Managing Your Virtual Assistant or Virtual Team
As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, business owners must navigate an ever-evolving market to remain competitive and face new challenges. The internet has fundamentally changed the way people work and incorporating an innovative workforce such as virtual assistants can enhance the operation and ultimate success of businesses in all industries. Remote work allows businesses to streamline processes, improve efficiency, boost productivity and greatly expand their reach to target audiences, so many companies have been using remote workers for years and are reaping the benefits.
Challenges of Managing a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Team
Although remote work offers a wide variety of long-lasting benefits, it does feature certain challenges that business owners must overcome. Effective, efficient communication forms the foundation for any successful small business, and it becomes even more crucial for remote teams. According to a report from 2021, 45.8 % of remote managers state that communication problems are the leading challenge they face when managing remote teams.
Clear, frequent communication is necessary for managers to provide direction to their virtual team, explain strategy, and remain updated on the progress of specific tasks. It is also necessary when multiple team members are collaborating to ensure all tasks are completed properly and submitted on time. Poor communication causes nearly every other management issue that can arise in the operation of a business. When communication fails, workers cannot fully comprehend their expectations and responsibilities, leading to decreased productivity, feelings of isolation, and lowered morale.
Other challenges faced by remote managers are scheduling difficulties, difficulty tracking employee performance, and issues with building morale and developing a positive culture within the team. When a team includes members across several time zones, coordinating times where all members can communicate and work together becomes particularly difficult. If you decide to hire a virtual assistant, Virtual Latinos offers a large selection of virtual assistants throughout Mexico, Central America, and South America, all within the same time zones as the U.S. This means you never have to wait around for hours to receive a response from your virtual assistant, saving unnecessary downtime and wasted productivity.
Impact of COVID-19 on Managing a Virtual Assistant or Team
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, companies that have not already made the switch to remote work have been forced to quickly adapt their operations to the current climate. Thankfully, many valuable tools exist such as Zoom and Slack that can help business owners and managers effectively communicate with their remote team members without needing to hire an entire IT team. These tools can empower workers, enhance their productivity, and support the smooth, effective operation of your business. They also make it much easier to manage a virtual assistant, even if they are located in a different country.
Even with the increased challenges of remote work, business owners report that their employees have adjusted remarkably well to their new system. In fact, a survey conducted by the human resources consulting firm Mercer found that an amazing 94% of employers report that workers have either continued the same level of productivity as before the pandemic or even become more productive working remotely than they were while in the workplace. In a separate study from FlexJobs, workers themselves have noticed the benefits of remote work, as well. 51% of employees shared that they have become more productive working from home, primarily due to increased comfort and focus, less noise, and fewer interruptions.
Why Is Remote Workers’ Retention So Important?
Worker retention refers to the ability of a business to retain its employees. Ensuring the success of any business requires a high retention rate, meaning a team member chooses to stay employed on a long-term basis rather than leaving due to challenges in the workplace. When a worker decides to quit, the amount of time, resources, and funding spent on training them is lost. Low worker retention means you not only lose everything you contributed toward making this person a part of the team, but you must also completely undergo the screening, interviewing, hiring, and training process all over again. Low retention also impacts your entire team by causing other workers to become concerned about their jobs, which harms the company culture, lowers morale, reduces motivation, and undermines their loyalty to your business.
How to Manage Raises
One of the primary methods for attracting and retaining the highest quality employees in your business is to regularly review the compensation you are offering and awarding raises based on their performance and productivity. Below we have listed a few frequently asked questions about raises and how to manage them.
Should I Have a Raise Structure?
Yes, you should evaluate the budget and needs of your business to develop a comprehensive raise structure, then inform your employees of this structure and carefully document everything to prevent potential miscommunication.
How Often Should I Consider Giving a Raise?
Typically, you should consider giving a raise after your remote worker has been employed for a full six months, ten months, or twelve months.
What Is the Right Amount for a Raise?
You must consult your business budget to determine the right amount, but generally, a fair raise comprises an increase of $0.50 to $2.00 per hour.
What Factors Should I Consider Before Giving a Raise?
