Finding virtual assistants (VAs) for your business is not an easy task. So once you find the right people, it is just as important to make sure that you keep them engaged and motivated.
VAs are just like the employees you work with within an office setup. They are team members who are driven by different motivating factors, want a sense of belongingness at work, aim for improvement, and need feedback and rewards.
All these may seem easy to do but can be extra challenging with a virtual setup. You don’t get to see each other and bond face to face. To build relationships with your VAs, you need to exert a bit more effort.
This article will share 8 tested and proven ways to build relationships with your virtual assistants to keep them engaged and motivated.
Let’s get started!
Miscommunication is one of the most common challenges faced by virtual teams. After all, it’s easier to exchange information when you can just walk a few steps to your colleague’s work desk and explain what you want or need.
But with remote teams, a lot of things can happen - sickness, emergencies at home, internet connection problems, malfunctioning computers, and electricity interruptions. These are understandable work disruptions, but the problem starts when VAs fail to communicate what’s going on.
To mitigate this problem, we strongly recommend that you set up at least three communication channels with your virtual team:
- Daily check-ins and check-outs
- Emergency communication methods
- Weekly all-hands meetings
Communication is the lifeblood of a remote organization. A business without a secure connection among its virtual assistants and freelancers will eventually result in it falling apart.
Strong communications systems will make a seamless exchange of feedback and ideas and help build stronger relationships within your team.
Having a strong relationship with your team is just as essential as the rest of your numerical business KPIs. Create an environment where you can exchange feedback, brainstorm as a team, and where your VAs can freely express themselves and share ideas.
In a remote setup, holding team activities can be a challenge. However, with the help of communication platforms such as Zoom and Slack, these are now easily attainable. Plan activities and games that would engage your VAs or hold monthly meetings to check up and have a casual conversation with them.
These monthly meetings and activities would help you build a team with a sturdy foundation and organize a group of goal-getting individuals.
Being a part of an organization where advancement is achievable and within an arm's reach is fulfilling. Show that you care for your employees' improvement by providing training and advancement opportunities. It is one way to keep them engaged and motivated to do the work, as this will make them feel that they can grow in the organization.
Providing training is also beneficial not just for the employees but also for the entire business. Your virtual assistants can apply what they learned from training and workshops, which will eventually help the company grow.
See this as an opportunity to expand your business. Equipping your virtual assistants with skills and knowledge to become experts in the field will increase their productivity and improve your overall operations.
Time tracking software like Apploye has been proven to boost productivity and time management. But, contrary to what some people believe, tracking time does not mean you don’t trust the people you work with. Instead, it gives you and your team practical benefits.
A time tracking software can help you, and your VAs analyze what a typical workday looks like. For example, you can see which tasks they are usually stuck on or take longer to complete. From there, you can take a look at the current progress and see which ones you can improve to help your VAs complete their tasks faster and easier.
Another benefit of tracking time is knowing which processes in your business need more people. For example, when you notice a VA spending too much time on a specific project but still can’t complete everything that needs to be done, then you know it’s time to give them additional help. Doing so will help you avoid having VAs burned out and extremely tired at the end of the day. In addition, it shows that you care about them and their well-being.
Company culture contributes significantly to the engagement and motivation of your virtual assistants. Culture creates a connection between the organization and its members. It is vital to give it importance and give it a proper introduction to your virtual assistants.
There's a huge possibility that your virtual assistants were surrounded by varying cultures working with different companies or growing up. Having to decide on one culture in your company that guarantees to work for everyone can be tricky. You have to take into consideration diverse personalities and working habits.
A great tip in conceptualizing a company culture that will work for your organization is to center it towards the growth of everyone involved in the business.
Company culture influences the engagement and motivation of your virtual assistants. If you focus on self-improvement and ensuring that it adds value to your VAs, you will have a company culture that employees will desire.
It is also helpful to note that different factors can motivate your virtual assistants. It can be compensation, growth, words of encouragement, a healthy working environment, and others. Regardless of all these factors, you have to keep in mind to build a company culture that encompasses different motivational aspects and will foster your employees' growth.
Toxic company culture can increase employee attrition and lead to a decline in your organization's overall productivity. It can also affect your costs and expenses, which is what you need to avoid. So you need to open to feedback and execute a company culture that will work best for your business and yield positive outcomes from your VAs.
Aside from growth and progress, compensation is one way to motivate your virtual assistants and keep them engaged with the job. Giving them the fruits of their labor is rewarding and makes them feel like their roles are necessary to achieve success in the organization.
A scientific study from the University of Oxford found out that happy workers are more productive. They tend to create meaningful work and make the most of their work time in the organization. This finding is an example of the positive impacts of fitting compensation, happy employees, and increased productivity.
As entrepreneurs, our roles go beyond generating profits for our business. We have to foster growth within the organization and give back to the people behind our success. Keeping them motivated through proper compensation is a must to show our appreciation for their contribution to the business.
It is also vital to observe timeliness in giving your employees their salaries and benefits. Do not make the mistake of under compensating your virtual assistants to avoid high employee turnover. Keep them engaged and motivated to work for you with reasonable pay and excellent company culture.
One of the simplest ways to motivate your virtual assistants and keep them engaged is by recognizing their efforts. A simple compliment or praise for a job well done can go a long way.
Studies show that when employees are satisfied with their organization, they are more productive and less likely to leave. Recognizing your virtual assistants' value in the organization through encouraging words or simple gratitude would mean a lot and keep them motivated.
In this way, you can help your employees become more productive and satisfied with their work while positively impacting your business.
Bonuses can either be in monetary or non-cash items. Giving a reward is just a simple way to motivate your employees and increase the organization's efficacy. For example, some employers provide bonuses for best-performing employees and exceptional achievements to encourage them to achieve more business goals.
The 13th month's pay is an example of a bonus awarded to employees at the end of the year. Many entrepreneurs apply this practice to show extra appreciation to their employees during the holidays and also as a way to motivate them.
A bonus gives your employees something to look forward to aside from growth and compensation in the business. It is a strategic step to raise profits and keep your virtual assistant motivated.
Working with virtual assistants from different parts of the world is exciting. You get to manage virtual assistants with varying cultures and skills that will help you better yourself and your organization. So, it is just right to repay them with an equal amount of effort and leadership to contribute to their growth.
Appreciate them sincerely and make a conscious effort to improve your relationship with your virtual assistants.