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Virtual Assistants

What Is the Average Cost of a Virtual Assistant?

The cost of a virtual assistant from outside the US ranges from $5 to $30 on average. There are also expert hires, including those from the US, who charge up to $75 per hour for their expertise. The cost of a virtual assistant varies greatly based on their skills and level of experience. This factors in on top of their location and the roles you are hiring for.

In this post, we’ll give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for the help that you need. We’ve divided the cost of a virtual assistant based on three categories:  basic VAs, specialists, and experts. We’ll also give you the basic criteria that fall under the three categories. This will help you to see under which category you should look based on the scope of your project or role. The rates will also help you clarify the hours that you want to hire for. This way, you can strike a balance between your budget and your deadlines.

Three Types of VAs

Here’s a short description of each category of VA. It covers what they do and their general skill levels.

Basic VAs

Basic VAs can be entry-level freelancers. They have job experience but not a lot of experience working online. Basic VAs can also be VAs who offer basic skills. They are more of the doer and follower type. You give them instructions and they execute tasks. At this level, they are not going to be making a lot of suggestions. They will also probably be asking a lot of questions if you give them complex tasks.

You can find basic VAs who are fast learners, but you’ll need to do quite a bit of training with them. You will need to guide them to follow your systems and processes. In addition, you will need to show them exactly what you want them to do for each task. These assistants are best suited for accomplishing simple tasks. Ideally, these are roles where you have systems and processes already in place for them to follow.

Specialists

Specialists are mid-level freelancers who have honed their skills. They also have a good deal of experience. Many of them have niched down and maintain a specialization. Some have a wide range of previous experience and several skills in different areas. Usually, these skills are extensions of a general area of focus. For instance, an Amazon inventory specialist may have related skills like sales data analysis, logistics, supplier outreach and communication, and purchase order design. These additional skills make them better at projecting inventory and setting up an organized system. This way, they can make sure that you maintain excellent inventory levels no matter what happens.

You won’t have to do extensive training with specialized freelancers because they already have high-level skill sets. You will, however, need to give them general guidance in terms of how you like things done. In addition, you will need to get them up to speed on what your specific targets are for their role.

Experts 

Experts are freelancers with very high levels of skill and experience. They are usually consultants, strategists, and planners. These freelancers are very useful in certain cases where you need help executing the most difficult and skill-intensive tasks.

Expert-level freelancers are a good investment if you don’t have systems and processes in place. They are also great when you need help to formulate and execute a new strategy. Once they are done building everything out, you can hire specialists and basic VAs to take over and run things. 

Average Cost of a Virtual Assistant

Here’s a short description of each category of VA and the general hourly rates that you can expect to pay. Below each category, you’ll find a list of tasks and an estimate of their rate ranges.

Basic VAs

The cost of a virtual assistant for basic tasks runs from around $5 to $10 per hour. Here are some examples of tasks that you can hire basic VAs to take over, and what they cost:

Basic Tasks

  • General VA – responsible for handling a variety of administrative tasks like research, data entry, email, and calendar management – $5 to $8
  • Inbox Management VA – responsible for managing your email inbox and responding when necessary – $5 to $8
  • Calendar Management VA – responsible for managing your calendar – $5 to $8
  • Data Entry – responsible for encoding and consolidating your gathered data into one platform – $4 to $6
  • Web Researcher – responsible for conducting internet research on your behalf, making sure that the curated information will be easy for you to read and understand – $5 to $10
  • Customer Service VA – responsible for responding to repetitive customer queries, requests, issues, etc. through email and chat – $5 to $8
  • Blog Manager – responsible for managing company blogs, including formatting and publishing blog articles – $6 to $10
  • Podcast Outreach VA – knows the podcast industry well and knows how to find podcasts related to your business, reach out, and get you booked as a guest – $5 to $8
  • Influencer Outreach VA – responsible for researching influencers within your business niche, finding their contact information, and reaching out to talk about a feature or a possible collaboration – $6 to $10
  • Link Builder – skilled in off-page SEO and the latest link building strategies – $6 to $10
  • Dropshipping VA – responsible for managing the day to day operations of your dropshipping store, including placing orders, sourcing products, following up with suppliers, etc. – $6 to $10
  • Shopify VA responsible for managing the day to day operations of your Shopify store – $6 to $10
  • Product Researcher – knowledgeable in researching products to sell, including researching what is being talked about on social media, anticipating up and coming products, etc. – $6 to $10

Specialists

The cost of a virtual assistant for specialized tasks runs from around $10 to $30 per hour. Note that this range includes hires from countries like the US, UK, and Canada. For example, you can find a mid-level Executive Assistant from the Philippines for $8-15 per hour, but the same from the US would be around $15-25 per hour. For the purposes of this post, we’ll give you rates from outside the US.

Here are some examples of tasks that you can hire specialists to take over, and what they cost:

Specialist Tasks

  • Executive Assistant – responsible for organizing and making your life easier, including fixing and managing your schedule, booking your flights, responding to emails, taking notes during your meetings, taking phone calls, and even running virtual errands for you – $8 to $15
  • Translation VA – responsible for translating documents from one language to another, such as Amazon EU paperwork and listings – $7 to $20
  • Bookkeeping VA – responsible for helping you to keep track of your business’ financials and will be responsible for updating the books for your accountant – $7 to $15
  • Team Leader VA – responsible for managing your team of VAs, creating reports, creating SOPs, streamlining operations, etc. – $8 to $12
  • Project Manager – responsible for managing key client projects from beginning to end – $8 to $15
  • Real Estate VA – a specialist in the Real Estate industry who is knowledgeable in finding property details, cold calling, lead generation, data entry, and more – $8 to $12
  • Onboarding Assistant – responsible for handling the onboarding process of new clients from doing a walkthrough of your system thru a video call to sending and following up on documents needed – $8 to $12
  • Customer Service VA – responsible for responding to higher-level customer queries, requests, issues, etc. through email, chat, and call – $8 to $12
  • Digital Marketing VA – highly skilled in various aspects of online marketing including SEO, SMM, paid ads, content marketing, and more; responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing all your company’s digital marketing efforts – $10 to $20
  • Content Manager responsible for editing and optimizing posts, and managing your company’s content calendar, and liaising with other marketing teams to ensure your website’s content aligns with the campaigns that are currently being launched – $8 to $12
  • PPC VA – a specialist in PPC ads who can help build and manage all your company’s paid ad campaigns – $10 to $20
  • Facebook Ads VA – a specialist in paid Facebook ads who has the skills to plan, implement, and manage Facebook ad campaigns – $10 to $20
  • SEO VA – very skilled in handling the SEO of your company’s website, responsible for optimizing your website, formulating a strategy to get your pages and blog posts to rank, and implement these plans – $8 to $20
  • Email Marketing VA – responsible for creating and sending out newsletters, email sequences, promotional emails, and monitoring metrics, and adjusting strategies based on results – $7 to $12
  • Web Designer – skilled in designing the layout and functionality of a website – $15 to $30
  • Web Developer – skilled in building websites from scratch or from a mock-up created by a website designer – $15 to $30
  • Amazon Seller Central VA – knows all the ins and out of running an Amazon shop, responsible for managing the daily operations of your Amazon store – $8 to $12
  • Inventory Manager – knowledgeable in monitoring the inventory of your online store and reordering stock when needed – $7 to $12
  • Product Listing VA – responsible for publishing product listings on your e-commerce platform, possibly required to write the product descriptions as well – $7 to $12
  • Podcast Editor – experienced in editing video recordings to turn them into engaging podcast episodes – $7 to $12
  • Video Editor – responsible for editing your video clips – $6 to $12
  • Copywriter, Content Writer – a specialist in creating written content like engaging website and email copy, blog posts, and various forms of content, including marketing content for landing pages and specialized long-form content, possibly responsible for all aspects of the content process including planning, proofing, fact-checking, and sometimes even publishing – $7 to $25
  • Audio Editor responsible for taking audio files to edit and polish before final mixing, very useful for podcasters, YouTube influencers, and businesses that use video and audio marketing materials – $8 to $15
  • Graphic Designer responsible for creating custom graphics for you and collateral needed for various purposes like landing pages, website builds, featured images, social media posts, etc. – $8 to $15

Experts 

The cost of an expert runs from around $30 to as much as $75 per hour or more. Note that this range includes hires from countries like the US, UK, and Canada. For example, you can find an Organic Facebook Marketing Expert from the Philippines for $30-40 per hour, but the same from the US might range from $45-55 per hour. For the purposes of this post, we’ll give you rates from outside the US.

Here are some examples of tasks that you can hire experts to set up for you, and what they cost:

Expert Tasks

  • eCommerce Consulting – online arbitrage, drop shipping, marketplace-specific planning, Amazon private label – $40 to $50
  • Marketing & Strategy – SEO, PPC, Facebook Ads campaign creation, social media, and email marketing campaign planning – $30 to $40
  • Conversion Rate Optimization – $30 to $40
  • Excel – Vlookup, Macros, custom reports – $30 to $40
  • Amazon Merch – product photography optimization, store design and optimization – $30 to $40
  • High-End Custom Programming & Development – $40 to $60
  • Management – independent control over website builds, blogs, complete eCommerce operations – $30 to $40

Final Thoughts

Now you have a better idea of what you’re looking at in terms of skill level and the cost of a virtual assistant to make it all happen. Of course, the rate ranges listed here are estimates based on what we’ve hired out for at Outsource School and what we’ve seen from profiles and other peoples’ experiences. You can always adjust based on your budget and what you need to hire for as opposed to doing the work in-house. These ranges are just to give you an overview.

