’t undervalue your business. Offering a trustworthy service and gaining reputable claims from your customers could be your contribution to the world. Use those underlined benefits to detail the factors that make your business special for your target customer.

How your business affects the life of your employees

The second priority to look for when establishing values statement is by adding how you give importance to people who represent the business and how it affects their lives working with your company. Showcasing your employees as the most valuable brand ambassadors promotes a competitive difference between a genuinely productive company and just a large group.

How the business impacts you

It is also important to dedicate yourself to your business values statement. By telling people how your business was started, how it helped you with your personal and career growth, and how do see yourself or the importance of the business years from now. Always remember that your patience, perseverance, and dedication count and many people will look after your progression visualizing the whole assembly by reading over your passion and a strong interest in your organization.

Need some inspiration?

Here is our example of Value Statement, Core Values, and our Standards of Professionalism.
https://hiresmartvirtualemployees.com/about/

Here is an example from Digital Marketer:

Here is an example from Ben & Jerry's:

Be Unique, Stand Out, & Make it Your Own!

To Your Success!

When talking about HR best practices, you must consider, what are the best practices in Human Resources (HR) and why are they essential to the growth of a business? Human Resources is the part of an organization that takes care of the recruitment and onboarding of new employees or staff. They may also handle payroll and benefits, employee relations and training. HR best practices are simply plans or strategies that enable improved services to our staff. Because our staff caters to the needs of our customers, who happens to be the lifeline of our business, we need to make sure our staff is happy as well.

We’ve talked about employee retention in our previous article and how a low retention rate negatively impacts an organization. Human resources management should regularly review company policies to make sure they are up to date and meet the needs of the staff while maintaining the best practices.

We have collected some of the HR best practices that are tested and proven to improve employee–employer relations.

  1. Good Hiring Process. Generally, human resources is the first point of contact for the potential staff. You could be turning away a good candidate if your process is not efficient and if it is not making a positive impression. How do we make a good impression?
  1. Make the selection and hiring process easy to follow. Invest in a good technology that will make it easier for applicants to apply and follow-up without having to contact your office.
  1. Set the right expectations on your first contact and that includes the time when you posted the job ad. Be as detailed as possible (check out our blog for a sample of an effective job vacancy ad) and be responsive to the applicant’s inquiries. If it is not possible to respond to every inquiry then provide an FAQ page and let them know why you are not able to answer their inquiries at all times. Your hiring process will determine how responsive you will be to your staff when they have concerns.

 2. Implement a comprehensive onboarding program for new hires. Create an employee handbook or a section in the employee portal where you will put in the company policies and procedures. The staff should fully understand their job responsibilities and who they report to. They should also know the basics like how and when they get paid, vacation or sick leaves, other incentives etc. Make sure that everything is signed by the staff and documented.

3. Create a good retention program. Collate information from your staff and from the data gathered, understand what motivates them. Money is not always the best drive for efficient workers. You should know what their concerns are in terms of working conditions and job security. Perhaps, you have employees who would perform better in a customer service job rather than in sales. Is your staff happy with how they communicate their concerns? With the study, it will help you come up with a good retention program which can be a win-win situation for both you and your staff.

4. Fair treatment to all staff. Regardless of the staff’s rank, everyone should adhere to the implemented rules and policies of the organization. In addition, there should be consequences if they fail to abide by it.

With HireSmart Virtual Employees, you don’t have to worry about taking care of most HR needs of your staff as we take care of them for you. We help you with the recruiting, vetting, preliminary training, and can assist when challenges arise. Do you want to know more about how we can help your business? Click here to schedule a free consultation with us.

How much does an employee cost? We answer this question a lot. Hiring a new employee is not as simple as anyone thinks it is – aside from the salary itself, there is the cost for the recruitment, training, equipment, taxes, benefits, and the list goes on and on. Hiring is the most difficult and most important task as a business owner. We are only as good as the people we hire. Yet, most people don’t really consider the full cost of hiring an employee.

The cost of simply finding the right person to hire can be hefty – there are potentially high costs in the process of recruiting alone: advertising, the time cost of all the people involved in the head-hunting (human resources and/or manager who post ads and review prospective applicants), the time it takes for interviewing, background checking and sometime travel/relocation costs.

After the person has been selected, employers need to provide adequate training so new hires can do the work and start producing for the company. This turns out to be the costliest investments a company can make. Statistics show that on average companies spend $1,200 annually per employee, but that is higher for new employees as there is the costs of the training and then add the manager’s time on top of that. Investing in your staff can payoff big time, but the startup costs can be quite costly.

This depends on the industry and the position that the new hire applied for. But the cost of salary should not be the only one to consider – benefits such as free coffee, life insurance premiums ($150 for a typical $50,000 salaried employee), health coverage premiums (ranging from $2,000-$3,000 for single persons; $6,000-$7,200 for families – source: http://www.ahrq.gov), paid vacation and sick days all come at a premium. Other potential benefits include long-term disability insurance ($250), dental plans (ranging from $240-$650), tuition reimbursement, retirement plans, and more. In a study done by Joe Hadzima, he said that the salary plus benefits usually totals in the 1.25 to 1.4 times the basic salary range. So, a salary plus benefits package of an employee earning $50,000/year could equal to $62,500-$70,000.

As an employer, you may be required to provide physical space to your new employee. While some employers are embracing a remote workforce, some positions don’t lend themselves to this option. The rent per square foot varies on the location and the quality of the facility. Work cubes are typically 8’ x 8’ in size. Furnishing the space (even with used work cubes) will cost you at an estimated amount of $2,000 at a minimum. Also, there is the monthly rent which is dependent on the location, but even in a less desirable area is typically a minimum of $100/staff member per month and oftentimes, much more than that.

The essential equipment for office workers would include a computer and a telephone. Even at discounted rates for bulk orders, a computer would cost at about $1,000+, $500 at minimum for the software and other programs that need to be installed, and $250-$350 initially per telephone handset. You also need to include the periodic expensive upgrades to your LAN and voicemail systems.

In a nutshell, hiring an employee is a large expense and most people don’t even know if the person they are hiring will work out. They don’t hire regularly and don’t know what to look for in a new team member. At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we turn the hiring system around. We provide our clients with 3 highly motivated, highly educated, ready to work staff members, that we personally would use in our own business. Saving our clients a ton of time and money. In addition, because our staff members are home-based, they are responsible for their own equipment, internet access, and software.

We provide all the tools to our clients to help them navigate the pitfalls of hiring remote staff and we save our clients on average $25,000 – $30,000 per year in employee costs. We are certain we can help you too with your next hire. Want more details – book a call with me. Ready to try a new way? Order now.