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 seven 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 develop 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 everyday 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 an 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, prepare the marketing material, enter new data in MLS, proofread and edit images for listings, handle feedback from buyers or buyer’s agent, creating newsletters, post and manage ads on Craigslist or similar sites, respond 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 help 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!

KPI Reporting is an effective tool for managing staff whether they are in the office or working virtually. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators and measures the performance of certain areas of your business. The first step to start is to find the parts of the business that are important to you and find a way to track and measure them.

A KPI report provides a summary and detailed information on how well or poorly these specific areas are performing at any given time. KPIs can also measure the performance of your staff for a certain timeframe.  KPI reporting comes in various forms, including basic handwritten reports and hand-drawn charts, to computer-generated reports with complicated graphs and charts. Regardless of the format of your report, what is important is that it contains accurate data, complete information, and actionable feedback.

For example, my husband and I own a Property Management firm in Atlanta, GA. When we are looking at KPIs for our staff, each role has a different set of measurements. In the maintenance role, we have KPIs about the number of work orders that are completed and billed within a 2-week timeframe. We monitor the number of total work orders then divide that by the number that are closed out within 2 weeks and track that percentage. An acceptable percentage is 50%. That means that half of the work orders should be closed out within 2 weeks. Anything below that is not acceptable, 50-70% is great and anything over 71% deserves a bonus for our staff.

It is important to pick KPIs that tie into the business objectives. Going back to our example about maintenance, one of the reasons we track this number is the quicker maintenance is handled, the better experience our tenants have with our company. Being quick to resolve these issues gives our company an edge over our competition. It also is a revenue source for our company. The quicker we can process the invoices, the quicker our income is paid and then the trades can get paid quicker as well which means we can attract better trades.

KPI reporting provides you and your staff feedback on the important areas of how they do their job. While every skill and every task are important, there are certain make-or-break areas that they need to excel in. As the business owner or manager, you should measure the areas of your business that give it a competitive advantage over your competitors. In addition, make sure that you are measuring things that your staff can actively control- number of calls handled, articles written, etc. Tracking staff KPIs for things outside of their control can get frustrating.

Another example of staff KPI reporting reflecting the performance of the measured indicator is if your staff member’s main job is Facebook marketing, then reach, engagement rate, page likes, and post likes should be part of his or her KPIs. If your staff is engaged in sales, then their KPIs should measure whether they can hit their quota as well as their daily activity.

KPI reporting helps provide unbiased, accurate feedback to you and your staff about how well their performance is. This is very important when you need to decide on regularization, salary increases, and whether you will be continuing that staff member or replace them. Keep in mind, however, that when preparing a KPI report, you should choose areas that hold the key to the success or failure of your staff. Not every area warrants very close scrutiny. Do not attempt to measure and report on indicators that have little to no bearing on the employee’s performance, and the company’s success. We typically recommend 3-5 KPIs to track and have your staff self-report weekly so that you can counsel them as necessary.

Stay up to date on all our information by liking our Facebook page. Considering hiring to ease your load? We can help. We take the pain out of hiring and selecting staff while saving our clients thousands of dollars over “traditional” staff. Book an appointment to find out more.

Setting expectations and developing clear predictive results are always important to prevent certain strife in workplace relationships, conflicts, and poor organizational performance. I always want to make sure that every inch of my business performance will remain at its highest level or be at least in its ideal or standard state.

Since I have a dedicated team to back me up, part of what I need to stay focus on is my performance assessment of my virtual professionals. I do this by checking my virtual staff’s performance, developing their skills, and helping them grow by deliberately monitoring their challenges and successes every week. All these steps are the standard components of my weekly evaluation helping me to set necessary expectations for the business.

In this article, let me share with my 2 key factors on how to set an expectation for my business and virtual employees:

KPI Reporting

We have discussed in a previous article, KPI or Key Performance Indicator is a specific method that measures the effectiveness of a business achieving certain objectives and goals. This reliable and strategic practice is commonly used by many organizations to evaluate their success at reaching targets.

One way to gauge the relevance of a KPI is typically by using computable criteria that are time-bound, attainable, measurable, and specific. To better understand this process, KPI needs to be classified according to strategical business objectives by following these steps:

  1. What is your preferred outcome?
  2. What is the importance of this outcome?
  3. Who is responsible for this outcome?
  4. How can you or your team contribute to this outcome?
  5. How will you measure the achievements?
  6. When or how often will you review progression?

Periodic Meetings

Setting clear expectations will not be complete without gathering the people involved and addressing each corresponding contribution and any challenges that need to be resolved. In fact, one of the reasons to hold a meeting is to provide information. Another reason is to create a mechanism for decision-making and to obtain ideas from a group or individual discussion. Always remember that a successful business is composed of shared ideas molded together to produce an ever-innovative approach towards our modernized environment.

For more tips on how to effectively set expectations, head over to our site and book a free appointment with me so we can discuss your best possible option to grow your business.

Motivating virtual teams doesn’t have to be challenging. Having virtual staff members in your business can generate favorable results as discussed previously on how virtual employees can make you healthier and my 7 reasons to hire a virtual employee.

Motivating virtual teams is very similar to motivating internal teams. The most common complaint is the feeling of disconnect between the virtual team members and in-house staff. One of the best ways to motivate your virtual team is to include them in virtual meetings and make the group interactive. I have personally been included in many virtual meetings with other colleagues across the globe.

Virtual meetings have become a more common method to effectively communicate with a dispersed workforce. It allows you to hire the very best talent, regardless of where you are in relationship to where your workers. In essence, allowing your business to operate at anytime and anywhere.

Technology and fast-changing tools have equipped business managers to conduct communication in a much more convenient way through conference technologies and mobile access. Business huddles now transcend global boundaries and has transformed into a common practice even in the small to medium sized businesses where as before, only the larger companies could afford such a luxury.

To help you in having better communication between internal and external workers, I have come up with 3 effective strategies to make virtual meetings productive.

Plan in Advance

As a business manager, part of my responsibility is to create and provide the entire backbone strategy of each meeting. Preparing and distributing the agenda before the meeting provides my staff the opportunity to understand business objectives and to plan their ideas and concepts for sharing in advance. This allows for much better dialog and ideas to flow.

Collect Everyone’s Input

If possible, make sure it’s an interactive experience for everyone involved when conducting a meeting. It might be difficult when participants are connected via keep track of who is actively engaged. This is another reason having an advanced agenda can help. You can then ask others to take a role allows for a more collaborative meeting. This also gives you an opportunity to learn from your staff and see what insights they have based on their perspective.

Stay On Track

It may be necessary to intervene if a participant or the group gets off-topic or end up discussing information that is out of sync with the meeting objectives. Although everyone’s input matters, as the chairperson of the meeting, you should control the meeting flow. If a certain topic goes a different way it is best to get back on point and schedule that topic in a future meeting.

Keeping meetings on point and fairly brief allows the meetings to be more meaningful. It also keeps the feeling of being “meeting to death”. I highly recommend shorter meetings weekly with a set agenda to keep everyone apprised of pertinent information. Monthly there should be slightly longer meetings with the objective of training, interaction, and feedback. You should also have someone on one time scheduled with your direct reports. This can be accomplished with some quick IMs or quick video chats. This helps everyone stay plugged in.

Want to know more about how you can enhance your business through using global staff? Book a call to set an appointment and find out more.