When you list out the different tasks that you want to pass off, think about the levels of skill and experience that you need to get the jobs done right. You always want to avoid going for the lower end if you have high expectations for the outcome. Consider as well the time and effort you are willing to invest in the person to reach your goals. 

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

10 Tasks an Admin Virtual Assistant Can Handle

Are you a small business owner who’s struggling to get small and repetitive tasks done day in and day out? Why not outsource some of the more typical daily business operations tasks to an admin virtual assistant?

An admin virtual assistant can take over most if not all of the tasks that a typical administrative assistant does. Here are 10 tasks an admin virtual assistant can handle for your business. 

Schedule Management

Managing your schedule is the first thing to outsource to an admin virtual assistant. The small tasks involved in schedule management are scattered throughout the day and can get really tedious. For example:

1.  Calendar Management

Having an admin virtual assistant to keep you on schedule is super useful. This means making sure that you complete the most important tasks for each day. It also means making sure that you don’t burn yourself out. An admin virtual assistant can be that key voice that warns you of tasks that you’ve bumped off one too many times, or reminds you that you are overbooked and need to carve out some time for yourself.

You might have alerts set up for calendar events or like to look at your calendar yourself. Still, an admin virtual assistant can help you prepare for each shift of focus. They can send you the links to the materials you need, and give you important notes.

2.  Appointment Scheduling

Get an admin virtual assistant to take over blocking off time slots that have been booked. This is especially useful when you don’t always use a scheduling tool to automatically set up bookings for you. You might use something like Calendly, but others might not. Calendly will automatically add bookings to your calendar and mark that slot as taken so you don’t overbook, but without a tool like this, you’ll need to do manual calendar management. 

Opening up slots is another task that can take up time. There are certain people that you will want to make exceptions for in terms of what time slots you have available. This can sometimes mean rescheduling with people so you can move appointments around to make room. Sometimes, it means figuring out what tasks you can postpone to make time to meet with them. Have an  admin virtual assistant make all the necessary adjustments for you so you don’t have to use your time for such a simple task.

3.  Travel Arrangements

Planning for a trip, whether it’s business or pleasure, can eat up hours and hours of time spanning several days. Pass off the task of researching destinations and bookings and travel times and modes of transport. All you need to do is have a basic idea of what you want, and you’ll get the top options laid out for you to choose from. You can even have an admin virtual assistant create a travel to do list for you that covers everything from what you need to pack to where you need to be and what you need to have with you when you get there. An agenda is also no problem for a skilled assistant, and super useful for you. This way, you can get all the timings right to never be late or unprepared.

4.  Receptionist Duties

More than a reminder service, the right assistant can actually take over incoming calls on your business phone. This way, you don’t get interrupted for every little thing, and have focused time to provide top-notch service to your valued clients. An assistant can also check voicemails that have come in during off hours so you don’t miss a beat.  

It’s all about balance to battle overwhelm, and having this type of buffer is super helpful. Since they are managing your schedule already, they can very easily add in pre-approved items and send you new ones right alongside your remaining available hours.

Of course, when you’re hiring from overseas, you’re going to need a service that can connect your number to theirs so they can take calls no matter where they live. That’s not too hard to do, and doing the research for it can be their first task as a receptionist.

Email Management

Sorting through email can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for any business owner. Email can very easily become a rabbit hole that sucks you away from the important tasks that you need to get done for your business. Many times, you run away from email because it takes so much time. But then you miss important messages and other messages just keep piling up. Eventually, you see that it will take several hours or even days just to get it cleaned up. 

5.  Sorting Emails and Managing Spam

Remove yourself from working in your business by hiring an admin virtual assistant to pre-sort emails for you. They can tackle the big task of getting everything organized to start. Most email clients come with systems that you can use to label and file different senders and messages. An experienced admin virtual assistant can even show you a few tricks for organization and easy access.

One of the best things about having someone else sort your emails is that you don’t have to deal with spam of any kind. You sit down in front of your email and see only the items that actually need your attention. This is an essential step for you to become a more productive entrepreneur.

6.  Answering Inquiries and Customer Service Requests 

Not everything that crowds your inbox is spam. Very likely, you have a lot of important messages in there. The thing is, you can’t take them all on yourself, and you can’t ignore them, either. An admin virtual assistant is a vital role in the area of taking some of the simpler messages off your plate. They can answer common inquiries that come in, and even solve simple customer service issues. When issues arise that they’re not familiar with, they can ask you one time, create an entry in your SOPs, and handle it from then on out. If you also have a customer service chat feature on your website, or any other channel that you use to connect with customers, they can manage that, too. 

7.  Email Marketing

If you take special care when hiring an admin virtual assistant, you can target one who has email marketing experience. Email marketing is so important, and you’ll need help to grow your email marketing list and engage with that list on a regular basis. This is so that you can develop relationships with the people on that list and even make money through it — at least $1 a month for every name on the list.

You can have an admin virtual assistant create new lists in whatever email marketing tool you’re using, have them add and remove subscribers to keep lists fresh, and tweak follow-up emails and autoresponders under your guidance. They can even create and schedule newsletters and broadcast emails to promote newly published content and edit or proofread existing content you have that might need some freshening up.

Research and Data

Having a lot of different tasks to keep track of can keep any business owner distracted from what’s really important. An admin virtual assistant helps you to become and stay organized so that you can remain productive every day. Have an assistant systematize things for you and put new processes in place. For instance:

8.  File Storage 

You can get all your important files uploaded to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive for easy access, and also as a backup solution. This way, you also have a much easier time sharing files with whoever else needs them. Plus, these files stay updated so you know that you’re always looking at the newest version of every file. And, of course, all the files get and stay organized in folders so everyone can find what they need.

An assistant can also do all of your data entry work for you as well as creating, updating, and managing documents and spreadsheets, writing up meeting notes and action items, and other information that you will want to keep organized.

9.  Online Research

Research takes up loads of time, like what was mentioned above in terms of creating travel plans. You can simply set parameters then pass off all research tasks to an assistant. This includes data gathering, data mining and development, lead generation, and so much more.

10. Bookkeeping

You can ask an admin virtual assistant to help you keep your finances in order. This is more than just filing bills and invoices. With a bit of experience or training, they can take over client invoicing and keep finances tallied up on whatever tool you use, like XERO or Quickbooks. They won’t do the actual accounting, but having everything neatly added into the software makes it a lot easier for your accountant when it’s time to do your taxes.

Ready to Hire an Admin Virtual Assistant?

Here’s a sample job post that you can use for recruiting an admin virtual assistant. 

Job Description:

I am currently looking to hire an admin virtual assistant to manage my email inbox and calendar as well as do some bookkeeping tasks. The ideal candidate must have excellent communication skills, is dependable, highly organized, and can take on other admin tasks when needed. Please do not apply if you don’t have prior experience.

The right candidate will be responsible for responding to my business emails, coordinating with other members of the team when you need information, and setting appointments on my calendar. It is important that you’re highly organized so my schedule is organized as well. You will be meeting with me at the beginning of every day to give me a run through of my schedule.

You should also be reliable, trustworthy, and have a keen eye for detail. You will be responsible for keeping track of company finances, monitoring project expenses, keeping track of client invoices, and payroll. You should be able to file all documents in an organized manner. You will be expected to create detailed financial reports and explain them to me during meetings.

Desired Hourly Rate:  $5 to $7 per hour

Location Preference:  Non-US

Hours Per week:  20 hours

Specific Hours:  Client’s business hours – flexible between 10am and 5pm Eastern Standard Time

Weekends Needed?:  No

Programs or Tools You Need to Know:

  • Calendly and Google Calendar
  • G Suite
  • Slack
  • Experience working on project management platforms like Trello and Asana

More Tasks for an Admin Virtual Assistant

An admin virtual assistant can actually do a lot more than just these 10 tasks, but these are a good place to start. You may also want to look into how they can help you to optimize content and manage publishing and comments on your blog, track projects that other team members are working on so they get done on time and within the set parameters, and take care of your social media posting, and maybe even some audience engagement. Miscellaneous tasks that you can pass off include sending ecards and event invitations, document format conversion, audio and video transcription, creating reports and forms and document templates, and putting slides together for presentations.

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

Leading Remote Teams? 5 Things You Should Immediately Automate

When you’re leading remote teams, it’s important to know how effective hiring remote really is. Countless pieces of evidence showcase that remote working significantly boosts your business growth and productivity. With the emergence of increased remote working during the pandemic, managers and leaders contribute their immense efforts and crucial time managing and leading remote teams.

According to a study, 77% of part-time and full-time remote workers stated that they were more productive when working remotely.

With the evolution of remote development, more and more businesses are embracing their remote teams. The new normal trend has paved the way for companies to come into leading remote teams more effectively.

Although managing and leading remote teams can be challenging and tricky, it is far from impossible. You should establish clear and transparent remote working policies and remote team training in advance in this changing business environment.

According to the latest trends, the future of remote working seems promising. Product companies worldwide quickly adopted new ways of establishing and leading remote teams, using remote communication, and building remote collaboration to perform exceptionally well while working outside of the physical business office. 

Before going further, let’s first check out how remote working is working effectively all around. Here listed some quick statistics you can check:

  1. According to a report, 59% of software teams have increased their productivity while working remotely.
  2. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 3.6% of the US workforce worked from home in 2018. Now, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” 
  3. According to FlexJobs’ survey, 95% of employees say their productivity has been higher or the same working from home, and 51% report being more productive when working remotely. 
  4. 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce works remotely at least half of the time.

