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What to do when the productivity of your Virtual Assistant is down?

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-3-14-08-pmIf you are experiencing a drop in the productivity of your outsourced virtual assistant, it is very disappointing and of course frustrating. Jobs that you expect are getting done are either not getting done or not getting done in a timely way.

If your outsourcing becomes ineffective there are a number of things you can do.

The first steps are to make sure you have a project management system in place and that all of your instructions are being communicated in written format. Many breakdowns occur when instructions are delivered verbally.

The second thing is to make sure each task is explained via video and if necessary as well, via written steps. Instruct your virtual assistant to watch the video and come back to you with questions before starting.

This avoids confusion and you are able to teach and communicate the fastest and most effective way to do the task. The added benefit of video instructions are that if the team member moves on, you can easily slot a new person in their place without too much repeated effort on your part.

If you don’t know how to do the task yourself, then problems may easily arise as far as setting key performance indicators and time expectations.

Tim Ferris from The 4 hour work week has an excellent podcast episode #181 called: How to Waste Money To Improve the Quality of Your Life. In this episode he shares that before he delegates anything he makes sure he understands how to do the job himself.

The third thing is to attach Key Performance indicators to each task.

For example, if the job is data mining, what you would communicate is “I would expect 30 entries per hour”.

If you have done all this and the job is not getting done, either fast enough or well enough then the next step is to have a conversation about your expectations. You will need to let your team member know that what they are delivering needs to be faster, or more accurate. Ask them what do they feel is holding back their productivity? Hopefully this will give you some clues as to effective next steps for improvement.

Often times a conversation about expectations will fix it, provided that the team member has the skill set needed for the job and is committed to staying employed.

If this does not help, the next thing to do is to set aside some time so that together you can go on screen share where you can see their screen and watch them doing the task.

This can be time consuming but it will reveal the break down. It could be that they are adding a step that is not required, or that their keyboard skills are not fast enough, or simply even with video instructions they have not really understood the gist of the job. But in any case this will help to get to the bottom of it.

Sometimes you may have gotten into sloppy habits of not checking time sheets and making sure there is enough work to keep the person busy and they have become too relaxed around deadlines and productivity.

You need to train your virtual assistant to check in with you if and when they have run out of work. Communicate that sitting around doing nothing is not acceptable.

As the business owner we are always responsible. If they are sitting around doing nothing due to you being too busy to check what they have done so far, or inability to set them an ongoing task that they can do as a backup, if you get too busy to check in on them, this is something that you will need to prepare. Sometimes the lack of human engagement is the reason. So interact with your virtual assistant at least once a week for a chit chat. Spend time building the relationship and getting to know them and their family.

Outsourced employees from the Philippines are generally very loyal and eager to please and do a great job. It is up to us as the business owner to assist our team members to assist us. By having them on board we should be making more money ultimately, and if this is not happening there is something wrong.

If you would like some advice about managing your virtual assistant please leave me a message below. If you would like more info register for my free webinar. Free Webinar.
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