You’re all ready and hyped to make that big move for your business. You have a great Virtual assistant working for you for a month, and waiting for feedback on a new task. Then one day, you opened your email and got… NOTHING.
Your VA has disappeared.
Okay, why is this happening?
Look back before they disappeared. Did any of the following scenarios happen?
a. Your VA refuses to try a new method you recommended.
b. They send you a report, but skip on answering important questions you sent them.
c. They do the mundane tasks, but leave the big project untouched for a month.
d. They started a project, and halfway through finishing it, they made a mistake, and disappeared…
You can think of a million different theories why this happened. But the truth is your VA doesn’t trust you.
Whether you’re still in the process of hiring, or already working with a VA, one thing is for sure. You won’t be successful unless you’ve built mutual trust and respect. Online employment requires the same level of trust as on site employees. And you have to establish the foundation of that mutual trust even before you start working with a VA.
How do you do it? Below are different ways how you, as an employer, can utilize all the resources and information you have in order to forge strong working relationships with your Filipino virtual assistant. Do this and keep them from doing a disappearing act on you.
While Hiring Your Filipino Worker
Trust should be established as early as possible. This means you need to look trustworthy and credible. whether it’s the job post, the interview process or your email exchange.
1. Write a Great Job Post
- Don’t post a vague, incomplete and grammatically incorrect post.
- The Job Title and Job Descriptions should be clear and easy to understand.
- Give your applicants a chance to know you and your business. Include your company name and a brief description of what you do.
- Be clear about your terms. Do you have software or internet speed requirements? Do you prefer someone with previous job experience? Someone who can work in your timezone? Then make sure they’re in the description.
2. Follow the site guidelines and recommendations.
Trust goes both ways. We know that to give trust, you have to find someone trustworthy.
While it is very rare for us at Onlinejobs.ph to disallow things as long as they’re not spammy or illegal, we do have certain guidelines.
One of which is to avoid adding contact details in the job post. This is to ensure that only registered (and trustworthy) job seekers are able to apply for the post.
We do a lot to make sure that our registered job seekers are real and legitimate workers who have the skills and time to work for you. We have a verification system and our VA regularly goes through reports of scam employees in our system and ban them right away.
If you try to work your way around that you’re putting yourself at risk of:
- Receiving applications from scammers
- Putting your personal information online for everyone to phish.
If you put a job post on our site but get applications from people outside of OnlineJobs.ph, we can’t vouch for them or go after them if something bad happens.
3. Schedule an Interview Before Hiring
You’ve already exchanged several emails with prospective job seekers, and you think you found the right candidate. Is that enough? Possibly. But to start your working relationship right, find the time for a voice interview via skype or zoom.
While Filipinos are known to be shy, and there may be some slight resistance to it, it will undoubtedly build trust between the both of you. A voiced interview will allow you to get to know your applicant more. It also allows the job seeker to ask questions they won’t normally wouldn’t ask via email. Seeing each other or hearing each other makes both of you aware that there’s an actual person behind the email. Knowing that, there’s an understanding that this work relationship is something that needs to be taken seriously.
4. Tell them about the other Virtual Assistants/Employees that Worked For You
If you have other virtual assistants working for you, introduce them to your new VA. If you have a great relationship with your team, they can easily vouch for you.
Once Your Filipino VA Starts Working
After hiring your virtual assistant, it’s important to not lose their trust in the process. Earning their trust depends on how you treat them. This is very important because how you treat them (and how much they trust you) in the course of your working relationship will determine how long and how well your VA will work for you.
1. Tell them that they can’t disappear
Why do I need to tell them that they can’t disappear? Don’t they know it’s unprofessional?
Yes, they do. But they know that disappearing is the easy way out. By pointing out that you KNOW that they see it as an option, they’ll think twice about disappearing.
But what can they do if they can’t disappear on you? That’s where #2 comes in.
2. Don’t Assume Your VA Knows Everything
When assigning new tasks, never assume that they already know, or don’t know the task, especially if it’s NOT in their resume (or profile). And let them know that if they run against something they don’t know about, encourage them to ask YOU.
It’s safe to say that a developer knows how to code, but if you hired a virtual assistant who can do administrative tasks, you can’t just expect them to know email marketing.
On the other hand, it may also be possible they’ve had some experience, but not as much or not in the way that you expect (e.g. your VA knows Mailchimp but never used AWeber). Make the wrong move and you’ll either scare them or make them feel stupid. And you don’t want that to happen.
When you make your workers feel that way, they’ll just disappear because it makes them feel that they can’t talk to you about work. And if they can’t talk to you and tell you what they need to get the job done, how can they trust you?
3. Provide QUALITY Training
As a business owner, you already know what kind of tasks your VA is most likely to encounter in the future. Prepare them so they won’t be rattled by new or challenging tasks that come their way. This will encourage them to trust in your abilities as boss.
It’s also important to pace your training properly. Check your worker’s DISC scores, it’ll provide clues on the pace and intensity of training you can give them without affecting productivity.
