There are a lot of reasons that led you to pursuing a Virtual Assistant for your business. But, before you go ahead and hire a remote staff, ensure that you have a proper induction strategy in place.
Induction is an important area that you would not want to overlook when employing a Virtual Assistant. This ensures that someone you might never meet face-to-face will become an effective part of your team.
Here are some steps to take to ensure success for both employer and employee:
1. Prepare Beforehand
To ensure seamless and professional start to your working relationship with your Virtual Assistant, make sure that you prepared their accesses to your systems, and that their tools for communication are up and running before your first meeting. In the first few days, you may set a program of what you want to get through in to keep the process on track and avoid any crucial information being left out.
2. Set Terms and Expectations Clearly
Aside from having a formal written contract with your Virtual Assistant, it is always a good idea to recap and confirm working arrangements in terms of set days and hours in your first meeting. If your Virtual Assistant is working from home, make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to childcare arrangements, if applicable, and go over the procedures for it they are sick or there is an emergency.
Also, do not forget to provide your preferences in communication in your first meeting, and find out what works best for both parties. Some people respond immediately to emails while for others Skype might be the preferred way to make quick contact.
Because your employee isn’t going to be in the office, you can’t physically look at each other to see if “now is a good time to go over something” so discuss a procedure for impromptu contact and make a plan for daily or weekly catch-ups.
3. Introducing your Company
During the induction, discuss the nature of your business to your Virtual Assistant. This will provide a sense of “who we are” as a business. You may talk about the values of our organisation, background information on your target markets, typical clients, culture, and members of the team. However, while you want your new Virtual Assistant to be well-informed about your company, be careful not to overwhelm them with too much information. Make sure that you’re only providing relevant information.
4. Discuss Performance Review
An employee who knows exactly what’s expected of them has a much better chance of being able to meet their employer’s needs.
The induction process is the perfect time to cover how and when you will review performance. It lets your Virtual Assistant know that just because they are out of sight doesn’t mean they are out of mind. You may ask what their interests are, and what they are hoping to achieve in the role.
5. Be Resourceful in Creating a “Real” Induction Experience
However challenging, a virtual induction can work through utilising different available resources. Since there is no opportunity for your new Virtual Assistant to buddy up with co-workers or sit down for a coffee with their new manager, it can get boring quickly. To make the experience more stimulating, try to use different medium. You may share YouTube videos on how to do things, and suggest industry e-newsletters for your team member sign up to. Encourage your Virtual Assistant to take notes during discussions so they can refer back to this information in the future.
Always remember, your Virtual Assistant is a real, live person. You would want to empower and value them to enable them to succeed within your business. Encourage questions and celebrate milestones no matter how small, especially in the first few weeks.