Outsourcing is one practice that is widely used by businesses of today. It is done by hiring someone outside of the company to provide services to complete specific tasks. Businesses outsource so a third-party can create goods and perform jobs previously done by an in-house employee.
Companies, businesses, and even startup entrepreneurs outsource their virtual assistants because of the enormous help they bring for them. Virtual assistants are those who can perform and offer services in a remote location. These people are not required to report to the office, and you can even hire virtual assistants from all over the world.
To effectively hire the right people and manage them remotely, we have prepared 30 outsourcing tips you must consider, from the interview process to managing your virtual assistants.
1. Determine the Tasks to Outsource
The first thing you should do when you have finally decided is to determine the tasks that you will outsource. This can be done by providing yourself with a list of tasks that are vital for your operations. You can then rank these and decide which ones are the most important and call for the need for outsourcing.
2. Know the Traits to Look For and to Avoid
When outsourcing people outside of your business, you must look at their traits. Have a list of those you would want your VA to have and those that are less appealing for you and the company. When you have these on hand, match them to that of the prospects you are interviewing to narrow down your options.
3. Consider Outsourcing from the Philippines
In our experience, outsourcing from the Philippines is a move that worked best for us. Aside from their work ethics, the price you need to pay for VA’s from this country is relatively lower than when you hire from the U.S. Some of our best VA’s came from this country, and we can say that they have delivered beyond our expectations.
4. Know the Applicant’s Experience
When interviewing a potential virtual assistant, you must learn about their experience. This can either be within the same job as a virtual assistant or other experiences that they had before in their previous workplace. This will provide you with a brief idea of who they are and what they are at work.
5. Look into the Red Flags
Most people who are looking to hire often shrug off the red flags during the initial stage. This is because these red flags are only minimal concerns that can be addressed along the way. However, we suggest that you take these seriously and take note of them as soon as you notice them. You will never realize how much magnitude it can bring only until it is too late for you to make damage control.
6. Learn About their Attitude
Another tip when interviewing prospective applicants is to look into their attitude. This speaks more of who they are both personally and in the workplace. You will learn more about them and whether they are fit for your business or not upon checking on their traits and character as an individual.
7. Check on their Cultural Fit
You must hire people that match the culture of your organization. Going into the interview process, you should check on their cultural fit to know if they are suited for the job and whether or not their beliefs and outlook are similar to your organization.
8. Set Up a Good Working Schedule
Set up a good working schedule that will work best for all of your virtual assistants and as well as your business. You must build a perfect and seamless working schedule considering all of your VA’s so they can deliver their tasks on time while looking into unforeseen circumstances that may cause a delay.
9. Establish Backup Plans for Internet and Power Issues
Especially in the Philippines, where the internet connection is not that good, and power issues are often encountered, having a backup plan is crucial. You may need to consider hiring VA’s from the urban areas where these concerns are less likely to happen so you can avoid such problems from happening often. Nonetheless, these are unavoidable matters, and finding a way around it is not impossible.
10. Hold VA’s to their Word
You must hold your VA’s to their word so you can use it in situations that call for it. Set up agreements between them and remind them about these a few times when they forget about it and do not act accordingly. This way, you hold them accountable for their actions and remind them that they are liable for everything they do.
11. Learn Situations Upfront
Your VA’s might be going through personal matters that can affect their performance. As their employer, you must learn these situations upfront so you can understand them better. Reprimanding them might not be the best way to address their inability to provide the tasks that they are assigned to accomplish.
12. Set Up Communication Tactics
Set up ways of communicating with your people. When you handle and manage them remotely, it is crucial that you speak with them openly and through accessible means. Establish communication tactics like email, chat, and emergency channels for situations that call for it to be used.
13. Be Open to Feedback
Sometimes, the brightest ideas will come from your VA’s. This may surprise you, but it will bring you concepts and points of view that you have explored less before. These reasons combined make it crucial for you to be open to any feedback from your VA’s, whether it be good or bad.
14. Work Hard, Play Hard
We found it useful to build a fun environment in the workplace for our virtual assistants. You can show your VA’s excitement so they can also see another side of you. However, also show them how hard you work and how passionate you are about what you are doing to grasp your dedication to achieving your goals. This can also inspire them and eventually make them try to emulate your attitude towards work.
