April 10, 2024

HOW TO SMOOTHLY ONRAMP VIRTUAL ASSISTANT TO REACH FULL PRODUCTIVITY

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Been hearing a lot of stories about VA hires ending up in disasters and thought I’d share this –

90% of the time, it’s due to a poor onboarding process.

Finding and hiring a VA is easy.

Qualifying top 1% talent and developing them into high performing, self-managing rockstars is hard.

(Will cover hiring on another post, but let’s dive deep on onboarding for now).

More often than not, I see businesses having an onboarding process that looks like this…

1 – Hire a VA by themselves or through an agency

2 – Throw them a bundle of half-written SOPs and random loom videos

3 – Give them loose tasks to take care of without any specific instructions

4 – Get frustrated when they make mistakes or execute a task in a way that’s different from how things are usually done in the business.

5 – Proceed to spend hours micromanaging and training them through endless Slack messages.

6 – Give up and commit cardinal sin of the delegator: take back a low-value task for yourself because you can do it faster or better.

🚩 Not fun. 🚩

All that wasted time and effort can be mitigated with a proper onboarding process that looks like this –

1 – PREP

The efficacy of onboarding is determined by how clearly expectations and instructions are communicated on day one.

This is why we prepare onboarding playbooks BEFORE a VA is onboarded to the team. One that includes the following:

  • Introduction to the company (Mission, values, culture, offer, target market)
  • Role title and outcomes
  • Responsibilities and KPIs
  • Points of contact (who to find for what)
  • Overview of daily workflow
  • Overview of how to report daily progress and proof of work

This bulletproofs you from having to reset expectations, or having to worry about whether the new VA is using their time to do the work you’re paying them to do. (Hint: Emphasize and enforce daily reporting)

2 – CREATE FUTURE

Clients leave the moment they run out of future with you, same goes for VA teams.

Let them know what is expected of them by developing 14 day, 30 day, and 90 day milestones.

Also provide them the opportunity to ‘climb the ladder’ in your business over the long term per satisfactory performance (I.e. General VA → EA → Chief of Staff).

Note – Understand their long term career vision during the hiring process, don’t hire someone whose long term goals do not align with what you & your company can provide for them.

3 – PROVIDE ORIENTATION + ONRAMP TRAINING

Just because a VA has relevant experience doing similar tasks for previous companies, does not mean they will know exactly how to execute those tasks for your company’s specific standards, processes and outcomes.

The best way to get a VA into rhythm is to provide them with both MACRO and MICRO trainings.

MACRO – Principles, how to show up, daily reporting, communication standards, workflow overviews…etc.

MICRO – Tactical training and SOPs that document how specific tasks should be executed as part of each workflow. Starting with “level 1 tasks”.

Level 1 tasks are the most basic, repetitive tasks you want to assign to your VA at the start.

The right VAs will be self-motivated and want to start delivering for your company asap, but confusion and lack of clarity towards what does “job well done” look like will heavily compromise their ability to perform.

That said, having them start off by learning the SOPs for level 1 tasks and executing them right away is the best way to build momentum and confidence.

4 – EVALUATE PERFORMANCE

Again, VAs can’t read minds. Hence it is IMPERATIVE that you communicate your expectations and your definition of success.

Raise the bar for them, score them at least weekly during the first 2-3 weeks. Then onramp them on to more advanced tasks through progressive upskilling.

As with everything that’s worth having, it takes work to develop a VA.

But it’s well worth it, given how you’re able to save up 20+ hours per week, along with the energy & bandwidth that would otherwise be exhausted on tasks you don’t like doing or aren’t worth your time.

If you like to see more of these longer, practical posts, leave a comment below. Any other thoughts and feedback are also more than welcome.

Let’s delegate, intelligently.


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"80% of results come from 20% of causes.
A few things are important; most are not."
- Richard Koch