Fortunately, we have come up with some quick steps that can help managers who are leading remote teams to improve the engagement and productivity of remote workers.

Automating Task Management

Task management is an important consideration to be taken care of when working remotely. To maximize productivity and effectively run remote teams, you must have a robust and effective team management plan for your remote workers.

Project management or task management tools help team members to get their tasks organized in a timely manner.

Look out for a tool that facilitates the management and tracking of each project’s and team member’s work status. You will get all task management activities to align teams with remote work using task management tools like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and so on. Automated project management keeps your team on the right track and lets you focus on other core management tasks.

When it’s about automation, remote teams can choose Butler (Trello’s built-in automation tool) among the pool of other available automations. Butler is a one-stop destination for all automation lovers. It enables you to automate almost everything while making leading remote teams quicker and easier. It can help you create buttons on your cards that trigger actions when clicked. Also, it can help you schedule commands for tasks that you need to do regularly. There are many more automations you can set up with this tool. It will provide you immense opportunities for managing your teams remotely.

Set Common Availability for Leading Remote Teams

Remote working is a trend now as larger companies choose remote environments to make flexible work arrangements. It facilitates a balance between their work and personal life. Flexible working hours for differing time zones helps businesses increase productivity, and develop a healthy remote environment and a healthier lifestyle.

Make sure your remote teams that work across distributed locations have working hours in common for real-time collaboration. Predefine their common availability within a specific range and make sure that all team members worldwide are online and accessible during the set timeframe.

Comfortable working hours relieve team members from daily office stress, help them manage their personal lives better, and allow them to work at peak productivity. These remote members can still manage the rest of the workdays according to their chosen schedules.

Making work-life balance easier helps them understand that you care for them and value the work they do for you. It ultimately leads to increased morale and the work and dedication they deliver much better.

Make Use of Effective Communication Tools

Poor communication often takes businesses down through low productivity. Whether it’s about remote environments or in-house work, seamless communication is crucial for remote teams to work collaboratively to achieve a common goal.

Communication tools are the best way to keep every remote worker engaged. Efficient communication is essential for effectively leading remote teams. Businesses must implement messaging platforms like Slack and Skype to make communication and workflow flawless and smooth.

For this, you need to prepare a communication plan to manage a virtual team effectively. It helps the communication process between team members to be faster and more accessible. The purpose here is to document everything about how you will achieve communication needs.  Also, you can use it for multiple ongoing projects and adapt them as needed.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are two tools that are suitable for collaboration and communication. 

Slack is one of the widely used messaging platforms that remote workers rely on pretty often. It provides teams a healthy work environment where they can have clear and open communication.

You can share images, documents, and comments in threads to keep conversations organized. You can also integrate tools, messages, and voice call team members individually. 

Essential Daily Meetings for Leading Remote Teams

Smooth and real-time communication between the remote members helps resolve multiple communication issues and make personal relationships better. 

It’s beneficial to conduct daily meetings via video conferencing and voice calls while managing remote teams. This encourages smoother communication as both the members can analyze each other’s body language and facial expressions. Moreover, it prevents any confusion or misunderstanding between them regarding work, personal issues, etc.

Regular calls between remote team members ensure flawless communication and better collaboration between them. With video conferencing, remote members help ensure that project expectations are crystal clear. To get your remote members engaged, make it a point to seek their input when it’s time to give feedback.

It‘s pretty beneficial to schedule monthly or regular team meetings with a tool like Skype. Video conferencing helps create the space for remote workers to stay engaged and connected. Here, every team member can discuss the projects they are currently working on, and they can always keep coworkers in the loop.

Scheduling video conferencing is an excellent way to build empathy and bridge the gap between in-house and remote team members. Try making use of popular video conferencing tools like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and so on.

Conducting daily meetings is the key that assures everyone can see the bigger picture and achieve a common goal.

Integrate the Latest Tools 

Working with trending and top-notch technology can take your business to the zenith of success. 

Make sure to integrate these robust tools into your tech stack. The team should be able to access them via any channel. The tool stack should also be kept consistently accurate with each tool kept up-to-date. 

Keeping that in mind, it’s worth noting that not every piece of software will perfectly fit your organization. Similarly, even the best tool may not be the right tool for your team’s current situation. Part of leading remote teams means understanding your team’s technological needs and capabilities and how your tech stack’s current tools meet these needs.

You need to adopt new tools and upgrade current tools to address your team’s evolving needs. Also, if needed, you can migrate to a different tool that better aligns with your team’s processes. As time passes, be sure to revise your tech stack regularly and make changes whenever needed.

Forget Micromanaging and Start Automating

Managers often fear accountability and productivity while leading remote teams. They usually go into micromanagement by default.

Micromanaging everything is challenging and distressing to the manager and affects remote teams’ productivity. You need to empathize with your remote team members and try to step into their shoes. Prioritize their thoughts, mindset, and values, and give them the independence to work freely. If you have hired intelligently, you should have no problems trusting them to align with your business culture and values.

Try to build trust and show your team how much you value them. It validates the team’s work and motivates them to do much better in the future.

Automation helps you keep track of your remote team’s activities without micromanaging. These tools help you assign tasks, check each task’s status, project progress, and maintain regular communication. With the right tools, you can monitor everything without micromanaging. This ultimately helps you balance trust and accountability with remote workers.

Leading Remote Teams

It is no secret that the pandemic has changed the way many people do business. The evolution of remote work as the norm brought on some significant changes in the current business world. Remote work has become more than a trend. It has become a necessity for companies to work efficiently by leading remote teams successfully.

Leading remote teams might be daunting, but remote work can take your business to new heights if done correctly. You need to invest your efforts into smart strategic planning and the right technology to boost performance.

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Virtual Assistants

Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant in the Philippines?

A wide variety of businesses all over the world have hired at least one virtual assistant in the Philippines. This is because Filipinos have proven to be A-players in the freelance world. 

Hiring a virtual assistant in the Philippines is Connor and Nathan’s go-to when they need tasks done for Outsource School. In fact, it has been this way for all of their businesses going back to when they got started back in college. They discovered that hiring a virtual assistant in the Philippines was the best course of action because Filipinos are great for a remote team. 

Here are the reasons why they choose Filipinos, and why we think you should, too!

(1) English Skills 

A virtual assistant in the Philippines has a high probability of understanding English and using the language well. The accent is also quite clean in comparison to other countries because most if not all Filipinos speak more than one language, so they’re used to new languages and can adapt very easily. English is also a native language to many Filipinos. Most Filipinos grow up around people who use English, consuming English media, and using English in school with English language textbooks and other materials. They move on to using English at work in a country that uses English as the language of the courts and government. 

English is everywhere in the Philippines, and actually, English is used more in an official capacity than any other language or dialect. To illustrate, if you walk around in the Philippines, you’ll see notices and signs written in English, read property listings written in English, and hear radio personalities speaking in English. The country also has robust local literature in English, possibly more than literature written in all other languages combined.

(2) Understanding of US Culture 

Aside from direct language difficulty, misunderstandings occur primarily out of cultural differences. The Philippines has experienced long exposure to outside cultures, particularly American. Because of this, Filipinos have a good understanding of US culture in particular. This makes it very easy to communicate with and build rapport with a virtual assistant in the Philippines. As a result, you have less of a chance of running into communication barriers that arise out of cultural differences.

(3) BPO Industry 

BPOs, or Business Process Outsourcing companies choose the Philippines as one of the top countries in the world to put up call centers. This is mainly because of the overall English language proficiency in the country. They also love the Philippines because the people are so easy to get along with and work with.

The IT-BPO industry is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing in the country. The Philippines hosts knowledge process outsourcing and back offices, animation centers, call centers, software development centers, game development centers, engineering design centers, and medical transcription centers. Many Filipinos have experienced working in the IT-BPO sector, and this adds to their skill level in terms of working for foreign companies and working and communicating with other nationalities, and all that this entails.

(4) People-Focused Culture 

Filipinos have a strong focus on personal relationships. This is an integral part of their culture. Building and maintaining good relationships with others is very important. This means that a virtual assistant in the Philippines will take care of relationships with clients and coworkers. You don’t have to try and teach them how to be understanding and kind and respectful to others, or how to avoid conflict and focus on resolution instead.

This also means that Filipinos are very accommodating to outside cultures. They will actually make added effort to understand and blend in, which is not a common trait of most other cultures. If you have people from other cultures on the team, the Filipinos will be the first ones to want to learn about them and make future hires feel welcome.

Out of that, you also get an adaptability that applies directly to the work environment. Filipinos know how to adapt, and do it willingly, too. Plus, because of the growth of the IT-BPO industry and freelancing in the country, most are used to working strange hours. Different time zones are not an issue for most Filipinos. It’s even safe to say that half the country works night shifts, if not more as a result of the boom in overseas freelance work opportunities.

(5) Adaptable and Flexible

You could say that flexibility is in the Filipino’s DNA. You will often hear a virtual assistant in the Philippines say “Yes” to almost any work demand and do their best to execute their assignments efficiently. Of course, you need to sometimes look beyond this enthusiasm and be careful to make sure that they are actually prepared to do the work. This eagerness to please can lead to early burnout if you don’t provide support in terms of giving them the important details that they need to do what you ask. One great thing about this attitude is that a virtual assistant in the Philippines will usually have no problem studying and learning new skills to do tasks better.

