How to Develop A Process for ‘Complex’ Tasks That A VA Can Follow
Do you depend on the person or the process? Many times when there is a breakdown in the virtual staff’s performance, the issue is not the person, but in the process. The good news is that there is hope. Developing a process for your virtual staff member can seem daunting at first, so we are going to break down the steps for you. Even better is you can task your virtual staff member with helping to document the process by making checklists and other helpful guides. Once you have a solid process, anyone should be able to complete the task making it less dependent on the person completing it.
The only way to develop a process that your newly hired Virtual Assistant can follow, especially if it involves a complex task, is to execute an accurate and comprehensive training session. We have a 4 step process for creating processes in our office.
HISTORY & CONNECTIONS
One effective way to help your new hire absorb the task is to share how it fits into the business and why it is important. Understanding how the task fits into the overall business and who is involved helps for understanding.
Before the start of the training, you can arrange a brief introduction that covers the history of the task, how it fits into the overall business, review the business objectives, and some other facts about why this task is important. Think of it as you’re providing them the backbone of your business and sharing them the importance of their role.
If you don’t already have a written process or checklist, we recommend recording yourself or other staff member doing the task from beginning to end. If you don’t have a screen capture software like Camtasia, then you can at least take share screens of the steps. Ideally, you are doing this while you are working on the task anyway, so you don’t have to create additional work for yourself.
If you need to know your best options for applications with share screen feature, check out our previous topic about Tools for Your Virtual Assistant.
Once you have the screen capture, label it properly and place in a location that everyone who may need it can access it. I like to set training folders up based on the overall process. For example, if we are preparing lease documents for renewals, I would have a folder called Lease Preparation and then under that have New Lease Set Up and another folder called Lease Renewals.
After I have the training video done, I have my virtual professional create a checklist of either items or questions and sources of where to get the data required.
Pull together a list of complete resources. Things like where to find the data, which team member is available to assist with this task if there are questions, and where completed work should be sent for review, all need documentation as well. Ideally, they should practice the task while under your supervision several times before they work on a “real” file.
It is perfectly acceptable to have your virtual professional pull these things together for you while you are teaching the task.
Finally, always remain patient. While you have done this task many times, this is very new to your Virtual Professional. Remember that it’s natural for anyone to get confused or frustrated when they are in learning mode. Make yourself available, check in and encourage your new hire to ask questions until they have completed the task with no errors several times.
In most part, depending on the gravity of the tasks. It takes approximately 7 to 10 times of doing the activity before true mastery can even begin. Depending on the time between completing the task, this could take days, weeks or months. In the end, the more comfortable you can make your employee feel in his/her new environment, the more accurate and reliable he/she can become.
Without proper guidance and education, your virtual staff member will not be able to perform at the level you expect. Therefore, it is an investment in your business to make the tasks as repeatable and replicable as possible. A written process makes that happen. I know as busy business people, we tend to keep everything in our heads, and it is not natural to write these things down. However not doing so keeps you a slave to your business and will not allow you the freedom to grow.
We all know that starting a new position can be stressful to anyone, but as a manager, I often make the transition a whole lot smoother by following these guidelines whenever a new hire comes in. Should you need more tips and information on how to get your Virtual Assistant for your business, feel free to book an appointment with me today!