How to Develop Training and Management Processes for Your Virtual Assistant.

Posted on February 17, 2016

As online and digital facilities continue to improve, the ability to hire virtual assistants is becoming more convenient for organisations. As a result, there is an increasing demand for outsourcing to the Philippines. This is for a number of reasons, including:

• Reduction of overhead costs as a result of lower salary expectations; reduction in office space required and therefore rent payable; and minimal utilities and office supplies expenses.

• The culture in the Philippines is not dissimilar to the culture within western countries. They are therefore found to be more culturally compatible when compared to places like India and China.

• They are a convenient resource to rely on as business demands increase.

However, it is vital that organisations do not overlook or underestimate the importance of training and
ongoing management for virtual assistants. Rather, it is important that it is seen as an investment into the
business.

Despite the work being outsourced remotely, the principles of training and management remain the same, and the process to train and manage virtual assistants is just as important. Here’s why:

To ensure accuracy and consistency of information throughout the team
Consistent information and processes embedded across the team ensures that all staff have the same clear direction and understanding of the expectations. In addition, it ensures accuracy of information communicated about the company, clients, and projects regardless of their location.

To ensure efficiency of processes across all staff
Providing the team with clear and well-defined processes ensures that the virtual assistant has the tools to undertake tasks systematically, resulting in higher efficiency.

Geographical distance can compromise knowledge sharing
When managing a team face-to-face rather than virtually, there is the benefit of ‘on-the-job’ training, as well as knowledge sharing within the team. However, training and managing staff offshore limits the ability to do this, which re-emphasises the importance of implementing a strong process for training and management.

To provide long-term training efficiency
When time is invested to develop well-thought out training processes, these processes can be replicated moving forward for new and existing staff, with less time and effort. So, what needs to be considered when developing strong training and management processes for Philippines Virtual Assistants? The tips below provide a good starting point for developing the process:

1) Identify key knowledge gaps
The first consideration when putting together any process for training your virtual assistant is to understand the knowledge gaps of each staff member. These knowledge gaps will drive the direction that the training processes need to take, and the objectives that need to be achieved from these processes. Different knowledge gaps may mean different training processes to be adapted to different individual learning needs.

2) Identify clear tasks
In addition to knowledge gaps, training processes are built around the required tasks that virtual assistants will be undertaking. These processes include specific project tasks, as well as company processes around due diligence, including having work signed off prior to submission to the client. Tasks can be driven and managed with the implementation of task-orientated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), work-in-progress meetings, and follow up feedback.

3) Keep it simple
When putting together training processes, it’s always best to keep it simple and precise to avoid any ambiguity. When training virtual assistants where English is not their first language, additional information within the process will lead to confusion and may overwhelm staff with unnecessary information. After all, this process is about driving efficiency and effectiveness, so simplicity is always best.

4) Repetition and ongoing management
Successful learning from training relies on ongoing management and repetition. Identify the learning gaps, outline the tasks required to be undertaken to close these gaps, repeat the information until it becomes second-nature, and then follow up where required to reinforce the learning.

5) Training materials
Have an up-to-date copy of training materials and processes readily available to virtual assistants so they can be referred to as required. These materials will aid in the self-learning process in the absence of on-site collaboration and knowledge sharing.