Is it the time difference? Possible productivity issues? Maybe you're concerned about the language barrier.
Entrusting your business to remote overseas staff is a huge leap, so having these apprehensions is totally normal. The good news?
We’re here to help you get over these roadblocks so you can reap the benefits of remote work and grow your business.
In this post, we'll walk you through the most common reasons preventing business owners from hiring remotely and how you can solve them. By the end of this guide, we hope that you'll be able to hire with ease and confidence.
Let's start off with the most common concern — money:
Businesses outsource work to save money. Filipino remote staff, for example, cost 80% less than local hires. Employers can hire more staff for much less.
The problem is there’s a lot of conflicting advice on how much you should really pay virtual assistants and other remote staff.
Some folks say $2/hour. Others say $5/hour. And some internet gurus say you should pay $10. So what’s the deal?
Salary rates depend on factors like:
For example, hiring entry-level staff to do admin tasks like data entry and calendar management can cost around $600-$900 per month. But if you’re looking for senior roles or jobs that require a certain level of skill like graphic design or project management, you may need to shell out $1,200 upwards.
Consider the role to determine a rate that’s equitable for you and your employee.
We put together a free guide that outlines the typical rates per job type and industry based on our own hiring data. Download it here to use it as reference.
You can also take a leaf out of Codie Sanchez’s book and assign a dollar amount to the tasks you wanna delegate. Daily tasks like admin, bookkeeping, and travel arrangements, for example, fall under the “$10” tasks. A general VA can take them off your plate for $900/month.
Tasks that have a bigger impact on your business like sales, project management, and business development can cost more.
Did you know that the Philippines ranks second among Asian countries when it comes to English proficiency? That means there’s little to no language barrier. You can collaborate and communicate with your remote Filipino staff with ease.
To make sure that our clients only get the best candidates, we also administer English proficiency tests to all Shepherd applicants. Our clients can also evaluate the candidate’s comm skills further during the interview.
So if you’re worried about the language barrier — don’t be. Most Filipino staff speak fluent English and can communicate well.
Depending on where you are in North America, the time difference between you and your VA could range from 12-16 hours. Yes, it sounds intimidating, but there are proven ways to work around it.
First, virtual assistants from the Philippines can work during US hours. Many business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the Philippines actually operate this way. To attract candidates, they add perks like:
Consider offering the same benefits to encourage applicants to respond to your job ad.
Next, be clear about your timezone expectations from the get-go. Let potential employees know about your timezone requirements in your job description or during the interview to avoid unmet expectations.
Lastly, It’s possible for your assistant to give great results without working during the same time zone. Here are some workarounds that you can apply:
Meet in the middle by establishing time overlaps. You and your assistant can find a 2-4 hour period to be online at the same time. You can use this time to collaborate, give real-time feedback, and answer questions. This way, your assistant wouldn’t need to work graveyard shifts and you can still get things done.
If you’re hiring knowledge workers like writers, graphic designers, and accountants, going async could be a great choice. You will need solid communication and project management systems for this, but if you do it right, you’ll be able to free up more time.
With an assistant working while you sleep, you’re basically extending your operating hours. You can leverage this to improve areas like customer service and fulfillment. Treat the time difference as a feature, not a bug.
Wanna hear a truth bomb?
Project delays have more to do with poor planning than hiring overseas talent to do the job.
With a solid project management system and a great team to help you execute your plans, project delays shouldn’t be an issue when working with remote staff.
You might even improve the speed and quality of your output if you hire remote Filipino assistants. They’re known for their level of skill and work ethic.
Still, if you’re worried about project delays, here’s what you can do:
At the start of each project, meet with your team to discuss the following:
They should know what’s expected of them and when it’s due.
While you’re at it, avoid cramming a lot of tasks into short timeframes. Instead, set realistic timelines that account for sick days, additional revisions, and other unexpected circumstances.
Apps like Asana, ClickUp, Monday, and Basecamp are great for monitoring your team’s progress. You can use these project management tools to assign tasks, manage workflows, and provide feedback.
Let your team know about your preferred communication channels. Coordinate meeting times so you’re all in sync. You can also use tools like Loom to record walkthroughs and instructions.
Encountered a bad hire? Maybe you’ve heard horror stories about disappearing VAs or assistants that overpromise and underdeliver?
Unfortunately, that’s true for any job market. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this tedious trial-and-error hiring process when you work with a headhunter agency like Shepherd.