When a virtual assistant in the Philippines loses power or internet connection, they won’t just give up. Most people might simply sit around and wait for it to come back, or say that they don’t have a choice and that the people who rely on them will just have to be more understanding. The Filipino takes commitment seriously, and you will find many in nearby internet cafes, coffee shops, business centers, coworking spaces, or wherever they can get internet service so they can keep working. 

(6) Hard Workers 

Filipinos have a reputation worldwide for being hard workers, and this truth has been proven in Nathan and Connor’s experience. Sources like OFW Update reflect the same thoughts on the hardworking nature of the Filipino. Filipinos are also industrious, so they are easily motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty when treated well. A paycheck is not the main focus of a Filipino, so they don’t just do tasks for the sake of getting them done. Quality output is important to them, and this is a rare trait that that is key to growing any business and that you can’t train any hire to acquire.

Filipinos are also resilient, as Gallup International points out. They will always find ways to adjust to be able to deliver on expectations to satisfy clients. Just make sure that you reward this with appreciation and bonuses so you don’t wear them out! This resilience also means that a virtual assistant in the Philippines does not run away from difficult situations. You will often find virtual assistant in the Philippines continuing to work by whatever means are available despite natural calamities raging outside.

(7) Value Family 

If family is one of your core business values, then a virtual assistant in the Philippines is a great choice for your business. Family is valued above all in the Filipino culture. The majority of Filipinos are family-oriented, so they will fit into a family-oriented business model very quickly and snugly. Moreover, family values like relationship and cooperation and collaboration come naturally to the Filipino. They are always helping each other to learn and grow, always calling each other brother and sister and auntie and uncle even when they aren’t related. This stems out of their deep respect for elders and those who have more experience to share.

(8) Optimistic and Enthusiastic

The Philippines has a long history of invasion and colonization and natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons and floods. This could have caused them to become a morose people, but instead, the Filipino has chosen to build a more positive outlook to deal with difficult circumstances. When you hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines, you will quickly notice how they have developed a knack for staying optimistic and enthusiastic when faced with challenges. You definitely want a team of people who are looking on the brighter side of things instead of grumbling all the time.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for someone who has good English skills, the ability to pivot and adapt, a great work ethic, outsourcing experience, family values, a great attitude, and a general love of people, then you should hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines.

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

When Is the Right Time to Delegate Work to Others?

Many business owners wonder when the right time is to delegate work. The choice to delegate is even often easier to make than choosing when to start letting go. The problem is that many contradicting pieces of advice exist out there. So, most business owners don’t know what words of advice to follow.

In this article, we’re going to lay out what has worked for us here at Outsource School. We’ll highlight the top times when it’s a clear sign that you should start delegating. This comes from the common problems that business owners run into when trying to do everything themselves. Then we’ll provide some simple tips for how to start delegating. 

When to Delegate Work

The simplest answer for this is to delegate work when you need to. That’s where it gets tricky because your needs are different from others’ needs. We do have a few solid markers, however, for when anyone should delegate work.

1.  Time Crunch

When you find yourself working close to 40 hours a week, you should start thinking about delegating some tasks. Most business owners wait until they are working more than 40 hours a week, and that actually makes delegating work much more difficult. You need time to delegate work properly, starting with the right hiring process all the way up to onboarding and monitoring hires. Plus, you probably did not choose to own a business over being an employee so that you could have less freedom, right?

So, when you feel like you are hitting the 30-hour mark, start thinking about what tasks you will want to pass off in the coming months. In the next section on how to Delegate Work Smoothly, we have some tips for you on how to choose the first tasks to delegate.

2.  Mundane Tasks

When you find yourself working in your business instead of on it, that’s a sure sign that you need to delegate work. Basically, you should delegate work that eats up your time and does not make the best use of your talents and skills. We all know that you can do these tasks, but that’s not the point. You need to delegate work that’s not at your level so that you can start taking on tasks that really need your expertise. This is the only way that you can grow your business instead of getting stuck in the hamster wheel.

If you are feeling like your business is running you, it is very likely because you are doing mundane tasks. Sit down and think about all the things you are doing that are not really tasks for someone in your position as the leader of your company.

3.  Letting Go

This might seem a bit strange, but it’s true that you can only effectively delegate work once you’ve learned to let go. You need to let go of control in your business to the degree that it will allow you to delegate work without turning into a micromanager. This is absolutely key if you want to delegate work to free up your time and reduce stress. You simply can’t delegate work if you are always running through scenarios in your mind that make you wonder about all the things that could possibly go wrong. 

We recommend that every business owner put some time and effort into exercises that will help you do this. Having outsourcing and hiring guidance is super helpful in this process. With guidelines to follow, it becomes less scary to actually start passing off work because you know how to pick the right people to get the job done well.

Delegate Work Smoothly

Now you’re ready to avoid the mistake of trying to do everything in your business yourself. And you’re ready to pick up a strategic approach to hiring so you can begin to delegate work successfully. Here are our top tips for how you can start to delegate work without running into issues.

Review Tasks to Delegate

The first tasks that you should think about delegating are all the small things that always seem to get in the way. These are little tasks that don’t really take up much time on their own, but do add up. They could be scheduling meetings or booking appointments and flights, data entry or copy and paste work, and other administrative type tasks. These are also very simple tasks most of the time. Delegate work that falls into this category to an assistant. In most cases, you can hire virtually for these tasks. For additional tasks that must be handled in person, you can look into hiring a personal assistant or booking an errand service if it makes sense in your situation.

Next, you can delegate tasks that take up a lot of time, such as everyday repetitive tasks. These can be posting to social media channels, answering basic customer inquiries, and cleaning up your email inbox and keeping messages organized. Some tasks do need a certain level of special skills, but are not that difficult to manage. Just make sure that you are looking for someone who has those specific skills and you’ll be fine.

Finally, delegate tasks that you are not well suited for or simply shouldn’t be doing because you have owner-level tasks to get to. This is anything that requires specialization that you don’t have or that you don’t have time for. Website maintenance and updates, graphic design, copywriting and article writing are a few examples. Basically anything that does not require your specific expertise is a task that you should think about delegating. Think about tasks that need to get done quickly, too, that would cause you to have to drop other important tasks. It’s better to delegate tasks that are time-sensitive instead of being forced to choose what gets done when everything is important.

Target A-Players

When you delegate work, much of your success comes from the people to whom you are delegating. You must find the right people for each task or group of tasks. This means that you need to approach delegation from a mindset that you are going to hire only the best. It doesn’t matter if you are passing off the most tedious and simple of tasks. You still want to hire only those who have great attitudes and professionalism. You are not going to get the help you need to free up your time and destress if your people are not taking the work seriously or not communicating their progress or just basically flaking out on you.

Prepare by writing down exactly what you need done, then the qualities that you want the perfect person for this job to have. You also want to give special attention to what qualities are a good fit for your company culture, or at least the way that you personally work. Then reiterate all of that by explaining the responsibilities that the right candidate will have. Then you can start sharing this job description to attract A-players.

Use the IOTM Method

You need to follow a proven system for Interviewing, Onboarding, Training and Managing hires. Hiring the best is more than just attracting people who like your job post or think that they qualify. 

You have to confirm if each candidate is right for the job by being intentional in your interview process. The interview is also where you set expectations to see if candidates are really prepared to work with you, and better yet, excited to be a part of your business. This is how you identify the best applicant and make sure that there are no loose ends before you make the hire. 

When you onboard, you need to have a system that you follow to take the new hire through everything that they need to know about working in their new position. This includes your company culture, the people they will be working alongside, and getting on the same page about the specifics of what you expect from them in their new role.

No matter what role you are hiring for, you must expect to provide some level of training. The key is to hire in a strategic manner so that you will not have to provide a lot of training. But, you can never just hire someone and send them off to work. Your business is unique, and some guidance is always required if you want that person to work effectively and be happy staying with you.

Managing is an important part of delegating work. The way you maintain work relationships with hires makes a big impact on how productive they are over the long term. It also spells the difference between facing high turnover and developing loyalty among team members.

If you’re not an Outsource School member yet, it’s time to get on board! We will give you what you need to hire smoothly and avoid the common hiring mistakes that cost you time, money, and turnover headaches.

Build Trust

Trust is so important, whether you are hiring for short-term projects or long-term positions. It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to develop trust, and it doesn’t actually take a lot of time, either. All you need is to understand how valuable trust is to see that building it is one of the greatest investments you can ever make for your business.

Simply put, you can develop trust with hires by being trustworthy yourself, and by reassuring hires that they are valued members of the team. Even if you’re outsourcing, you can make ways to connect with hires and build a remote company culture that fosters mutual accountability and builds relationships. Even just the effort itself to touch base with hires and set aside time for them goes a long way.

Final Thoughts

The right time for you to delegate work can be very different from the right time for someone else. These three basic markers are universal, however — time availability, task types, and readiness. They are a good place for anyone to start evaluating whether or not it is indeed time to delegate work. 

Generally speaking, we actually believe that if you are even here reading about delegating tasks, then that’s something to think about. It can already indicate that you are ready to delegate work, at least on some level. If you are feeling something that you think passing off tasks may help with, we invite you to look into it and figure out what’s at the root of it all. You will likely find that it actually boils down to an issue of either time or talent!

