Having a virtual assistant in the workplace is a luxury unheard of a few years back. Before the introduction of outsourcing, an employer could get stuck with his contracted workers. Replacing them with better qualified ones could take protracted negotiations and might even end up with labor-related law suits.
Fortunately, such situations seldom happen these days. With the glut of virtual assistants available in the internet, an employer can easily find qualified hands to tackle most tasks. This can be done minus the headaches of conventional hiring and firing to find the best VA most qualified for the job.
However, the ease of outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants carries with it certain “caveats”, mostly on the part of the employer. Although it is a breeze to hire a replacement for an ill-suited VA, losing a perfect one is just as easy. This is the downside of hiring an un-contracted worker. Having no legal hold on the outsourced worker, there is left with little option for you to keep a good one.
There may still be a slim chance left to you to hold on a good VA, and if done correctly, may keep the VA for a much longer time.
First of all, remember that although a VA is not a regular employee, you should accord him/her the same treatment as that of a regular employee in terms of human relationship. Try to build and maintain trust between you and the VA. Cultural differences, especially when the VA comes from another part of the globe, should be discussed at the start to avoid misunderstanding and miscommunications. Forcing each one’s cultural orientation on either party should be a red flag for a stormy relation in the future — looking for another one with an outlook more compatible with yours is a wiser option.
Consultative instead of reprimanding approach can be more effective in dealing with minor misdemeanors of a VA. This can prevent the building-up of unnecessary animosity that may affect the VA’s quality of work.
Although a set amount has been agreed upon regarding pay, adding a small incentive in terms of cash or small gifts in appreciation for task well-done will go a long way to strengthen the employer- employee relationship. Often times, mere words of appreciation like “thank you” will suffice.
Attending promptly to the small requests, especially when work-related, of the VA will impresses on him/her your concern. This boosts his/her feeling of being an important part of the project. The requests may include asking for better functioning office equipment, upgraded applications or programs that can improve production, re-scheduling of assignments to avoid multi-tasking, etc.
Be fair with your outsourced worker. Make sure you do not go beyond the contracted type of work and the time to do it. A dedicated VA often does not mind doing these “extras” on his/her own volition but do not let these be a source of dissatisfactions in your relations.
These tips may seem trivial but they are effective tools in keeping a good VA in your team. Also, they do not cost you much, if at all, to implement but the outcome can result to a lasting and satisfying relationship with your outsourced assistant.