One of the critical keys for small businesses to survive in their respective niches is productivity. Small business owners often ask us: Can small business owners do more than their competition? Even with limited resources and workers?
The answer is YES.
If you have a Filipino virtual assistant, you are one step closer to achieving it. Even better if you can ensure that your virtual assistant is productive most of the time.
Here are five proven best practices to maximize the productivity from your Filipino Virtual Assistants (VAs).
1. Understand the Basics
No, you do not have to be an expert in search engine optimization (SEO), graphic design, or coding. But if you’re outsourcing these tasks, it’s best to do your homework and familiarize yourself with the basics.
Doing your homework accomplishes multiple goals.
- Understanding the basics help you create a more effective job post when hiring
- It’s easier to give clear and detailed instructions when you understand the task
- It becomes clear to your VA what your expectations are. You’re less likely to get subpar work because you know what good work looks like.
2. Communicate Regularly
Yes, you have outsourced tasks to save you time. But that’s not the end of it. Regular communication and feedback make your VA accountable and keeps you updated on their progress. Make that daily email a part of their task. Or use a project management software. Either way, have something that makes it easy to keep a record of their work.
As much as possible, keep the tone friendly. Show interest when they talk about their work, interest in their families, and tidbits about your own daily life. That should open the door for them to trust you.
Keep track of your VA but avoid the temptation to micromanage. Micromanaging will take up too much of your time. It will erode your VAs’ confidence and initiative. And if you go too far, it could cause some resentment among your VAs.
3. Provide Stretch Objectives
You’ll get the maximum return on your investment (ROI) in your VAs if you allow them to grow. In management, that is called developing “stretch objectives.”
Filipino workers are just like American workers. They want to increase their expertise in order to become more marketable. They do not want to be doing boring, repetitive tasks all the time. And, they blossom when they realize their talents have been spotted and are being encouraged.
If they sense that:
- they are not growing,
- feel stuck doing the “same old, same old” routine, and
- not perceived as “high potential,”
they will lose motivation. You’ll start to see their productivity. They could start looking for other jobs out of boredom. And you’ll have to look for a new VA when they leave. This means you have to go through the time and expense of recruiting a replacement.
A typical stretch exercise is to give them an assignment with unknowns. It will force them to problem-solve in their own ways. An example would be for a SEO VA to analyze the high search engine rankings of one of your competitors and to create a campaign for you to exceed those.
4. Frame Feedback “Sandwich” style
In many disciplines, ranging from management to emotional therapy, constructive criticism is organized as a “sandwich.” The top layer contains positive information. The middle layer contains the recommendation for improving performance. The bottom layer contains positive information, including a great prognosis for the future. This configuration is so widely used because it is effective.
Here is an example:
(Top Layer) Joven, since we started working together, the rankings for this company on search engines have increased double digits. Thank you. You must feel proud of this accomplishment.
(Middle Layer) At the same time, our major competitor still has higher rankings in four major categories. That has not changed. Do you have any recommendations about how we can leap-frog that competitor? Two weeks ago I emailed you three articles on breakthrough SEO tactics. Yet, I have not seen them leveraged. Do you have questions about the approaches? How can we work together productively on beating that competitor?
(Bottom Layer) All of us here are so impressed by both your analytic and intuitive talents in SEO. It is rare for one worker to excel in both. Our company has been so fortunate to have found you. We know we will continue to achieve great results together.
5. Compensate Fairly and On-Time
The bottom line of working is that we do it to earn a living. Your VA is working to support their families and hopefully create a better life for their children.
Fair compensation, paid on-time, transmits the message that you want to help them achieve their personal goals. There is nothing to gain by striving to pay the lowest salary. In fact, it is a general best practice to pay a little above average. Reward excellent performance with a bonus and/or an increase in actual salary. And, never forget the 13th month payment.
As you can see, they’re essentially the same things that you do with your in-house team to improve their productivity. The only essential difference is that the Filipino workforce tends to be more sensitive to both praise and criticism than American employees. So you have to watch what you say and make sure you’re communicating effectively. Keep in mind the best practices listed above. With these tips, your VA will keep delivering their best work and your business will be doing much better because of it.
If you’re still looking for a Filipino virtual assistant, we can help you with that. Just go to OneVAAway and be guided on every step of the hiring process. You can also check out our case studies to find out how other entrepreneurs from different industries manage their virtual assistants.
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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