You’re ready and excited to make that big move for your business. You have a great Virtual Assistant who has been working for you for a month and you’re waiting for feedback on a new task. You open your email and… NOTHING.
This scenario has many different variations. Perhaps…
Your VA refuses to try a new method you recommended.
They send you a report, but don’t answer a couple of important questions you asked them.
They’ve been doing the mundane tasks, but have left the big project untouched for a month now.
They started a project and halfway through, they made a mistake, and disappeared…
What’s going on? You might be able to think of a million different reasons these things are happening, but the underlying truth is, your VA doesn’t trust you.
Online employment requires the same level of trust as in the pre-Internet era, but without face-to-face daily interactions, trust is sometimes more difficult to establish. On top of that, there are cultural issues when working in the Philippines that you need to take into consideration as you work with your VAs.
Whether you’re in the hiring process or already working with a VA, one thing is certain. Hiring and working with your VA will be most successful when you take time to build mutual trust and respect. Today we’d like to share a couple of different ways you can forge strong working relationships with your Filipino Virtual Assistant to keep them from pulling a Houdini act on you.
While Hiring Your Filipino Worker
Trust should be established as early as possible. Every step you take in the hiring process can help establish your company’s credibility, whether it’s the job post, the interview process or your email exchange. If you can establish trust early on, you’re likely to be successful in finding and keeping a great Filipino VA.
Write a Great Job Post
As an employer, you meticulously check every profile and resume. Assume that the same is true of job seekers. Do your best to be specific, complete and grammatically correct in your post. After making certain your Job Title and Job Descriptions are accurate, make sure you fill in the pertinent information about the job requirements and your company. Add your company link, information about your services and how long you’ve been in business. Do you have software or internet speed requirements? Do you prefer someone with previous job experience, someone with a landline or who can work the graveyard shift? If so, make sure these things are in the job description.
Also, the Skills Required sections are there for a reason. Use them wisely. Check too many and it will look like you’re looking for a magician, check too few and your posting will look like a scam. Indicate the key skills you need for this job without going overboard and you’ll not only show that you’re a legitimate employer, you’ll also save yourself time sorting through applicants who don’t match your requirements.
Follow the site guidelines and recommendations.
Trust goes both ways. Before you can trust, you have to find someone trustworthy. While it is very rare for OnlineJobs.ph to disallow something as long as it’s not spam or illegal, we do have certain recommendations, one of which is to avoid adding contact details in the job post. This ensures that only registered job seekers are able to apply. We go to great measures to ensure that all our registered job seekers are legitimate candidates with the skills and time to work for you. If you try to work around the system, not only will you get applications from scam job seekers, you’ll be putting your contacts online for anyone to phish. This may give the impression that you’re the type of employer who tries to work around the rules– a sure way to discourage honest employees from applying.
Schedule an Interview Before Hiring
You’ve already exchanged three emails with prospective job seekers, and you think you’ve found the right candidate. Are three emails enough? Possibly. But to start your working relationship right, find the time for a voice interview via phone or Skype.
While Filipinos are known to be shy, and there may be some slight resistance to it, it will undoubtedly build trust between both of you. A voice interview will allow you to get to know your applicant better, while allowing the job seeker to ask questions they might not ask via email. It also allows you to share what’s important for you and your company, like your values and core services. Apart from that, it’s the surest way to show them that you are a real employer willing to build a serious working relationship.
Refer them to other Virtual Assistants/Employees that Worked For You
If you have other Virtual Assistants working for you, ask them if you can share their contact information, possibly including email, Skype address or mobile number, with your new VA. Never underestimate the power of another Filipino VA vouching for you, especially if they’ve worked for you for years. There is no quicker way to build trust than through a fellow Filipino telling a job seeker that you are an honest and fair employer.
Once Your Filipino VA Starts Working
After hiring your Virtual Assistant, it’s important not to lose their trust in the rush of the work routine. Keeping their trust will depend on how you treat them. And how you treat them (and how much they trust you) will determine how long and how well your VA will work for you.