15. Set High Expectations
The higher the expectations you set for your VA’s, the more challenges they will feel. This will increase their motivation and even enable you to gain more respect from them as time passes by. Additionally, also have high expectations for yourself, so they can see that you are not taking things easy and that you are hustling equally than they do.
16. Build a Culture Surrounded by Family
Build a culture surrounded by family, especially if you hire VA’s from the Philippines. Filipinos have high regard for their families and value them a lot, making this working environment best for them. Establish a culture where everyone has each other’s backs in every circumstance.
17. Make Good SOPs
Not using SOPs will eat up a lot of your time. Thus. it is crucial that you create SOP’s that are comprehensive enough for your VA’s. If you integrate this, they will do things quicker and will save you a lot of time.
Doing this is quicker than needing to train each one individually. Give the SOP, orient your VA’s about it, and see how everything will be a whole lot easier for you and them as well.
18. Track and Improve
Learning and development in your employees are a continuous process. No virtual assistant remains static with their performance, so you must track them individually. This should work both ways, allowing them to improve as they progress and facilitating them if they slack off.
19. Take Screenshots
If there are steps that require added clarification, taking a screenshot will be necessary. Sending screenshots to your VA’s is useful in training them, especially that they are in a remote location. This will provide a more precise explanation of the things that you are trying to say.
20. Create a Video
Explaining how a specific task is done can be challenging, especially if you are not talking face to face with your employee. With virtual assistants, the best way to discuss the process with them is by creating a video. This way, you can walk them through the process and understand how particular tasks are done.
21. Find their Learning Style
To increase efficiency when training a newly hired VA, it will be best to learn what their learning style is. This can help you cut down to the chase and get straight to the point. As a result, you can save more time and make the training easier for both ends.
22. Make a Checklist
While videos and screenshots are useful in training your VA’s, it sometimes turns out not to be the most efficient way for them to get their tasks done. Making a checklist is the best way to go, so they can quickly go back and check on it whenever they search for a reference for the complete tasks expected from them.
23. Focus on Communication
No matter who your VA is and where they come from, focusing on communication is the most vital thing you must bear in mind. You must keep in touch with them during the entire duration of the training process. Doing so will enable you to quickly pinpoint problems, address their concerns, and give them feedback.
24. Lead by Example
The key to effectively manage your virtual assistants remotely is to lead by example. This is one of the best ways where one can be the most effective leader that they can be. You can do this by inspiring your VA’s in becoming the best version that they can be and push themselves to their fullest potentials.
25. Be Religious in Your Weekly Management
You must stay religious in managing the tasks of your organization weekly. Once you are organizing these and successfully delegate the tasks to your VA’s, you will be surprised by how easier things will be.
26. Make and Keep an Updated Job Description
Though organizations make a job description when looking for people to hire, they fail to update it as the qualifications for that particular job change. Keeping an updated job description for your VA’s is crucial as it provides both parties with a complete breakdown of the things that are expected for them to do.
27. Host Morning Meetings with your VA’s
Because you manage people from a remote location, you must ensure that they understand entirely what their tasks are for the day. This is why you should host daily meetings with them. Additionally, during this time, you can think of the tasks that you may delegate to them to free up your time to address other matters of the business.
28. Set Measurement Tools to Track Progress
It is challenging to keep track of your VA’s performance, especially that you cannot always check on them physically. Because of this, setting up measurement tools is vital to gauge their productivity. You will also be able to track those that are not entirely productive and those that spend the least amount of time so you can reorganize the tasks.
29. Integrate a Project Management System
Having a transparent project management system will keep the entire team on the same page despite the distance. Additionally, you can also check both their progress and that of the whole group without the hassle of continually sending an email to them to ask for updates.
30. Remain Emotionally Bonded
When we are working, we often forget that the people we interact with also have feelings and can also experience a full range of emotions. Especially for VA’s whom we do not get to work with physically, we expect to vent out our feelings towards them. Because they are not used to expressing their resentment, you will only be surprised when you wake up one day, and they are gone.
Remind yourself that these VA’s are only humans and that they also have their imperfections. Build a relationship with them so you can understand them better outside of who they are at work.
There are several factors you should consider when deciding to outsource tasks. These tips are a great way for you to get started and establish a remote working environment that will be best for your organization. If you want to learn more about effective hiring and remote management, Outsource School provides training to help you in the process.