Updated: Jun 8, 2022
It's tough to run a business especially if one of your weaknesses is "people management".
Entrepreneurs are part "entertainers" on both ends of the business structure; from its clients to its employees - we have to find ways to keep them engaged and excited; to meet or communicate not only for public relations purposes but with the aim to synchronize on business objectives that the relationship pursues together as a "common goal".
In our years of experience with hundreds of virtual assistant, the most common reason for underperformance is burnout. There are uncountable reasons why employees undergo the burnout phase. This happens not just virtually but in all kinds of industry. Even the top performer may hit rock bottom if if the business owner overlooks improving the aspect of employee management.
In our own experience, we even proactively offer both our nurturing hands and it still did not work out 100% of the time because the reality is even if we go above and beyond for the wrong person, the employee-client relationship is definitely not bound for success. It is also crucial to identify when to let go and when to work on performance improvement. That is purely rational decision making.
It's very easy to say that you need to find the right person to grow your business with. But the question is HOW?
Engage in a solid workflow.
Most clients sign up for VA companies but doesn't have a solid game plan. This results to VA being confused and clueless about the job specification which affects their productivity. Having a clear and consistent workflow in a form of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) will also leave the VA a good impression that the project he's working on is in good direction and his boss has strong organizational skills.
Engage with "trusting presence"
A study conducted by Martin and Freeman from University of Virginia shows that "surveillance can have a negative impact on productivity. Studies have demonstrated a link between monitoring and psychological and physical health problems, increased boredom, high tension, extreme anxiety, depression, anger, sever fatigue, and musculoskeletal problems". We cannot name a single person who loves to be monitored every minute of the day. You have to trust your VA and be confident about it. Show your presence in a form of end of day or end of week reports but never bug them with unnecessary stuff outside their scope of work. Talking to your VAs about how your day went is fine but having them on the phone for more than an hour is very unideal. This also helps you avoid micromanaging.
Engage in decision-making.
We cannot avoid the fact that change is constant. Every business owner cannot refuse to make changes in the company as it is essential in all workspace. Considering your employees' wellbeing when coming up with a decision is vital as it will definitely affect their productivity. You being "the boss" is sound and clear but what makes a real boss is being able to balance all aspects of their business. With this, your employees can feel that you are taking them into consideration and they are in good hands so they should do the same and provide quality service.
Engage with Professionalism
Some clients sometimes get fed up with their very own clients and subordinates and have the tendency to lash out by talking it over with their VAs over the phone. It is good to have an outlet to unload negative energies but some employers do not realize that they are exposing their weak side to their subordinates by doing that. It is necessary that we build walls and try to be civil yet friendly when dealing with VAs to maintain mutual respect. Clients need to have that intimidating aura in a positive way as it also builds a sense of urgency on the VA's perspective. The more the VA gets quite familiar with the client, the more laid back they'll be.
There may be other hundreds of way to build engagement with your employees but at the end of the day, it will all depend on your managerial instinct and gut feeling.
“Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve.” - Napoleon Hill