Don’t Assume Your VA Knows Everything
Assuming is the worst thing an employer of Filipinos can do. When assigning a new task, never assume they already know, or don’t know, how to do the task, especially if it’s NOT in their resume. It’s safe to say that a developer knows how to code, but if you hired a Virtual Assistant to do administrative tasks, you can’t assume they also know about email marketing. On the other hand, it may be possible they’ve had some experience with this new task, but not as much or not in the way you expect For example, your VA may know Mailchimp but might never have used AWeber. If you approach new tasks with the assumption that your VA already knows, or doesn’t’ know, how to do something, you’ll either scare them or make them feel stupid. When they feel that way, they’re likely to disappear because they’re afraid to talk to you about their new task. And in the Filipino mind, if they can’t talk to you , they can’t trust you.
In assigning new tasks, your first step should always be to ask if this is something they’ve done before, and if so, how they accomplished it. If they don’t know how to do it, provide training. If they do, check out how much they know and provide training only for what they don’t know. This will save you both time so you can be more productive, while helping to build a relationship of trust where you and your VA can communicate openly without fear or frustration.
Provide QUALITY Training
As the business owner, you know what kind of tasks your VA is likely to encounter in the future. It’s important to arm them with the knowledge they need to accomplish those tasks. Prepare them properly so they won’t be intimidated by new or challenging tasks. This encourages them to trust your abilities as their boss.
It’s also important to pace your training properly. Check your worker’s DISC scores. They provide clues as to the pace and intensity of training that will work best for your VA. Don’t hire a new VA and immediately give them several large tasks along with a few e-books, a collection of videos and Powerpoint presentations that could last 2 months and expect them to master it all in a week. As much as possible, pace your training to allow them to practice each new skill as soon as they’ve learned it with tasks that fit their skill level. Make it part of their task to study these materials on the clock.
If you can provide the training yourself, either through videos or live calls– even better! If they can see you or hear your voice often early in the relationship as you’re teaching them, it gives you an image of authority. They’ll trust that you know what you’re doing and you KNOW the job that they’ll be doing because you’re training them to do it.
Follow The “Sandwich Rule” When Giving Feedback
I believe in the sandwich rule when it comes to feedback. Always sandwich any negative feedback between two slices of positive feedback. For example, tell them you appreciate the effort and how hard they’ve worked. Point out something they got right, and let them know you’re pleased with that. Then point out something that could be improved or done differently, followed by another comment about something they did right.
This is a universal critique method that motivates people to do better. (Try it in your marriage, with your kids, and with the guy behind the counter when you’re asking for something out of the ordinary. It works!) This shows your VA that you trust them enough to correct things because you are pleased with what a great job they are already doing and makes it easier for them to respond positively to criticism.
Pay on Time
Filipino Virtual Assistants work for their money. They want to improve their skills, expand their career options, build their networks, and advance their knowledge, but honestly– just like the rest of us– the main reason for all their hard work is because they want to earn a paycheck. 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 frequently pay your VA late, don’t be surprised if they suddenly leave you and your business in the air. Excuses don’t carry nearly as much weight as money in the bank. If you’re the type to forget, ask them to send you invoices on their payday as a reminder.
Be the Boss That YOU Want To Have
If you were working for someone else, what kind of boss you would you want to have? Would you want to work for someone who berates you, or worse, fires you over the smallest mistake? Would you want someone who makes impossible demands without giving you enough time or resources to finish a project? Would 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?
Or, would you be happier– and willing to work harder– for a boss who praises your efforts, teaches you the skills you need to reach new heights, and gives reasonable deadlines?
I encounter a lot of employers who brag about how tough they are as bosses. They often tell me that I should hire slow and fire fast and that I should kick my worker to the curb if they make the smallest mistake. Whenever I hear someone talk like this, I have to ask, “Would you want to work for YOU?”
Nine times out of ten, they 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 does? Sure, most of them need the money. But skilled and experienced workers do have options. Chances are if you’re too harsh, they’ll find someone who will pay them just as well and treat them a lot better.
When working with Filipinos, as with anyone, you need to be the kind of boss that YOU would want to work for. Try to be patient and supportive as you give them room to grow and guide them through tough challenges. Be someone who inspires them to achieve beyond their own capabilities and you’ll win their loyalty.
Inform them if you go on vacation or when they won’t be able to reach you.
In your business, I’m betting you take time to inform your clients or coworkers when you’ll be on vacation or unable to be reached for some time. But you’d be surprised how often people forget to send similar reminders to their VAs. I admit I sometimes forget to tell my staff when I’ll be unreachable for a week because I’ll be at a conference or