We use a team of headhunters to search, screen, and test candidates for you. To make sure that the candidates meet your standards, they go through a screening process that involves:
This ensures that you only get the best and most competent hires.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been able to hire assistants with years of relevant experience, top-notch skills, and even post-grad degrees. Add in their work ethic and you’ll have an A-Team that can help you achieve your business goals.
The unique thing about Filipino remote staff is that they’re very familiar with Western culture. Apart from being able to communicate fluently in English, they also consume a lot of Western media. They probably watch the same shows, listen to the same artists, and know the same pop culture references as you do. Building rapport shouldn’t be a huge challenge.
Still, Filipinos have deeply-rooted values that may be different from your own. For example, they might:
If you’re not aware of these cultural differences, you might end up misunderstanding your remote team members.
We put together a comprehensive guide on Filipino work culture and how it’s different from the US. Check it out here.
Productivity is another major reason why most folks hesitate to hire remotely. How do you make sure that your staff is really working when they're located halfway around the world?
Lots of remote employers use time-tracking tools like Hubstaff, Clockify, Time Doctor, and Jibble to monitor productivity. They’re useful if you're paying employees by the hour or if the nature of the job involves working with different clients or projects.
These apps can track:
Some of these apps can also capture your employees' screens at a set interval. They can gather data like idle times, screen activity, and breaks, too.
You can also send automated check-in prompts by email, Slack, or through your project management app of choice. It's a simple but effective way to see what your employees are up to.
Here are some check-in prompts that you can use:
Project management apps are also great for monitoring employee productivity. You can use them to:
The best time trackers and project management tools can only do so much, especially if you end up hiring flaky employees.
Increase your chances of hiring accountable staff by thoroughly screening each candidate. Look into their backgrounds, work experience, and character references. Lastly, use the interview to check if they’d be a good culture fit for your team.
You can’t monitor your employees all the time. Instead of focusing on their hours, try shifting to an output-based approach by setting clear deliverables and deadlines.
No time to onboard and train your assistant?
We're not gonna lie — skipping out on onboarding is a recipe for delegation disaster.
If you want to "clone" yourself, you'd need to carve out time to create processes.
If creating an onboarding process is the only thing preventing you from hiring remotely, here’s a simple 5-step process that you can cop:
1. Prepare your SOPs and preferences doc
2. Schedule a kick-off call.
3. Hop on 1:1 calls at least once a week
4. Provide honest feedback
5. Integrate them into your daily life
Integrating your remote assistant means sharing confidential and often sensitive information like:
It's normal to feel apprehensive about sharing these details with a complete stranger. This is why we make sure that all hires made through Shepherd undergo extensive background checks. Our talent scouts review their character references and conduct behavioral interviews for good measure.
Aside from hiring vetted candidates through a headhunter agency like Shepherd, you can also take proactive steps to keep your information safe.
Integrating your assistant doesn't mean sharing everything. Instead, share only what's necessary for their role.
For example, you can have important documents set to view only instead of giving editorial access to everyone. Or if you need your assistant to help you manage a Facebook group, you can assign them as "moderator" instead of "administrator".
Providing minimum access to your remote team lessens the chances of security breaches and human error.
You can securely share passwords and app access using tools like Dashlane, LastPass, or 1Password. These are especially helpful if you've got a growing team and need one place to keep track of app logins.
Working with proprietary knowledge, high-profile clients, or just want to keep confidential info within your organization? Have your team members sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Establish confidentiality guidelines within your team as well. Let them know what assets, documents, and company property shouldn't be shared with outsiders so that they don't accidentally leak them.
Lastly, make sure you revoke access to team members who have left the company. Include this in your offboarding process so you don’t forget!
See, that wasn't so bad. We hope that by taking these actionable steps, you can slowly get over your FOBO (Fear of Business Outsourcing) — and finally reap the benefits of remote work.
If you’re ready to take the leap and hire your very first virtual assistant from the Philippines, we’re here to help! Shepherd is a headhunter agency that specializes in finding top remote talent for businesses like yours. Hire with confidence and ease with Shepherd today.
Businesses hesitate to outsource because of the following reasons:
Businesses fail to succeed at outsourcing because:
Filipino remote assistants are highly-skilled individuals who can communicate well in English and are familiar with Western culture. They also cost 80% less than local hires.
Use a headhunter agency like Shepherd. Our team of professional headhunters can find, screen, and vet talent for you.
Here’s a quick look at our process:
That’s it! Hiring remote staff has never been easier with Shepherd.