Joe: For the last time, I’m pretty sure what’s killing the crops is this Brawndo stuff.
Secretary of State: But Brawndo’s got what plants crave. It’s got electrolytes.
Attorney General: “So wait a minute. What you’re saying is that you want us to put water on the crops.
Attorney General: Water. Like out the toilet?
Joe: Well, I mean, it doesn’t have to be out of the toilet, but, yeah, that’s the idea.
Secretary of State: But Brawndo’s got what plants crave.
Attorney General: It’s got electrolytes.
Joe: Okay, look. The plants aren’t growing, so I’m pretty sure that the Brawndo’s not working. Now, I’m no botanist, but I do know that if you put water on plants, they grow.
Secretary of Energy: Well, I’ve never seen no plants grow out of no toilet.
Secretary of State: Hey, that’s good. You sure you ain’t the smartest guy in the world?
Joe: Okay, look. You want to solve this problem. I want to get my pardon. So why don’t we just try it, okay, and not worry about what plants crave?
Attorney General: Brawndo’s got what plants crave.
Secretary of Energy: Yeah, it’s got electrolytes.
Joe: What are electrolytes? Do you even know?
Secretary of State: It’s what they use to make Brawndo.
Joe: Yeah, but why do they use them to make Brawndo?
Secretary of Defense: ‘Cause Brawndo’s got electrolytes.
Are you feeding your Virtual Assistant “Brawndo – The Thirst Mutilator” and wondering why their professional and personal growth has stalled? Yes, I know Brawndo has electrolytes because that is what Virtual Assistants crave but have you tried giving them some water? Yes, like the water out of the toilet. I know you haven’t seen a Virtual Assistant work in a toilet but all I know is that the Brawndo ain’t working!
Accessibility to reliable virtual staff is and will continue to improve considerably. This is putting virtual staff within reach of businesses that traditionally would not have the option to work with a remote staff member. Along with the opportunity this presents, I see gaps in terms of how some clients manage their virtual staff. The tendency is to feed them the Brawndo because that is what everyone thinks will work as opposed to assessing the virtual staff member as a new type of resource with a whole new type of requirements. Keeping your virtual staff satisfied and stimulated is key to unlocking the potential a virtual team can deliver for your business.
Let’s throw out the Brawndo and look at 5 things that a typical Virtual Assistant really craves.
Working remotely can be tough. The majority of people thrive in a connected workplace gaining energy through social interaction, support, and communal encouragement. Virtual staff, often working from home, can become isolated with only their computer screen for company. Imagine if that screen only displayed text that was cold, aggressive, negative or demeaning?
Virtual Assistants love it when you build a real connection with them. Check in regularly and don’t leave your only conversations for when something has gone wrong. Understand them as a person, show a genuine interest in their families and home life. Treat them well and genuinely care.
Consistency & Clarity
I know things get busy. I know we all pivot and change direction. This is inevitable. But you must allow your virtual staff to build a sense of achievement through the successful completion of tasks. This will contribute to the wellbeing of the staff member and lead to improved outputs. Allocate work in a consistent and clear manner and then let your virtual staff deliver uninterrupted. Constant changes in direction are like Brawndo for the soul of the Virtual Assistant.
You must honour your contract with a virtual staff member. If they were hired full time, do not change them to part time for a week in between projects. Sure you might save yourself a little bit of money by doing that but you are taking that money directly out of the pocket of the person you need to commit to you. Commitment goes both ways and you will see your virtual staff grow if you create an environment that is secure and high performing.
Empowerment and Trust
Don’t micro-manage your virtual staff. Realise that you hired them to bring their skills to your company. Trust their skills and empower your virtual staff to deliver for you. With clear direction, an empowered virtual staff member will flourish.
Pay On-Time – Every time!
Your virtual staff are your paid employees. They are not people who are sharing the risks and rewards of the business you are building. They contribute skills, effort, and a whole lot care in exchange for their pay cheque and a sense of security and achievement. If things get tough for you, do not devalue their contribution by not paying your staff in a timely manner.
To make your virtual staff grow, connect with them and provide a sense of security. Let them know you are all in it for the long haul. Provide clear direction, empower them and leverage their skills. With a positive work environment and an engaged team of virtual staff, you will begin to wonder what you were doing with all that Brawndo anyway!