Fact: If you cut corners you often get a lower than expected result. This statement EXACTLY applies when looking at an underperforming Virtual Assistant.
In reality it’s not the ‘Fault’ of the employer, they simply weren’t shown the steps you should follow to ensure your VA stays on track.
Today we discuss how you can take an underperforming VA and bring them back inline with the objective of your business.
Transcript of the video:
Hey, David Judge here and today I’m going to answer what you can do when you are dealing with an under performing Outsourcer (or VA) in your business and the best methods to performance manage that person.
What I’m talking about is from my own hands on experience combined with the experience of others that have approached me to help them to get their VA to perform.
There’s a really fine balance when you find a person that isn’t performing in your business in making the decision to either let that person go or to identify the steps to turn them around.
I do have to say while are times a VA should simply be ‘let go’ where a lot of times it’s a matter of seeing what you should change what you’re doing to get them to perform.
This is especially the case if you have a person that has been a part of your business for an extended period of time and you don’t want to have to retrain a new person to do the same tasks.
Reasons For an Underperforming VA
Ok so, There are a lot of reasons you may end up with an underperforming VA including:
- Family and/or personal issues
- They’re taking advantage of you
- You didn’t filter the person you employed
- They lack direction
- They don’t don’t understand the job
- You’re not communicating the tasks effectively
- You’re not keeping an eye on them
- They don’t understand the rules
I’m not sure if you’ve notice of the 8 areas I just mentioned 7 of them are as a result of the employer (and yes I mean 7 as if they’re taking advantage of you then you’re the one that is letting that happen).
Why You’re At Fault And What To Do About It
I can tell you now most employers of under performing VA’s think they have a crap VA (and this can certainly be the case) many times it’s because their employer simply doesn’t understand and follow the rules of outsourcing.
Anyway, I’m here to help so lets move on and talk about how you can handle an underperforming VA and how you can direct them to becoming a valuable part of your team. These are practical tips you can use to apply to your Outsourcer to get them to perform.
If you haven’t applied some of these it’s ok as now’s the it’s time to draw a line in the sand and to use today as a new day where you can turn it all around.
1. Figure Out What They’re Doing – Track their results
You may have heard before that I personally use Hubstaff as it lets me get snapshots of their screen, records their time and places it against a benchmark so you can see how well they are performing.
I do like this way of team monitoring and when you approach an existing team member that has been taking advantage of you normally do get resistance.
When this is the case I usually tell them this is a more accurate way of tracking the hours they’re working on projects, to understand how we can improve what they’re already doing and most importantly to pay them properly.
2. Make Sure They Understand The End Result
If a person is going to OWN their job, then they need to have a WHY. This is why you have employed them to do the job and the difference they are going to make in your business…
But what if they use that against me and try to get me to pay them more??? Well, I never share financials with my team (unless they are in that role) and if they are doing a good job then you should review and pay them more every year for a job well done. This will also help them to OWN their job and to give a damn about you.
3. Define The Rules
I like to do this at the beginning, but it’s never too late to lay down or advise your rules of business. I find the smaller simple things add up to a better performing VA and as a result I have a number of smaller conditions in place.
These include a set start time where each person says good morning, mentioning when they are going on a break, communicating regularly when I am interacting, answering me when I ask a question and many other small areas.
Any areas that may come into play here that stop the job from getting done should be established and agreed on.
This not only offers me piece of mind, it also gives a anchor point of reference to use if I need to performance management later.
4. Offer Feedback
Let your VA know when they did well and when they can improve on what they are doing.
It is really easy to get tied up on the day to day (yes, I’m guilty of that too) and keep putting it aside, but you should lock-in time each week (10 mins is enough) where you to communicate valuable feedback and insights.
5. Set Goals And Objectives
This is a REALLY important step and can be similar tasks each week, but they should be defined. The way I handle this is different depending if I’m managing the person within my business or managing VA’s for clients. Let’s go with if I’m managing them myself.
On Monday, we have a call that talks about what we’re going to get done that week and my team member records their tasks on a Google drive doc that I can see. This call would normally last 15-20 mins and we talk about the last weeks progress and cover off the tasks for this week. We also ask and answer each others questions at this time and then part ways.
We do still chat throughout the week but I can tell you that process of talking on the phone has made it soooo easy to gauge and understand each other and the tasks we need to get done. This leads really well onto number 6…
6. Communicate Using Their Best Method Of Communication
Personally I work best when I can TALK directly to my VA using voice communication (like Skype) and I have found this form of 2-way communication allows us to cover off so much in a very short time frame. When I also chat to each person and I assign a task, I ask them to repeat the task back to again to ensure they understand it best.
You cannot get this level of communication using email or type chat within such a short period of time and the reduces the risk of miscommunication which can take a task totally off track.
7. Get Someone Else To Follow Up And Manage Them
This is an optional extra and a service we offer each client, where we have a person that manages each VA and makes sure they are getting the tasks done in a timely fashion and within spec.
You do still need to talk to your VA to assign tasks, but the supervisor handles the ‘elbow grease’ so you can focus on your business.
Sure you don’t need a supervisor yet we have found it means you can maintain a friendly level of communication and reduce the stress when there are performance issues that need to be addressed.
Before we finish up I wanted to mention one last point… In many instances an underperforming VA can be turned around, especially if you look at implementing these 7 areas.
Rolling Out Change Gradually
It’s not always best to just dump the whole CHANGE on the team member at one time and more important to roll out the changes over time.
I would always start off with ‘Time Tracking’ and roll the rest out gradually over a few weeks.
Also, once you do roll them out you may need to make the decision to let them go, so you do need to be aware that you may need to replace them.
And actually, I have one more final point (that’s like 2 final points and how does that work???)
How To Handle An Outsourcer With Personal Issues
Anyway, you may also have a VA that is underperforming due to personal circumstances.
I constantly have and remind my team about my open door policy and encourage them to let me know if they have any challenges.
When I come up against these I like to talk it through and where possible cut them a little slack, but I do understand I am running a business and if I know they’re not going to be able to perform at the level required that I will have an issue… At times this will mean you will have to replace them, but I always ensure you work toward a solution first and then only use that as a last resort.
In the Next Video
Ok, big juicy subject today, so lets wrap up and talk about the next video.
In the next video we’re going to discuss – Specific Tasks You Can Get A VA to Perform in your business. This is really good timing as I have a little surprise that coming out with that video that will offer real value for you.
If you have a question you would like me to answer make sure you get in contact and I love to hear from you.
As always this is David Judge talking outsourcing and showing businesses how to work Smarter.