Virtual assistants are self-employed individuals providing administrative services online. Their popularity has increased substantially in the last decade. The benefits of hiring virtual assistants are substantially. Not only they are cost effective, but they also offer great flexibility and years of experience in their specific fields. Hiring virtual assistants has never been easier. There are several job boards and agencies providing recruitment solutions. Alternatively, if you don’t want to go through a third party, there are virtual assistant companies that you can approach directly without going through the “middle-man”.

But, hiring a virtual assistant it is only the first step. Once on board, you will have to train and manage your virtual assistants. So, we put together below a small list of best practices that can help:

• Document processes and create SOPs. It is important to document tasks and processes to not only increase accountability but also to have a guideline of how things should be done every time you hire a different virtual assistant.

• Train your virtual assistant on all aspects of your business. It is important for a virtual assistant to have an understanding of how your business works. Getting the onboarding right is an important piece of the puzzle that should not be neglected.

• Virtual assistants are human beings with feelings. As human beings, virtual assistant can make mistakes – be understanding and compassionate. Have at least one weekly catch – up with your virtual assistant to ensure you are both on the same page. Make the time to get to know them and show empathy.

• Virtual assistants should never stop learning. Instilling a Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement among your VAs will seek to add further value to your business while simultaneously motivating them to keep learning.

• Have a job description and keep updating it. Having a job description is an important step of the recruitment and onboarding processes – it will serve as a reference base for all the work that needs doing. It is equally important to keep the job description refreshed. Keep an eye on the tasks that should be added or removed on a regular basis. As you get to know your virtual assistant and vice-versa and as your business grows you will have to adjust the job requirements accordingly.

• Avoid micro-management. The point of hiring a virtual assistant is to give you more time to focus on other tasks. You will lose that if you insist on micromanaging. It is crucial to learn how to delegate by trusting your virtual assistant. Of course, trust takes time to build but it becomes easier to delegate as the relationship with your virtual assistant grows.

Final thoughts…
Hiring a virtual assistant is an important step for any business and a valuable part of any business. Used efficiently, a virtual assistant can increase your productivity substantially. By following these tips, you will ensure an open communication with your virtual assistant which is essential to the success of the relationship.