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

How Outsource School Helps You Save $5,000+ Per Year

Outsource School helps business owners save thousands of dollars every year. The premise is avoiding the cost of a bad hire. Here are the facts:

When a business makes a bad hire or faces turnover, it can expect to lose at least 30% of that hire’s salary for the first year of their employment. Even when hiring an entry-level virtual assistant at $5 per hour, that comes to over $3,000. 

If you have been hiring for a while, you have probably experienced either turnover or making a bad hire — and probably both. If you have experienced this with 5 people in the same year, then your losses are estimated at $15,600. And that’s only counting this one factor. Additional financial costs must be counted, like how much money was spent throughout the hiring process, including interviewing, onboarding, and training each person. The opportunity cost involved in replacing a bad hire must also be considered. 

Then you need to think about the probability of running into turnover and/or making another bad hire when you replace the people who have left or were fired. If you’re using the same hiring process again, the likelihood is high.

Our top priority is to eliminate waste in the hiring process. So, here’s how Outsource School helps you to avoid the costly effects of common hiring mistakes that lead to bad hires and high turnover. 

(1) A Proven Hiring System 

Outsource School helps business owners become outsourcing and hiring experts. You can learn through their proven hiring system how to find and hire the right person the first time around. This way, you won’t have to worry about the problem of wasted money, time, and other resources. Outsource School offers their unique hiring method to business owners, called the IOTM Method. This system works for any business, and you can start implementing it immediately.

(2) Fast to Implement Playbooks for Hiring Different Positions 

Outsource School has 20 playbooks to date that members can access. These playbooks help them to make good hires for specific roles within their businesses. They fall under management, administrative, marketing, design and development, sales, and finance. New playbooks are released every month to show business owners exactly how to hire and outsource for a specific skill.

(3) A Private Community Where You Can Get All of Your Questions Answered 

Outsource School helps business owners connect with other business owners who have encountered similar hiring issues. Together, these business owners can learn and implement solutions faster and more effectively. 

Outsource School offers support through the platform, but a strong community is always a valuable resource. If you run into any problems and are not sure what solutions to use or how to implement them, Outsource School and the community are available to help you get through faster and more safely.

In the private Facebook group, Outsource School does weekly live coaching calls for all members. These calls are open calls where the Outsource School team takes questions on anything outsourcing. The calls stay up in the group, too, so members can go back and listen to any calls that they may have missed.

The best thing about the Outsource School group is that Nathan and Connor themselves maintain a strong presence in the group. They regularly do live Q&A calls, answer questions in the comments, and encourage active members. That’s free access to the experts themselves without having to schedule anything on their calendars.

(4) SimplySOP for Creating and Sharing SOPs 

Outsource School helps a lot of business owners with the SimplySOP subscription itself. SimplySOP is bundled into the Outsource School package, so full members get this basically for free. 

SimplySOP is a proprietary software that is valued at $497. It helps business owners to create their own SOPs based on a templated formula that has served Nathan and Connor for years. Currently, members also have access to several different SOPs in the private SOP library that have been uploaded to serve as examples and/or templates. There are also various trainings to help you make the best use of the program and churn out effective SOPs for their businesses.

(5) Ongoing Releases of New Trainings and SOPs. 

Cracking the VA Code is an awesome mini-course that helps business owners to learn the exact hiring system that the owner-founders of Outsource School have used to hire hundreds of virtual assistants and freelancers. This mini-course contains everything that you need to master interviewing, onboarding, training, and managing. It even has templates for interview questions, cheat sheets, training methods, screen shares, meeting agendas, and much more! On top of all that, it only takes about 5 hours to complete the entire mini-course.

Final Thoughts

Outsource School helps business owners save thousands of dollars every year. With expert training, templates, guides, software, and community, you get a great deal. But that’s not all there is to the Outsource School program. You also get a rate sheet that shows you common rates for different roles, access to 50 pre-made Job Post Templates that you can post straight to online marketplaces after simply changing out a few details, and more!

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

9 Common Hiring Mistakes Costing Time and Money

Are you making any of these 9 common hiring mistakes? If you are, it’s very likely costing you lots of time and money! This means both hard costs — actual money out — and opportunity costs. Plus, not only can common hiring mistakes bleed you of these two valuable resources, but they can also hurt your company growth. 

Your company leadership team is responsible for the vitally important function of selecting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, training, and integrating talent into your business. If you’re a small business, this likely means that the job falls to the business owner.

It’s time to evaluate your business’s hiring practices so you can stop making these common hiring mistakes. So, here are the 9 common hiring mistakes that you should make sure you are not making in your business.

(1)  Not Creating a Detailed Job Post

Most companies make the mistake of getting openings out to the public too quickly. Sure, time is of the essence, but being careless about posting openings invites a lot of unqualified candidates. You may save a bit of time and money by just scribbling out whatever comes to mind at the moment that you put out your ad or fill out a form on a hiring marketplace. You will stand to lose a lot more, though, but not taking enough time to thoughtfully jot down a clear description of the exact person you are looking for to fill that role.

First of all, you must know and clearly list out the skills (both hard and soft) and the type and level of experience that the perfect candidate must have, the responsibilities that they must take on, and the deliverables that you expect. This will then guide you in crafting a recruitment strategy and interview flow that will help you avoid common hiring mistakes throughout the hiring process. 

(2)  Not Reviewing Target Skills and Experience

Many business owners skip the vital step of reviewing the information that candidates submit. This process can be tedious and time-consuming, so they just speed-read through the applications and end up looking more at how they are formatted. When you let appearances lead your decision-making process, you will miss the important information actually contained in the text, and in between the lines. 

Sometimes, business owners are keen on certain skills, experiences, and character traits. That’s a good thing, but it can be manipulated. Candidates can throw in these “buzzwords” to grab the attention of someone who is simply skimming through applications. Don’t be easily wowed by a candidate’s awesome experience only to learn later on that it is not relevant to your immediate needs. It can be hard to let go of someone you’ll definitely want to have on your team in ten years, based on your goals. But think — are you really prepared to sustain this person until you get there? And if you indeed maintain that same plotted path?

Only entertain candidates who have the sets of skills and types and level of experience that they need to do the exact work that you need them to do at this stage, right now. 

(3)  Not Checking for Other Commitments

In the world of employment, this means allowing candidates to look around for other opportunities while you interview them. In the world of freelancing, you can’t really expect candidates to sit around and wait for you to choose them. This is true in any scenario if you are hiring for a part-time position. You can, however, always ask candidates nicely if they can commit to holding off for a set number of days to give you — and them! — some time to see if it’s the right fit and make a decision. Most A-players will appreciate this, and then you’ll get the bonus of confirming that they have a good attitude and are therefore a good choice.

If you are doing hiring right, you will spend a lot of time and effort in the later stages of hiring. This is one of the common hiring mistakes that has smaller components. So, that said, you want to make sure that you are not investing in people who will turn around and take a different job at the drop of a hat. Early on in the hiring process, make sure that you confirm that each of the best candidates is indeed interested in the role that you are offering. Before you get to the interview stage, confirm that the final top choices are sure that they want to take the position. Ask them why as well. This will give you a lot of clues as to how much they want to join your company. If they give you any indication that they are playing the field, ask them about it straight out. Develop this habit of qualifying candidates throughout the hiring process so that you can reduce your chances of making common hiring mistakes.

(4)  Not Providing a Smooth Hiring Experience

The best applicants for any position are not desperate people. Forgetting this will get you to fall into this most slippery of common hiring mistakes. The best applicants know their worth and will not want to work with you if you are not presenting as a good opportunity. This might be a clunky application page, poor response times, or coming to an interview unprepared — yes, the best candidates can tell! 

Top talent evaluates clients and opportunities just as you evaluate them and their applications. They appreciate an experience that does not make them jump through unnecessary hoops or make them feel like they are not respected. It doesn’t take a lot to simplify the process so that you can show that you value candidates’ time and don’t want to leave them hanging.

(5)  Not Interviewing for Actual Experience

The easy way to prepare for interviews is to have pre-set questions that you ask every candidate. The problem with this is that your questions will be hypothetical. It’s really easy to answer hypothetical questions. Anyone can tell you exactly what you want to hear when you give them an imaginary scenario. What you want to know is what they actually did in a very real situation that they went through. 

Once again, spending less time preparing may seem to be a good use of time, but ends up putting you in a place where you are more likely to make a mistake.

(6)  Not Interviewing for Skill, Attitude, AND Culture Fit 

If you have not identified the handful of must-have skills for a position, then you will not be able to conduct a proper interview. You will end up just having a conversation instead of getting down to the specifics that will help you hone in on the perfect fit. This wastes a lot of time, energy, and money.

In terms of attitude, you must know what character traits you want within your workforce. Attitude bleeds into teams, so you want to make sure that you are targeting the traits that will have a positive impact on the whole. If you do not confirm that a candidate has the right attitude during the interview, then you are headed for a bad hire, regardless of their skills and experience. 

The pitfalls for culture are similar to what was said above about attitude. Your culture is a vital, living force for your business. You don’t want to make decisions that will turn it against your business because you did not cover culture fit during the interview process. Consider as well that an otherwise good candidate will not be able to perform well and be successful in the role you are hiring for if they are not a good culture fit. This imbalance will quickly turn a good candidate sour and hurt your business. 

Make sure you evaluate properly and make your final selection based on the handful of key, non-negotiable qualities that you have thoughtfully determined for the role. Don’t allow secondary or irrelevant concerns to take your attention away from these most important success factors.

