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.

“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.

Many millions of people are now singing the praises of remote work since the pandemic disrupted our work patterns.

I’ve been working and managing staff remotely for over eight years now, which makes me something of a veteran.

At this point, there aren’t many people criticizing remote work for being unproductive, or difficult to manage like there used to be.

You can see it’s the next wave of workplace evolution, the freedom to work from anywhere there’s a strong internet connection and mobile phone service.

So, you’re familiar with remote work and those of you with a few more years under your belts know how to do it well.

That’s why I want to pass on some tips and tricks of the trade, especially for those of you who are new to managing employees remotely. At the end of the day, like most things in life, it comes down to clear and effective communication.

There are four aspects of communication that will help you connect to and manage your staff remotely.

Be Clear:

Be Curious:

Be Consistent:

Be Transparent:

By the way, communicating like this is helpful with every relationship, not just for managing staff.

Especially with virtual employees, good clear communication skills are vital. That’s why we train our virtual employees for 40 hours, much of that time focused on listening and communication skills – so they can meet you halfway.

Are you looking to build a team of remote employees, or to add in a remote assistant?

Do you want to work with a staffing company with expertise and proven success in managing remote employees?

If so, you are invited to book a free consultation here.

Reward based compensation is just a fancy name for a bonus. Bonuses are good, we all love bonuses. That is, we all love getting a bonus.

As entrepreneurs and managers working with tight budgets and increasing payroll costs, adding to those expenses with employee bonuses may seem like not a great idea. In that case, don’t think of it as an expense – consider it an investment.

We’ve talked a lot about the cost of replacing good workers and the benefits to keeping them for a long time. I’m telling you, as a staffing expert, it’s never been harder to attract quality staff for reasonable salaries.

That’s why the idea of employee retention is top of mind for all the business experts and consultants. They’ll charge you big bucks for what I’m going to tell you right here in this email.

Giving bonuses as a reward for excellent work will keep your employees coming back for more. This is so important for workers who can’t move up in your organization, who may feel like they have no room for growth.

As usual, I learned this one the hard way. Many years ago, before I knew about the power of reward based compensation, I lost a great employee.

She’d been with me for five years, everything seemed fine, the business was humming along and then one day she came in and gave me her two week notice.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but this was also before I knew about the value of the weekly check-in.

What got to me, though, was that she left for basically the same job with a similar salary at a different company. There was only one difference. . .

You guessed it – bonuses.

She knew, as an office manager, there were no advancement opportunities in either business, but my competitor gave her a performance based bonus incentive plan and that sealed the deal.

At HireSmart Virtual Employees, we want you to have every advantage when it comes to keeping your workers happy and productive for the long term. That’s why we advise you to use bonuses to spice up your compensation package and keep your staff motivated.

Here are some tips when you’re thinking about creating a bonus program.

Increasing payroll one or two percent is a big deal. But the bang for your buck on that investment in your staff will save you big time by keeping employees long term.

At HireSmart Virtual Employees we know that sometimes you have to spend a little to save a lot. In fact, we save our customers an average of $26, 770 per year on labor cost for each employee.

We recommend you put some of that savings into an employee bonus program and the rest in your bank account.

Are you looking for ways to build a strong team that sticks around a long time while saving you a lot on payroll? Then you’ll be happy to know that’s our specialty. You can book a free consultation here for creative staffing solutions.

 

Churning is great when it comes to making butter or delicious ice cream, but when it comes to staffing, the less churn the better.

Once we’ve set you up with some excellent staff from HireSmart Virtual Employees, you want your churn rate to resemble a peaceful, placid mountain lake, not a choppy whitecapped rushing river.

Your competitive advantage with low and slow churn can be substantial. While your competitors spend time and money finding, training, and replacing staff, you and your staff are moving forward as a team towards your goals.

As a staffing company, we know exactly how much replacing an employee costs in time and money. And just like “nothing succeeds like success”, it’s also true that staff turnover leads to more staff turnover.

Whether you’re selling a product or a service, the bottom line to success runs through your employees.

According to a Gallup workplace analysis, fifty-two percent of existing employees say that their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job.

And only about a third of former employees said they had a conversation with their manager about leaving before they quit.

Employees leave jobs for all kinds of reasons, many of them out of your control. But what if a simple conversation is all it takes to keep people happily working for you?

The power of a weekly check-in is undeniable. Especially with virtual employees, there is no better way for you to address problems and co-create solutions.

Making the time and space for staff to talk about how things are going at work, to identify frustrations, or just vent about personal issues, will keep you in the know about the challenges they face.

Awareness of the issues or problems is churn prevention.

There are many ways to get your churn rate lower and slower and they are all variations on a single theme.  J.W. Marriott says it like this–

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.”

Are you facing the turbulence of churn in your business and want to get a handle on it?

We’ve supported companies through churn – and saved them from being burned. We know how to help you through this process.

If you’re going through heavy staff turnover, or can’t get your team to click, our expertise will help. Book a free consultation here and we’ll guide you out of the churn and into the calm comfort of productive long-term employees.

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.

We have heard the scenario many times for clients who tried to hire on their own. Soon after being hired, an issue surfaced with their Virtual Employee with regard to their equipment, Internet connection or computer being very slow and needs to be upgraded. Then the client wonders – should I pay for my virtual employee's equipment?