Before you decide to give your virtual assistant a raise, consider the following factors:
- Their performance in relation to your expectations
- The value they add to the company
- The skills they have developed during the course of employment
- Their willingness to complete further training
- Their initiative and work ethic
- Their leadership abilities
- The interactions they have with management and colleagues
- The results they deliver to clients
- Their commitment to encouraging a positive company culture
How to Manage Bonuses
Rewarding your virtual staff for their performance and motivating them to continue improving usually involves creating a bonus calendar and discussing this upfront with all employees upon hiring. Remember to document everything to avoid future conflicts.
Should I Have a Bonus Structure?
Yes, you should create a comprehensive bonus structure with clearly defined criteria. You can establish sales bonuses, performance bonuses, end of the year bonuses, or any other bonus calendar you find most valuable for your business and employee engagement. You may also discuss bonus options with your virtual assistants to determine which they would prefer.
Which Roles Typically Include a Bonus or Commission?
Sales positions typically include a bonus or commission as part of their compensation package. A bonus consists of a fixed amount awarded for achieving a specific goal or meeting a predetermined mark, while a commission is calculated as a percentage of the sales they closed.
How Do I Choose the Proper Amount for a Bonus?
Deciding on the proper amount for a bonus involves considering your budget and how often you want to provide bonuses to your team. Generally, bonuses are calculated by measuring percentages of sales or end-of-the-year profits and allocating an appropriate amount based on each worker’s specific accomplishments or productivity level. You can implement an “all or nothing” strategy in which the worker must meet their quota to receive a bonus or create a system that provides a worker with a percentage of the bonus based on their performance.
What Factors Should I Consider Before Giving a Bonus?
When considering whether to give your remote worker a bonus, you should evaluate whether they met or exceeded the specific quota you set in your bonus structure.
What Is the 13th Month Bonus?
A 13th month bonus, also referred to as an end of the year bonus, is an extra payment awarded to employees at the end of December. It generally equals one month’s salary or 1/12 of their total annual earned income.
How Does Virtual Latinos Manage Raises and Rewards?
At Virtual Latinos, we understand the importance of remote workers’ retention, so we do everything we can to ensure our virtual staff feels recognized for their value and appreciated for their hard work. We offer best-in-class compensation for our internal virtual team as they progress in their careers, including providing raises for workers who complete training milestones and supplementing their earned salary with rewards, bonuses, and additional perks.
Raises for Training Milestones
After one of our virtual assistants finishes a stage of their assigned training program and demonstrates proof of what they learned, they are entitled to receive a pay increase of $0.50 per hour. Completing all five training programs adds a $2.50 increase to the hourly rate, but further raises may be awarded at management’s discretion.
Bonuses for Productivity and Goal Accomplishment
Every December, the management team will evaluate each worker’s accomplishments throughout the year to determine if they qualify for a productivity bonus. When all eligible collaborators have been chosen, the amount of the total bonus is decided, then distributed among the group. Specific bonuses are allocated based on hourly rate, billable hours per week, and the amount of time they have worked for the company.
Rewards for Tenure Based Milestones
Rewards are based on tenure, meaning milestones are set for each full year a worker has remained with the company. These perks are incremental, so they’re also eligible to receive all perks for the previous years. For example, after being employed for a full three years, you receive the perks awarded for reaching the third-year milestone, but you are entitled to the year one and year two perks, as well.
Virtual Latinos Can Help You Find the Right Virtual Assistant
Although remote work does involve unique challenges, you can significantly enhance the operation and success of your business by adding valuable virtual assistant services. Virtual Latinos can help you hire virtual staff to match your business needs and offer expert advice on how to manage your virtual assistant with several useful strategies, including offering raises, bonuses, and other rewards.
By providing a positive work environment for your employees, you encourage confidence, instill loyalty, and enhance their productivity. Maintain clear, frequent communication, utilize different technological tools to aid in this communication, establish rules of engagement to set expectations, offer encouragement, and promptly resolve any concerns. Contact us today to find the right virtual assistant for your business in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, and other countries throughout Latin America.