(7)  After Hiring, Forgetting to Onboard 

Hiring someone is just the first step in their official experience with your company. Of all these 9 common hiring mistakes, onboarding is the one that most companies make knowingly. Most business owners just don’t see the value in designing and maintaining an actual system for bringing new hires onboard. They think that they can just wing it and that this works out better. In our experience, it most definitely does not.

When you fail to onboard new hires, you miss a vital opportunity to get them properly settled in. This means that the new hire will be uncomfortable as they start work, which leads to poor performance right off the bat. They are likely to be stressed, unhappy, and unable to perform at their normal level — forget about peak performance. Onboarding is an essential process that prepares any new hire to enter a new environment. No matter what kind of experience they have under their belts, your company is unique. They need guidance to fit in perfectly. When you onboard properly, you make sure that each new hire can hit the ground running.

(8)  Not Talking About Schedule 

Probably the most common of our 9 common hiring mistakes is not discussing work times. We could have covered schedules in the points on interviewing and onboarding, but we feel that this deserves its own special spot because it’s so common and so important.

Most business owners assume that hires will conform to their schedules, no matter what they are. This is because a lot of businesses still have a hangover from the olden days when everyone worked the 8 or 9 to 5 grind. Some business owners also expect hires to conform simply because they are the “boss” and hires must do whatever they say, no questions asked. Sure, you have the right to expect compliance and service because you’re paying for it. However, the attitude is what’s important here.

Before the interview and during onboarding, you need to confirm and reconfirm working times. Don’t assume anything, and don’t carry expectations that you have not laid out plainly. Especially when you are hiring overseas, you need to make it very clear what hours you need the person to work. If some of this is actually flexible, it’s better that you allow flexi-time. When you have identified the top candidates, consider what times this schedule means for them. You may be looking at someone who lives halfway across the world, for example. Are they available during those times? Will they be effective working those hours? You must be absolutely certain before you move ahead with a hire.

(9)  Not Setting Clear Expectations on Communication

This is another of the 9 most common hiring mistakes that merits its own place. It must be discussed and confirmed during the interview and during onboarding, but with special emphasis.

Communication is, as we have discovered in doing business for over a decade, one of the most important factors in ensuring good results from our teams. If you are not thinking about communication throughout the entire hiring process, you are missing a key element that can spell the difference between a good and a bad hire. Poor communication for us means automatic disqualification, regardless of skills, attitude, experience, or cultural fit. In fact, we have made it part of our non-negotiable soft skills, and it is a huge part of our culture.

When you don’t make good communication a priority, you are opening yourself up to a wide array of negative experiences that will cost you a bundle in terms of time and money.

Avoid Common Hiring Mistakes

Stop making common hiring mistakes so you can start making good hires. Valuable team members make good use of their time and yours, and bring more money into the company. Think of it this way: what you lose from a bad hire is easily what you gain each and every year when you make a good hire, and that’s just for starters. Every good hire grows, and as they grow, so does your business.

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

4 Ways Employee Turnover Ruins Business Growth

No matter how big or small your business is, employee turnover can be a major concern for you. You might have had to make cutbacks or have faced employee dissatisfaction. Whatever the reason for employee turnover, it can have a serious negative impact on your business if it keeps happening.

Employees are a vital part of any business. They form the backbone of its success. Sure, the core leadership is important, too, but your workforce — and how good it is — is what determines your business’s overall performance. Employee turnover has a direct impact, therefore, on management, sales, productivity, and the quality of service delivery.

Employee turnover can happen when hires leave voluntarily, retire, transfer, or are let go by the company. No matter what the various specific reasons might be, there are costs involved. Your business growth can be severely affected depending on how much employee turnover you experience, who is leaving and needs to be replaced, how much training they need before they can perform at the required level, and how long of an adjustment period they need to settle in. Because this affects your capacity to deliver the minimum required services, employee turnover is a highly important issue that needs special attention.

(1) Hurts Culture 

High employee turnover signals that you already have a problem with low morale in your workforce. This, in turn, affects engagement and productivity. These problems with employee turnover will just become worse as more people leave. Your business can suffer a continual loss of valuable knowledge and experience, and an eventual loss of confidence in the competence of the team as a whole. When this happens, your work culture suffers. And, when new team members come in, they find a company culture that doesn’t reflect a clear identity or demonstrate a clear collective purpose. This is because culture requires connection, relationship, trust, and commitment to a collective vision. Even if you had that before, you would have lost that by now because of employee turnover.

High employee turnover destroys high-performance culture. Hires feel less safe in this unstable team environment and stop trying to improve their performance. A growth mindset is like oxygen to an A-player, and they build momentum from a stable environment. Losing focus on care and learning and trying to drive hires by fear does not help. Support and respect is the key. Without growth opportunities and stability, people will often lose sight of why their contributions matter, and you will face increasing employee turnover. 

To be successful, a business needs to sustain a high-performance culture. This means balancing your efforts so that you can support building on experience, expertise, and performance gains. Then, you also need to manage fresh input to keep the company culture dynamic. 

A high-performance culture looks at growth first, which means that it’s an open culture that puts emphasis on learning. It feels safe and supportive, thereby reducing employee turnover. You not only need to create a high-performance culture and training environment in your business; you also have to manage well to encourage hires to stay with you longer and perform at the highest level over time. Wasting your investment in new hires by allowing them to leave when you can make small adjustments to keep them happy and valuable makes no sense. 

Remember that if no one enjoys starting work every day, they are not having any fun. Fun is not the main objective of work, but you can’t deny that happy people are healthier, which makes them better at collaborating, and more creative and productive. They also become great brand ambassadors because they talk about how great it is at your company. Maintaining a good work environment helps you to attract more valuable talent that won’t want to leave anytime soon.

(2) Wastes Money and (3) Wastes Time… and More Money

A hire who can bring high value over a long period is immensely valuable. This is because new hires can require years of investment to reach their full potential within your organization. (Of course, if you have an effective hiring process as well as great onboarding and management practices, your hires are more likely to hit the ground running and just keep going. You can also avoid the cost of a bad hire, thereby reducing the risk of high employee turnover overall.)

Hiring a replacement for someone who quit, retired, or was transferred or terminated can cost you up to 33 percent of that person’s annual salary. This includes:

  • Hiring costs, which is made up of costs like the fees you are paying to recruiters, online hiring marketplaces, or human resources advertising;
  • Interview expenses, such as travel (where applicable) and time spent checking references, interviewing, administering pre-employment tests, onboarding, and training; and,
  • Direct employment costs, including signing bonuses, relocation expenses, and new equipment.

Just the cost of training a new hire for a specific role can be high in itself. Consider what you spend on administrative processing, preparing training materials, and getting them enrolled to receive the required benefits. Consider as well that hiring from outside your organization can mean 18-20% more in salary than hiring from within the existing ranks. You may also have to pay for the former hire’s paid time off, plus the overtime pay that you will owe to the team members who need to pick up the slack while you’re looking for a replacement. 

It can take you about two to three months to replace a hire, not including the additional one or two months that it will take them to fully settle in and be highly productive within their role. In terms of losses during that period, this can cost you about 25% of what the previous hire was bringing in, for the next three months or so. That’s not chump change.

You should not ignore the additional costs that you suffer in the first two months or so. You and whoever takes on training have to invest time, which is taken away from work that brings in money. Plus, when you ask your best employees to take on additional tasks, they can burn out. They are likely already working at full capacity, and will get stressed about overtime and doing stuff that’s not part of their usual duties. If they are also being asked to show the new hire the ropes, this is yet another burden.

Then you have to spend more time with the rest of the team to make sure that they are dealing well with the exit of the former hire. Otherwise, employee turnover can seriously damage morale. This is especially true if the person had close relationships with other team members. You want to make sure that you are helping them cope and avoid any feelings of resentment that can lead to them to wonder if they should jet, too.

If you want to see just how much employee turnover is for you, try the Adecco or Bonusly calculator. It’s sobering!

(4) Experience and Productivity Losses

Several growth issues, some related to productivity, have already been discussed above. But I have to make special mention here of how employee turnover can hurt you specifically in the area of experience and productivity. Your business can suffer a great loss in terms of experienced employees being replaced by new hires and productivity falling due to gaps created by employee turnover.

First, you will suffer the loss of valuable knowledge and experience. I cannot say enough about how damaging it is to invest in growth and then lose it when experience walks out the door. This includes the loss of people who already know all of your policies and goals and how to perform in their individual roles to achieve these goals. Second, high employee turnover ruins the balance in the organization and causes performance to suffer all around. This is because you lose your performance advantages when continuing team development is interrupted. The loss is not limited to the person who left, but extends to everyone who is affected by that person no longer being around.

Employee turnover causes a business to lose their ability to ensure knowledge continuity. People become more valuable and more satisfied when they can grow in terms of their experience, expertise, and collaboration. When you lose this, it takes away your competitive edge, agility, and readiness for the future. It’s like a leak in your gas tank. You have to keep filling it because you keep losing it, and that costs you a lot over the long term, and can get increasingly costly as the hole gets bigger.

Every business must accept the losses incurred from retirement. But people who exit your company because they are retiring form maybe only about ten percent of the whole. If you look at your employee turnover statistics — which you really should be keeping an eye on! — you will probably find that more than half are resignations. This can go higher depending on how great of a workplace environment you have. And, depending on how great of a hiring, onboarding, training, and management process you maintain, about a third of employee turnover can be from the people you have to let go. 

If you are losing valuable knowledge, experience, and productivity from things that you can control, that’s a real eye-opener. You don’t have to pay ninety percent of this high price if you decide to do determined work on fixing your company culture and processes. 