Don’t hire a VA, give them a ton or work, then give them e-books, videos, and PowerPoint presentations for 2 months to study and expect them to learn all that in a week. You know it’s not effective, and you’ll only scare them away.
As much as possible, pace your training that would allow them to practice their skill as soon as they can with tasks that fit their skill level. Make it part of their task to study these materials to ensure that they stick to their training even if you’re not there.
4. Follow The “Sandwich Rule” When Giving Feedback
I believe in the sandwich rule when it comes to feedback.
Positive, negative, positive.
Tell them you appreciate the effort, but this point is wrong. Then you can go and point out some things that they did right too.
It motivates them to do better. It also shows them you trust them enough to correct things because you know they’ve done some things right. In return they’ll trust that you only want what’s best for them, making it easier for them to handle and respond to criticisms.
5. Pay on Time
Filipino Virtual Assistants work for the money. Yeah, they want to improve their skills, expand their career options, build a network, and advance their knowledge. But the biggest motivator for all the hard work is because they want to make money. Their service deserves decent wages paid on time. It’s hard to trust that your boss has your back if he can’t remember to pay you on time.
If you’re always paying your VA late, don’t be surprised if they suddenly leave you. If you’re the type to forget, ask them to send you invoices on their payday to serve as a reminder.
6. Be the Boss That YOU Want To Have
If you were working for someone else, what kind of boss would you want to have?
Do you want someone who berates you, or worse, fires you over the smallest mistake?
Do you want someone who makes impossible demands without giving you enough time or resources to finish a project?
Do you want a boss who makes you do tasks beyond your skill level but doesn’t give you the time or the training to finish it?
I encounter a lot of employers who brag about how tough they are. They often tell me that I should hire slow and fire fast. That I should kick my worker to the curb if they make the smallest mistake. Whenever I hear someone talk like this, I ask them in return “If you’re such a great boss, would you want to work for YOU?”
Nine times out of ten, they’d tell me they would quit if they had a boss that acted the way they did.
If you don’t want to work for that kind of boss, what makes you think a Filipino would do the same? Sure, most of them need the money. But skilled and experienced workers have options. Chances are they WILL find someone who will pay them just as well and treat them a lot better.
7. Inform them if you go on vacation or when they won’t be able to reach you.
I know anyone with the least amount of sense would take the time to inform clients or workers when they’d be away on vacation or will be unreachable for some time. But you’d be surprised how often people forget to leave a simple reminder.
I admit I sometimes forget to tell my staff when I’ll be unreachable for a week because I’ll be on a conference or vacation. And on the times I do forget, I get bombarded by panicky emails from them asking where I am and why I haven’t replied to them.
I’m at that point that most of my business is run on autopilot but there are some decisions and projects that do need my input. Letting them know when they can’t reach me lets them know whether they should fast track or postpone these projects. We adapt, so I don’t have to worry about things not going on schedule.
This little thing shows them that I value their time. Yes, I’m the boss and I can take off whenever I want. But the courtesy of telling them when I’m not there lets them know that I respect the work that they do for me. I value the time they put in so I can have the time to do anything I want. And when you respect your workers and the work they do for you, you win their loyalty and trust.
Over a year of employment
1. Go visit them
If you can find the time, go visit your Filipino worker. Communicating with them daily either through email, chat or call does help build a relationship. But nothing cements a relationship better than meeting each other face to face. Because even though you know that these people you’re Skyping with are “real”, it never feels completely real until you’ve seen them in person.
I visited my guys a few years ago and the experience helped me understand a lot of things about them and our work relationship. I knew them in a professional capacity but spending time with them on vacation helped me understand them on the personal level. Since that trip I can honestly say that it’s now easier to communicate with them because I understand them better.
2. Give them a raise
If they’ve done good work consistently, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t give them a raise. Nothing raises morale and shows your appreciation better than a bit of extra cash.
And how does the extra cash earn their trust? A boss who can afford to give a raise means they have a booming business, which reassures your VA that he or she has a job for as long as you choose to work together.
3. Allow them to take on more responsibilities
Once you find a loyal and responsible employee, make him or her feel more involved in the business by giving them more responsibilities. Filipinos like to feel that they’re on a career path and giving them more responsibilities or a team to manage gives them just that. It gives your employees a sense of importance and it gives YOU more free time because you finally have someone to take on the job you used to do yourself.
Filipino VAs – A Trusted Investment That Grows
Once you find the perfect employee, that’s when you’ll finally be able to replace yourself and live the 4 hour work. So once you find that worker, treat them well. Train them but also give them the freedom to be creative and do more. Guide them to do better. Motivate them with praise and a good salary. And finally, treat them as you would treat any valued employee; respect them and value their work. Before you know it, you’ll have a worker that you can completely trust and trusts you just as much in return.
About John Jonas
John Jonas is a long-time outsourcing expert and the creator of OnlineJobs.ph.
Since 2005, John has taught hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs how to profitably delegate to VAs in the Philippines (and get their lives back in the process).
With help from his own VAs based in the Philippines, John has created an outsourcing empire that allows him to work 17 hours/week and to spend most of his time with his wife and 5 kids.
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