Virtual Assistant Onboarding Checklist
Hit the ground running! Time is money and getting your virtual assistant (VA) online and onboard as fast as possible gives you the freedom you to focus on your own more important tasks that grow your business.
But remote staffing without preparation can instead lead to slowing down the very workflow you wanted to optimize.
Here’s a complete checklist for what you need to know before assigning tasks to your virtual assistant. You don’t have to do everything here to achieve success but having an understanding of these concepts will help you and your new VA get started on the right foot.
1) Have you set up proper communication tools?
Remote staffing is all about using the proper communication tools. Often you may need to use more than one line of communication. Video conferencing software, project management tools, email, file sharing, and instant messaging services, all enable your employees to make contact with you and others as tasks are accomplished or if there is anything urgent that needs your attention.
Have you provided your remote staff with the tools and software they need to work? You should be sure that your virtual assistant have familiarized themselves with your preferred lines of communication and delivery.
2) Have you set up proper permissions?
Your virtual assistants need access to your data. At the same time of course there are important information that is not relevant to outside staff. Check that you have given them access to the files and information that they need (documents, website page editing, etc.), but that their access level does not allow them to view and/or manipulate your more sensitive information (financial accounts and website administration, etc.).
Create a document with a list of apps and login credentials needed for their tasks for easy reference.
Set up time tracking software if applicable.
3) Have you introduced your virtual assistant to the team?
Make sure that everyone is on board for your staff augmentation plan. Even just a short meet-and-greet virtual meeting, or group chat works. Have each team member introduces themselves and give a short summary of what they do. This will help remove awkwardness and help the team work together.
4) Have you explained how the company works and what is expected of them?
Similar to the above, by defining each person’s role and what is expected from them, you can more easily allow them to act without your involvement. Orient your virtual assistant with your company’s background, how things work in general within your company. Be sure to discuss your expectations with your new VA and a clear line of reporting, so they can get help if needed.
Remember that a virtual assistant cannot be expected to be great at everything, and just like any employee, it will take some time for them to grow into the role.
5) Have you given them clear instructions about the task they will be performing?
Vague instructions help no one. If there are technical details about the task they need to perform, explain it to them. You are the one most familiar with your key business processes and should explain or even demonstrate to them how you want them accomplished.
If they have questions, then let them feel that it’s perfectly all right to contact you or ask another team member whose work is related to the task.
Break the task down into steps as much as possible, go it over with your virtual assistant and verify that all have been understood. Let them comprehend the purpose behind each of their tasks. Assign work schedules if you need them to be online at certain times.
You’ll find you’ll be explaining things less as time goes on.
6) Have you created a structured list of expectations and deliverables?
Project documentation should already have a list of tasks in the pipeline and their priorities.
Other more easily accessed documentation will help your virtual assistant by giving structure to their work process and make the most of their time. Assign or ask your virtual assistant to prepare a process document for the tasks you have assigned them. Then, as the tasks are accomplished, check off the list of deliverables in the process document. Depending on the task, they may sign off accomplishments by:
a) Tasks accomplished within the expected work hours
b) Tasks accomplished in order by the steps you have assigned them
c) Percentage to completion of an ongoing task
d) Number of deliverables
e) Their deadlines
f) Quality control and commentary
This process document would then contain links to their deliverables in a separate document or file sharing folder. Google drive works great and its free.
A document like this helps your virtual assistant in laser-focused exactly only on what you need to be done instead of being overwhelmed by unnecessary concerns about the job.
In turn, you should also have something like a document with clear milestones and notes on compensation for meeting expectations. This sort of performance document could mark off data regarding:
a) Deadlines and what is expected within that time frame
b) What to do if a deadline is missed
c) The metrics by which progress is tracked and how VAs track their own progress
d) How well they are communicating
e) Their key responsibilities and how well they are doing in that role
f) Their expected work hours and days
g) When and how they get paid
7) Have you given them routine tasks that they can work on so that they don’t sit idle?
Depending on the role you have hired them for, they may accomplish tasks well ahead of schedule. If the employment agreement is based on billable hours, then make the most out of their hours online by giving them various less urgent tasks that you would rather not have to deal with in your day.
8) Have you made a system for providing feedback?
A virtual assistant can only improve by knowing what it is they may be doing wrong. Without feedback, there is no choice but to do the same thing over and over again. Reinforce good habits and correct unsatisfactory work by providing feedback at regular intervals. They should come to anticipate such feedback.
Of course, do this feedback in private so as not to embarrass them.
9) Did you make a note to give appreciation and recognition for their efforts?
Even when someone is working remotely, and as such with limited personal interactions with the rest of the team, it can feel very rewarding to just get a “Hey, good job that last project!”. That really helps make remote staffing feel like a real part of the team and get them energized for the next day.
Research has shown that a ratio of positive to negative personal encounters in at least 3:1 ratio during the day heavily influences whether a workplace is a productive work environment. If you think someone’s doing well, then just tell them. Ask if they have any problems that may influence their work. A simply thing like that can make someone’s day.
10) Have you prepared yourself to resist the urge to micromanage?
After having done all these, you now only need to resist the temptation as a leader to micromanage things. Give them a chance to do their jobs without interference. Check on your virtual assistants on a regular basis and see if they need any additional support.
But trust them to get things done and don’t stress yourself. A virtual assistant is supposed to free you to focus on the things that really need your attention.