Note that if you are a smaller company with fewer people, your losses can be significantly higher. This is because you probably have people taking on a variety of different roles, or at least several different tasks spread across different departments. This makes it especially difficult for you to replace one of these people when they leave. The widespread gaps then create a more serious problem. Again, much of this can be avoided with a better hiring process. In this case, you need to consider focusing on bringing more people in to do specialized work instead of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Employee Turnover Kills

These are just the four major ways that employee turnover can affect your business. And I did not even discuss all the specific cases and their various negative effects. For instance, there may be cases where you will face litigation or legal disputes. You need to assess the specific risks that your business faces so that you can properly prepare to handle employee turnover.

Start today by thinking about the pain points of your team members. Schedule time to meet with your existing team members so you can see what’s bothering them and what you can do to improve things. Make an effort to understand what affects them in terms of lack of recognition, conflicts with management, interpersonal issues, difficulty dealing with clients, and workload problems, to name a few. Then make it a point to do this regularly to keep things in tip top shape.

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

Categories
Virtual Assistants

The Real Cost of a Bad Hire and How to Avoid It With Ease

The cost of a bad hire can be a lot more than you expected. Entrepreneurs and business owners around the world routinely get hit with the cost of a bad hire and don’t even realize it. We’re here to tell you straight out that making a bad hire can cost you a lot of money and time.

According to the US Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can reach up to 30 percent of their salary. That’s right — 30 percent of what they earned with you in their first year of work. If you’re a startup and / or you’re bootstrapping, that’s a big hit right there. But that’s not the end of the costs that you can expect to shoulder. The Undercover Recruiter reports that the cost of a bad hire can include $240,000 in expenses, which is made up of costs that are related to hiring, pay, and retention — including turnover costs. If that wasn’t close enough a reality to get your attention, here’s a scary average to consider. We know from CareerBuilder that for 74 percent of companies, the cost of a bad hire will be $14,900 per head on average.

“The cost of a bad hire is always extensive” — Arte Nathan, founder of Las Vegas human resources advisory service The Arte of Motivation (quote credit:  SHRM)

Now you’re fully aware of what you could be losing by not paying attention to the hiring process. And we can give you the good news! We have five major tips for you right here to help you to avoid the cost of a bad hire. You can start applying these five tips in your business right now. Our promise is that the more you take action in these areas, the less at risk you will be of taking a hit from a bad hire.

(1) Targeted Hiring

Always approach hiring from the perspective that you are looking for specific qualities in every candidate. This means having a well thought out list of key elements. These key elements must be present in every single hire you bring on board at your company. This standard acts like one plate on a risk protection shield for your business. 

The main idea here is that you will never compromise on these elements. If you do, you are creating a hole in your risk protection shield, and risk will get in. The more you compromise, the bigger the hole will get, and the more risk will get through. 

At Outsource School, we focus on three main non-negotiable qualities overall. These are Skill, Attitude, and Culture. 

Skill refers to the level of skill that each candidate must have in the area that you are hiring for. For example, if you are hiring for a graphic design role, the candidate you want must have hard skills in the use of design software like Adobe or Canva — depending on what you need done and have the budget for. 

Attitude refers to the candidate’s outlook and other soft skills or personality traits that they need to exhibit. For example, for any role, the candidate you are looking for needs to be reliable, have integrity, and communicate at a high level. 

Culture refers to your company culture, which you will need to outline in each role description you post online. During the interview stage, you must describe your company culture in more detail and get initial agreement on it before proceeding to make the hire. 

You must have a targeted approach to hiring like what is outlined above to be able to avoid the high risks that exist when hiring for any role. These risks are not specific to hiring virtually, although outsourcing can pose additional risks because you are sourcing from a much larger pool and dealing with a range of cultural nuances that you may not be familiar with. This can make it difficult to spot red flags, but the more effort you put into applying this and the following tips, the higher your chances will be of paying the cost of a bad hire.

(2) Onboard All Hires

Hold an onboarding meeting with every person you hire, immediately after you hire them. Make sure that you do this, even if you are just hiring one person. Don’t wait for more people to get hired before conducting this meeting. It will be tempting to gather more participants because you will be thinking about saving time. This is a mistake. You might save a little time, but you will again be putting holes in your risk protection shield. Onboarding is another plate on this shield, and it’s thickness — its strength — depends on how thorough your onboarding process is.

You need to have an extremely detailed onboarding process prepared before you hire anyone. This process is where you will lay out all the specifics of working with you. This onboarding process must be ready so that every new hire can go through it right after they get hired and before they start work. 

Proper onboarding includes complete documentation on your company culture, and you must confirm that each hire agrees with it. Note that part of the onboarding process is going through expectations and the consequences of falling outside of expected behaviors and work output, etc. As such, you need to make it clear that agreeing to all of the content under the expectations portion of the process includes agreement to willingly submit to any disciplinary action described as pertaining to violations in the area of work performance and culture. 

(3) Train with SOPs

On top of the whole onboarding process, you need to develop a training process. You will need to spend a bit more time on this because part of it is role-specific. But on the whole, you need to make sure that it is organized based on a plan with specific goals in mind. Again, a targeted process is essential to avoid paying the cost of a bad hire down the line. The cost of investing in proper training is far less than risking hiring the wrong person.

Start with a plan for what you want every new hire to accomplish while working with you. Then create the first part of the training process. This part must be designed to meet the goals that you have set through teaching new hires how things work at your company. Introduce them to the general system and flow. For example, go through the organizational diagram with them so they can see who’s who and what’s what. This first part of the training process will be repeated for every new hire, regardless of their individual roles. 

Note that it can be confusing to decide what should be included in the onboarding versus the training. A good general rule to follow here is that onboarding is about them being a good fit for the company. In other words, they either are or they aren’t, right from the start. Training is about what you can help them with for them to become more comfortable and productive as they work. First, this is as a member of a larger team — the whole company. Then, this is within their specific roles within a smaller team that they will be collaborating with more closely and for most of their work time. 

Once they are oriented in these general areas, you can dive into the details of their area of focus. Have standard operating procedures (SOPs) prepared for each department and role. Make sure that all these SOPs are in place. You can’t just hand out SOPs and expect them to be followed if other people who have been working in your business for a while are not routinely applying them. SOPs are guidelines, and any new hire will need support from existing hires to get into the right rhythm of work with your business. Remember that this rhythm is different for every company, so no amount of work experience on their part is going to make them fit in perfectly from the get-go.

(4) Give Constant Feedback

You need to make sure that you set aside enough time to monitor new hires very closely. At Outsource School, we generally give them more attention over the first two to four weeks after they start working. This does not include onboarding and training time, especially if you’re giving them only two weeks. This refers to keeping an eye on them as they are doing the actual tasks that you hired them to do.

As you monitor their performance, take a bunch of notes so that you have specific examples on hand at all times. Schedule regular meetings with them, ideally at least once a week. If anything major pops up, you can always call them to an emergency meeting to straighten things out. During these meetings, the goal is to provide that new hire with as much feedback as you can on their performance over the past week. This means giving them both positive reinforcement and advice for how they can do better in the areas that need improvement. You must not give in to any temptation to just go for the jugular to save time. They need a pat on the back to improve their performance as much as they need guidance on what to change. 

(5) Address Red Flags Immediately

As mentioned above, if you notice any major issues with a new hire, you must deal with it immediately. Reach out to them without delay and set up a meeting. Do not let them go on, business as usual, without addressing that issue. Doing so can only make the situation worse because they will not only continue to make that mistake, but the bad behavior can become a habit and also spread to others. At the very least, seeing someone on the team violating the culture or the expectations that everyone holds dear is a real mood and motivation killer. You want to avoid that, since it is indeed another cost of a bad hire.

During that meeting, call the hire’s attention to the rule or guideline that they violated. Ask them again if they understand it. If yes, ask them to confirm that they agree to it. If they have not yet gotten the hint and started to explain themselves, you can prompt them to tell their side of the story by mentioning that you noticed a certain behavior or mistake in their work — whatever it is. Then ask them to give their thoughts on the situation. 

Most of the time, it will be a misunderstanding that you can resolve quickly and peaceably. Once you are on the same page, they can get back to work and you can continue to observe them, with a particular focus on that issue. 

Sometimes, however, this conversation will reveal a bigger underlying issue. For example, that hire may have just said that they agree to everything out of desperation so that you would hire them. They were not being honest, and that is a big deal. That cannot be tolerated if you want to build a strong company, so you will most likely have to let that person go immediately and get a replacement.

Final Thoughts

Note that you don’t have to do all of this yourself. You may have a partner or managers that handle different areas. If you do, then we strongly advise that you divvy up the work involved in setting up for and applying these five tips. By sharing the load, you can all remain productive in your own areas of work as you prepare to strengthen your company’s human resources muscles. It also makes for a great opportunity to exercise your collaboration muscles, too! The core will grow stronger through this process, and that’s always a good thing.

 

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

Categories
Virtual Assistants

4 Activities for a Thriving Remote Company Culture

Are you struggling to develop or adapt to a remote company culture? Establishing and nurturing a company culture can be difficult in and of itself. Often, when a business starts as fully remote or transitions to a remote workforce, it can be even more challenging. This is simply due to the nature of remote work, and how unfamiliar it is to a lot of business owners.

In this post, we’ll share four activities that you can engage in with your virtual hires to help you keep your remote company culture thriving. 

