When You Have an Issue With Your Virtual Employee

Anne Lackey

Sometimes, you have an issue with your Virtual Employee. How do you handle it?

Your mother said there would be days like this…

There are some days when nothing seems to go the way you want it to. For me yesterday was one of those days. People let you down. It is part of being a business owner. Whether you have internal or external staff, there will come a time when someone drops the ball. It is inevitable.

The question becomes, how do we handle these situations? What can we learn and how can we grow from it.

First, evaluate what is really the problem:

Was it a training issue?

Personnel performance issue?

Is the system broken & inefficient?

Training Issues are the easiest to fix.

I use training issues to strengthen my systems and policies. We create a training library and just add to it as needed. The main thing is to have a filing and naming convention so that trainings can be easily referenced and found.

Personnel performance issues are a little bit trickier.

Let’s face, we can’t be on our “A” game every day. There are days when I miss the mark as well. If your virtual employee is just having a less than stellar day, but overall has been amazing, then maybe you have a heart to heart and call it a day.

If however, the problem is more systemic, follow this simple evaluation:

Ask a question to determine the root of the issue. Sometimes, your virtual employee is in over their heads and are embarrassed to tell you. While it may seem silly, there are times when your virtual employee just doesn’t know what to do next and ends up either doing nothing or doing the wrong thing.

Are they overwhelmed? Ask what needs to happen to help them get it resolved. A lot of times, we have high expectations of our staff, but honestly don’t equip them well enough to meet those expectations. Having an open communication can often time lead to better expectations and procedures.

Are they communicating regularly? Force your virtual employee to communicate with you. Most problems arise when you allow communication to slip. Your virtual employee has been trained to provide you with a daily recap of their work. When clients allow that drop, it almost always ends up with an issue. Your virtual employee should be reporting on the most important tasks of the day. Take a minute or two to review it.

Are you providing regular feedback? Positive and negative feedback are a key component to overall successful communication and a positive relationship. Everyone needs a pat on the back in addition to constructive criticism. Make it a point in the first 90 days to devote the time to building this into your meetings with your virtual employee.

Is your system broken or inefficient?

There is no doubt that having a virtual employee will make your systems stronger. However, there are times when the system really needs to be evaluated. What works on a small scale in the office, doesn’t always work with a remote staff member.

I have found that there are a lot of times internal staff make due with inefficiencies rather than fix a broken system. People are naturally resistant to change. When you are using a remote staff member, they aren’t as “plugged in” to the “fixes” and therefore the problem is highlighted. Unfortunately, often the problem is blamed on the virtual staff member rather than the broken system.

Evaluating your systems regularly allows for innovation and efficiency.

Every time my virtual employee make a misstep, I look at it as an opportunity to grow. What can I do to improve? I rarely blame my virtual employee. I either use it as a learning opportunity, training opportunity or an opportunity to better my systems.

If in fact my virtual staff member made a mistake, I take the time to discuss it with him or her, make them part of the solution for the next time. I demand daily communication so that I can feel good about the work they are performing for me.

Overall, I remind myself even on the most frustrating of days, that having my virtual staff handle the tasks that I don’t want to do is a huge blessing for me. They are efficient, kind, and want to do a great job for me. Because I am willing to put in a little effort, I get to do more of the tasks that I prefer.

To your success!

Anne

PS If you have ever thought about hiring a virtual employee, I would love to have a conversation with you - Book your appointment today!

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