The Right Way to Onboard Your Virtual Assistant
Onboarding your virtual assistant is an important part of the process, and you don’t want to take this lightly. It sets the tone for the rest of your working relationship, and you want to make sure you get off to a good start. It’s easy to only think about your side of this relationship as you get started, but you want a VA who enjoys working with you and wants to see your business grow. To make this happen, you need to also think about their side of the experience and make sure it is a good one. I try to teach people to aim to be the “favorite client.” The favorite client always gets the best work and treatment. There are a few ways you can see success with a VA right away.
Share the passions that drive your business.
Your new VA needs a clear understanding of what your business stands for and the goals you have for it. Starting your onboarding by teaching them more about your business will give your VA an idea of what they are going to be a part of. Explain what sets you apart from the competition what your core values are.
Giving your VA this view into the business allows them to understand what you are working toward and really care about what they are doing. You don’t want a “box checker.” You want someone who cares so much about the business that they will go above and beyond to make sure at the end of the day everything is taken care of. If you just have the relationship of do this and check this box, they will never think more deeply about your work and catch things that you may have missed. You want them to be free to think about and support your business.
Take the time to train.
Yes, your VA likely knows how to do most of what you need, but that doesn’t mean they are a mind reader and know exactly how you want it done. A huge part of your VA’s development is the time you give them when they are first hired or when you add new tasks to their plate. Training can be challenging because you are not with them in the same room. You can’t point to the screen or show them as easily, but you can take advantage of different online tools. If you want something done the way you do it, take a video of you doing it and share your screen. Teach them exactly what you want done for your business.
What’s important is to create good processes before you hire a VA, so they have something to follow as they get started. I recommend starting by going through the processes with them to make sure they have a clear understanding, and then later being available for questions when they start going through the processes on their own. If you don’t have processes in place, start with this hire. Start writing down creating the videos of what needs done so any future hires can easily see the videos you have already created and you don’t have to do it again. Plan for a big future.
What should be in your processes?
Your processes should explain each task step by step and include screenshots and/or videos. Have all of this organized and documented so you can easily refer to them.
Your process should also include “what if” scenarios for certain issues that you already know about. For example, if they are refunding a customer, but it is through PayPal, they may need to process the refund in your CRM and in PayPal. It may be something that rarely comes up, but if it is not documented, your VA won’t know that anything different needs to be done.
Have regular calls.
You will need more than one training session, especially if you continue to offload tasks as your VA grows with your business. Setting up regular calls makes it easy to offload and show new tasks, check in on your VA, and gives them the opportunity to ask questions. It’s important for you to also offer feedback. If you notice something has been done incorrectly, make sure you let your VA know in a friendly way, and check to see if any processes need to be updated to avoid the mistake in the future. Having these regular check-ins and using a quick feedback loop allows for everyone to improve, and nothing just it there without being said that could cause you stress. Ask also for feedback on you. Is there something you could do to make it easier for you VA. Be open to their ideas.
Quick Tips for Onboarding
Provide processes & tools. Use a project management system or a process system to keep track of everything.
Your online business still has a work environment. Even though everyone is not in an office together, your team will still have a certain feel. As you hire, welcome each person to the team, and introduce them to everyone. Make sure you pay attention to the energy of your team.
Give your VA an idea of who you are. As part of their onboarding, tell your VA about your personal style, including how you communicate, how you work, and anything else that might help them get started working with you.
Push them to ask questions. Everyone has questions when getting started, but sometimes your VA is shy or just doesn’t know what questions need to be asked yet. Be proactive and continually ask your VA if they have any questions.
Are you ready to make this jump to hiring a virtual assistant?
My How to Hire A VA course teaches you step-by-step how to bring on your first VA and create a lasting working relationship.