(1) Weekly All Hands Meetings 

At Outsource School, we start each week with an all hands meeting. This is not a meeting that is focused on remote company culture, but it supports the general atmosphere that we want to maintain. This is where we review goals and give company wide updates. The meeting doesn’t have to be a long one. The key is holding a regular meeting that everyone is required to attend. It keeps everyone connected and builds stronger working relationships. We do this over chat because it’s just easier to have the chat record to go over as needed, rather than doing a call and then having to prepare a separate repository for shared files.

Meeting with just the key people in your company might seem like a wise use of your time. It may save you up to an hour a week, but it can have lasting negative effects. When you schedule a weekly all hands meeting, you are building rapport and accountability, which eventually builds loyalty and high productivity. These are priceless elements that every business should strive to develop. The 30 minutes or one hour you spend every week nurturing the team is a wise investment.

Make sure that your all hands meeting is scheduled for the same day and time every week. This shows stability and encourages everyone to be responsible with their time — including you. That’s a key quality that every business wants to encourage as part of their remote company culture. When you are the first one to make the effort to keep appointments, you show everyone else how important integrity is within your company. It’s a small gesture that speaks volumes. Of course, if something unavoidable comes up, you can reschedule the meeting — just don’t make it a habit.

During your all hands meeting, always start by checking in to see that everyone is present. You want to show the team that when you say attendance is mandatory, you mean it. This establishes that your words mean something. The team will quickly learn that it’s not alright to disregard your instructions. That’s another vital aspect of any remote company culture. It’s too easy for someone to slip through the cracks when it isn’t likely that anyone will notice they are gone. Make sure that if anyone did not show up for the meeting, you know the reason why. Instruct the team leader or manager to make sure that they know who won’t make it, the reason why, and to volunteer this information upfront as soon as you do the attendance check. This reinforces the respective responsibilities of informing immediate superiors of absences and passing on that information to you. It also includes monitoring and understanding valid reasons for absences and making sure that work is covered, which you need to be assured of as the business owner.

Immediately following the attendance check, ask how everyone is doing. Encourage each team member to share, even if it’s just to say, “All good here.” Call them out by name if they don’t respond. This will encourage them to participate, especially where it counts the most. It also reinforces your care for them, showing them that you don’t care only about the work they produce but about them personally. Again, two very important aspects of a remote company culture that will thrive. Following each response, make the effort to engage a little with the team members. This regular interaction is vital to developing stronger connections with each team member. As you set the example, team members will also engage with each other to strengthen their relationships.

At Outsource School, we hold these weekly all hands meetings on Monday mornings. This is because it’s a great start to the week. After checking in, we dive into sharing work updates. You should start with your company wide updates. First, inspire the team with goals met and other wins from the past week. This keeps motivation high after the pleasant check-in banter as you move on to more serious topics. Then, share the goals that you are targeting for the current week. Tie them into the goals that you have set for the current quarter, too. This is so that you can keep everyone’s long-term focus set on the bigger picture. 

The managers can jump in here to share what they will be working on to support those goals. Again, this sets the tone for everyone else in terms of expectations on goal setting and accountability. Ask the team if they have any questions about the goals. You want to make sure that the direction for the week is completely clear. Finally, pass the baton over to the rest of the team members. You should have a general format for them to follow when sharing updates, which you exemplify. This keeps everyone focused and keeps the information easy to receive and understand. Lists are great for updates on the past week’s accomplishments and targets for the current week. At Outsource School, we also ask the team members to prepare questions, challenges, and solutions that they are facing within their roles. Stay focused as each one shares because you want to show appreciation for each contribution and motivate them to keep up the good work. You don’t want them getting the feeling that the meeting is just an empty requirement.

(2) Share Weekend Photos 

One way that we love to use at Outsource School to build rapport with hires is sharing weekend photos. It covers the goal of getting to know team members outside of their work responsibilities, and it’s really fun, too. This personal sharing activity is a perfect fit for our Monday meeting schedule. Not everyone has weekends off, of course, but most do, and most will engage in weekend activities anyway because that’s when family members and friends are available for rest and relaxation.

At the start of each week, ask everyone on the team to share photos of what they did over the weekend. If you’re not doing your all hands meeting on Monday mornings, you can always schedule this activity separately in your all hands group chat. We have also found that sharing photos creates a deeper personal connection among team members than just sharing stories or getting away with a simple response. It also saves time because, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Trust is of ultimate value when working with teams, and this rapport builder activity is golden. It’s a gentle way to encourage participation from new hires. You also get a chance to learn important things about them without being overtly intrusive (which does not yield positive results). It’s also a great way to stay up to date with what’s happening in the lives of long-term team members. Relationships need to be nurtured, so you need a regular activity like this to build and keep them. Relationship is also a prerequisite to trust, which you need to create a remote company culture that will thrive. Moreover, a vibrant remote company culture will work to build a team that functions effectively. You’ll see improvements in areas like communication, for example, as people grow comfortable with each other and develop mutual respect.

(3) Monthly Culture and Team Meetings 

This is a meeting where you will focus specifically on your remote company culture. This is an important opportunity for you to talk about the culture, reinforce your values, and remind people of your vision as a company. Keeping the team excited about the future goes a long way towards maintaining a high level of motivation and genuine investment in the company — as opposed to being invested simply in a weekly paycheck.

Your company mission, vision and values may not change much over time. Culture, however, is a living thing, a dynamic construct that can change constantly. If you want to maintain your remote company culture within certain boundaries, you need to work to preserve it. Behaviors in the group can influence your remote company culture, so that’s one big area that you need to keep an eye on. 

During your monthly culture meeting, make sure that you always have a culture check as a main point on the agenda. The main goal of this meeting is to regularly reinforce your remote work culture and clean out anything that threatens it. Some changes can be good, and you might want to incorporate them, but you need to be vigilant and critical so that you can ensure that nothing gets in that can have long-lasting negative effects.

Schedule a time once a month to hold a remote company culture meeting. Make it an event, not just another meeting. Yes, everyone should be expected to participate, but it’s more than just a requirement. At Outsource School, we create anticipation for each culture meeting by expressing genuine interest and excitement for the activity. We always make an effort to demonstrate that our culture is value-driven, and our team leaders and managers are with us on this. We also put a focus on hiring people who are all on the same page with us from the get-go. Everyone agrees and exemplifies the core values that make up our remote company culture and knows how important it is to uphold it. So, everyone sees the meeting as a positive exercise.

Prepare for these company culture meetings by outlining specific points that you want to review. This means that you need to have a list of culture points from the previous month. Start by celebrating people who have been awesome culture ambassadors for the company. This encourages them to keep reinforcing the remote company culture in their own conduct, thereby also encouraging others to do the same. Then go over any trouble spots that you have observed over the past month in the day-to-day of your business. Appoint the team leader and / or individual department managers to gather and compile the information so you are not spending too much time trying to monitor everyone. Then make sure that you understand each incident. You will need to know the key details of what’s going on so that you can identify which issues stem from misunderstandings about the culture, for example, or disagreement with it, versus blatant non-compliance rooted in arrogance or outright rebellion. Most issues will not be too bad. In any case, you will want to get wind of any potential ones early on so you can stop them from growing into major problems with huge negative effects.

Begin the monthly culture meeting as you would your all hands meeting. Reinforce your connection with the team through check-ins, then present the agenda. After this, introduce any new hires to the rest of the team and give them a few minutes to welcome them warmly. 

Before joining the monthly culture meeting, new hires need to be taken through your remote company culture documents step by step. This should ideally happen during their onboarding. This is so that they are familiar with the culture before they come to the meeting, and you have already confirmed that they have no questions or objections. This way, they can focus on the specific concerns at hand. (Note that if any new hire is not in complete agreement with the culture, it will be risky to keep them on.)

Finally, call the meeting to order so that everyone shifts into gear, ready to tackle the content. After you have gone over the points, don’t forget to ask if anyone has any questions. Patiently answer all concerns. Remote company culture is a delicate organism, so you don’t want to threaten it by making anyone feel like it’s just another set of rules that they need to follow. Culture is a choice, and you want to encourage everyone to love your remote work culture, not fear it.

(4) Monthly Happy Hour Video Calls 

This meeting is another way to support the culture and relationships, but with a focus on pure fun. It’s a time to play games and do other enjoyable activities together, have a drink, and get to know one another personally without any other agenda. This allows everyone to get together for the sole purpose of chilling and bonding. This is the one meeting that we prefer to host on a video calling app like Zoom. We don’t need any notes, we just need to enjoy each other’s company.

You can start holding a monthly happy hour immediately. The only preparation needed is deciding what games to play, and making sure that you can do them online without too much trouble. Note that the best team building activities are the ones designed to strengthen communication and cooperation, encourage efficiency, and support for team members. At Outsource School, we take turns hosting so that everyone gets a chance to pick the activity and be responsible for the event. 

We have found that a monthly happy hour is valuable team building time because it’s not connected to work. Having this break from work and spending the time together solidifies relationships and builds trust and loyalty in a different way than any other work-related activity. We all need to give some attention to the purely personal angle so we don’t fall into the trap of seeing everyone in terms of their value as workers.

Final Thoughts

Help your teams to develop the habit of focusing on a common purpose through these activities. You want to build a system where everyone can work within an edifying remote company culture framework. This enables team members to take pleasure in exercising their abilities. It also promotes accountability with positive instead of negative reinforcement. Make your remote company culture thrive by introducing these activities as soon as possible.

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!