The way people do business today has changed dramatically from only a few years ago. No longer do companies have to struggle with much of the burdensome, stressful work that has traditionally required presence on the ground. There are now emerging success stories of companies that work remotely and outsource their businesses overseas. Virtual office staff (sometimes called virtual assistants, offshore staff, or outsourcing staff) can now be hired as offshore employees to meet the needs of these outsourcing companies.Virtual office staff can provide services across the globe via Cloud Computing and similar online platforms.
As an entrepreneur, the business results that your virtual office staff delivers is what matters most to you. You know that bringing out the best in your people is the sure-fire method to ensuring their professional well-being, and to also maximising your company’s advantage. Here are five ways that you can make that happen:
1. Develop Staff Through Constant Training.Having knowledgeable and well-equipped virtual staff working for your company is like having skillful, well-armoured warriors on the field of battle. You may have hired your virtual staff for certain skills but it is essential that you make sure these talents are continually honed. Providing your virtual staff with proper training materials, certifications and modules or sending them to seminars and webinars are just some of the valuable investments that your company should be making in order to reap the maximum benefit. Nothing ever goes wasted when you invest in people; fostering your employees’ capabilities is beneficial for both parties. If the industry of your business matches your expertise, you may conduct the training yourself. Regardless, you should at least be aware that training is an absolute necessity for your virtual staff’s growth and empowerment. Training doesn’t just educate and develop them, it also ensures they understand your expectations and the needs of the company.
2. Make Staff Feel Accountable.Delegating minor to major tasks to your virtual staff is the first step in testing their accountability at work. Giving them a chance to prove their worth will make them feel liable and can give you insight into who could be a potential leader for the company into the future. Telling them that you count on them to deliver their best and expect nothing but positive results will drive them to double their efforts. When your people feel accountable for the things they do, it encourages a sense of responsibility amongst them.
3. Frequently Connect With Staff.Talking to your virtual staff about their tasks and workloads (and even their opinions) does not only help establish a genuine bond, it also makes staff feel that you are involved. On a regular basis, ask them about tasks, workloads, and deliverables that are still in progress. This will create a mindset in them that your eyes are set on their job even if you are working from afar. The farther distance you are away from them, the closer you have to position yourself around them. Encourage your virtual staff to accomplish a Work In Progress spreadsheet or a similar tracking method so you can interact and decide which activity requires more priority. Frequently connect with your virtual staff but show them that you trust their actions.
4. Acknowledge And Provide Feedback.The only way for your virtual staff to fully understand how you want them to get things done is to personally acknowledge them for their good work or provide them with feedback for areas that need improvement. Giving staff a pat on the back (or a virtual pat on the back with a "Like" symbol) builds confidence and motivates them to do better next time. On the other hand, if the results don’t match with how you’ve envisioned them to be, give constructive feedback in the most honest, straightforward but inoffensive way.
5. Reward Staff Accordingly.Let’s face it, everyone in your office deserves some fun time after work. Make sure to reward your virtual staff by treating them with a lunch or dinner, or by giving them gift cheques that they could enjoy outside work. Nothing beats a motivated workforce. The role of incentives and rewards in motivating your virtual staff is a crucial part of every employee’s working experience. Motivation is one of the 5 stages of the Human Resources life cycle. Leaders who are focused on building bonds with their employees at their first 90 days at work are able to retain them and reduce turnovers for little efforts. Rewarding and appreciating them for their hard work can translate into better work performance and less turnovers as business days go by.
Getting the most out of your virtual staff does not have to be costly. What you invest in your people will eventually bring positive results for the company, and more importantly will build commitment and loyalty amongst your virtual staff in the long term.