This can create a lot of confusion so let’s clear the air for you.

An ideal Virtual Employee should have at least a stable Internet connection and a computer since they know very well that this is where the income starts.

If you have had an applicant who is skilled and has aced the interview but claims that they have an old computer and/or a dial-up connection, you should move on to another candidate. This simply means they are not equipped to work as a Virtual Employee.

A virtual employee who has substandard equipment is like a soldier going to war with an armor made out of cardboard. Watch out for these candidates, as they may be a time-waster. No equipment means not ready.

One of the services we provide when we place virtual employees for our clients is a technology audit. We do this to ensure a virtual employee is ready to work.

Assuming you are still going at it alone, give your attention to business-minded people. Virtual Employees who have this kind of mindset has come prepared for battle. They have worked hard to earn enough to invest in a good computer and obtain a reliable connection. These are the kind of virtual employees you want to work with, virtual employees with initiatives, responsible, and can be considered dedicated to the work they do.

Another thing to consider before feeling generous to your Virtual Employee is the possibility that it may not work out. Not being a pessimist but just covering all grounds. When you give your VE a computer then 2 weeks down the line it just doesn’t work, your ability to recoup that loss is almost impossible.

If you still feel like you want to enhance your virtual employee's equipment, then at least you are doing so with the full knowledge that your investment may not be fully realized.

An alternative to consider is come to an arrangement with your VE to subsidize half of the cost of the equipment provided while your virtual employee invests in the other half.

As a client, a loyalty reward can also be a great help in addition to providing a morale boost to your virtual employee. Depending on their KPIs (key performance indicators), you can give your VE a “thank you for doing a good job” gift such as a gift certificate or a low dollar headset or computer accessories. But you have to make it clear to your VE that the best is expected from them so that they can strive for these rewards.

In general Filipino VEs are always thankful when their hard work is recognized. In return a VE will bring give you a world-class output that will be worth your every cent.

If you want to skip the hassle of trying to find your next virtual employee yourself and have us do all the work – including making sure that they have the proper equipment – check out HireSmartVirtualEmployees.com.

We’ve come across entrepreneurs who needed help delegating tasks. However; they were not sure what tasks can be delegated to a virtual employee. Thanks to the internet and the development of online tools, remote workers are now capable of doing more than ever before by knowing the tasks that you can delegate to your virtual employee.

Virtual Staff and remote workers have helped businesses grow by managing tasks from answering phone calls, accountings, setting appointments, taking care of their social media presence, and a whole lot more. They helped entrepreneurs free their time so they can dedicate more time to developing their business more.

In a previous article – How to Delegate Tasks – we have outlined the important steps a business owner has to take before assigning tasks to their staff. But how do you know which tasks you need help with? As a guide, you can ask yourself these questions and make a list:

  1. What repetitive tasks am I doing on a daily basis? We are not even aware sometimes but there are a lot of repetitive tasks we are doing every day that eat up so much of our time. Things like checking voicemails, returning phone calls, replying to emails, managing your calendar, etc. Imagine how much time you can take back when you hire an employee who can do this on your behalf.
  2. What are the things I can’t do or don’t do well? Perhaps you needed an expert to help you with some things? A virtual employee might be the answer to that.

Now that you have the list, you can then categorize them according to your virtual staff’s role and the level of difficulty. To guide you further, here are the common roles that a virtual employee can perform for your business:

  1. General virtual employee – Tasks would include: responding to emails, receptionist duties handling inbound and outbound calls, booking appointments, calendar management, taking minutes of the meeting, database building and file management, bookkeeping, email management, chat management, personal errands like booking flights and reminders etc., Proofreading documents, internet research, creating reports, transcription, simple eBook layout/formatting, forms creation, data mining/lead generation
  2. Social Media Marketing Virtual Employee – open social media accounts in different platforms (I.e., Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), planning and posting “sticky” content, research strategies to increase traffic to the website and the social media platforms, writing, editing and sharing blog posts
  3. Real Estate Virtual Employee – (we would like to note that there are distinct kinds of real estate virtual employees however, we will outline some generic roles just to give you an idea). Setting up and confirming client appointments, preparing the marketing material, entering new data in MLS, proofreading and editing images for listings, handling feedback from buyers or buyer’s agents, creating newsletters, posting and managing ads on Craigslist or similar sites, responding to email and phone general inquiries, preparing and filing paperwork, follow-up with prospective buyers or tenants,

Other tasks:

  1. Dropbox/Google Drive Organization
  2. Creating or Managing Spreadsheets
  3. Preparing PowerPoint presentations
  4. PDF conversion, splitting, and merging.
  5. Moderating blog comments
  6. Checking voicemail
  7. Sending client invoices
  8. Basic editing of audio and video files
  9. Podcast setup
  10. Copywriting
  11. Keyword research for blog content
  12. Competitor analysis
  13. Designing logos and banners
  14. Designing infographics or images
  15. Training of new virtual staff

In HireSmart Virtual Employees, we provide a step-by-step guide in helping you make the most of your virtual staff starting with choosing the right one and even helping with pre-training them as well! Book a free call with us to find out how.

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!