How do you get them up to speed on all the things you’ve got going on? What happens on day one? How do you assign them their first tasks?
Based on our experience, a solid VA onboarding process can help you get things off on the right foot. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Here’s how most folks approach onboarding new assistants:
It’s not a cool situation to be in.
An effective onboarding process, on the other hand, helps you avoid all these unnecessary headaches. Much like a traditional job orientation, the onboarding process is the perfect opportunity for you to:
Doing all of this at the start of your working relationship also helps you to stay organized. The less back-and-forth, the more time you’ll have to actually focus on the things that need your attention.
So, how do you improve your onboarding process? It starts by doing your homework.
Your delegation success starts way before you hop on your first onboarding call with your assistant. To make the most out of the process, we recommend that you prepare these three things first:
Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are documents that cover everything you want to delegate to your assistant. Think of them as user manuals for specific tasks that you do within your company.
You can create SOPs on Google Docs or Notion, but if you’re more of a visual person, you can also record your screen through Loom.
Aside from an SOP, it's also great to have a personal info and preferences doc ready. Like the SOP, this doc is similar to a user manual — but instead of business processes, it contains info about yourself, such as:
Having your assistant know this information from the start significantly decreases the time you have to spend hopping on calls to explain stuff to them.
If you need help creating SOPs and Personal Info sheets, Marshall talks about them at length in his free delegation course, The Delegation Leap. Join for free here.
Aside from these documents, you also have to mentally prepare to onboard a new member of your team. You have to set clear, realistic expectations for yourself, especially if this is your first time hiring a Filipino virtual assistant.
Here's what you can expect during the first few weeks of working together:
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's take a look at the onboarding process itself:
Your kick-off call is where most of the onboarding process happens. Schedule a call on Zoom or Google Meet with your assistant before they start doing any work for you.
The main goal of the call is to orient your VA about you, your process, and their initial tasks. Here are some topics that you should address:
When assigning your VA’s first tasks, it’s important to be clear about their responsibilities. Let them know about your expectations. By the end of the call, your assistant should have a clear idea of the tasks that they need to accomplish in the next couple of days.
You should also be able to set a schedule for your next meeting or catch-up call — which leads us to the next part of the onboarding process:
Clear communication helps you build a great working relationship with your assistant, so schedule regular calls with them at least once a week.
These calls are a great way for you to catch up on your assistant's progress with their tasks. It also helps you uncover challenges or roadblocks. This is the perfect time for them to ask questions or bring up items that might need your input. Lastly, you can use these catch-up calls to assign new tasks to your assistant.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of these calls:
These meetings can help you and your assistant get into the swing of things. But what happens when they don’t meet expectations or are having trouble completing tasks? That’s where step 3 comes in:
Lots of folks dread giving negative or constructive feedback, but did you know that 57% of employees actually prefer constructive feedback over praise?
Growth happens when you give honest feedback to your assistant. It allows you to correct behavior, improve their performance, and help them learn, so make it a part of your process.
If you're not sure how to go about this, here are a few tips to help you out:
Once you and your assistant finally become comfortable working with each other, take things up a notch by fully integrating them into your daily life.
What does this mean?
Integration means giving your assistant access — not just to tools and logins — but also to meetings, email chains, and discussions. This way, they're always in the loop about your tasks and priorities.
Fully integrating your assistant into your life involves:
This way, they become naturally aware of the projects on your plate. They can anticipate the tasks that you'd likely delegate to them. Also, you wouldn't need to hop on a separate meeting just to get them up to speed — through integration, they’d already know what's going on.
On top of that, this step gives your assistant agency. It helps develop their initiative and improves their overall skills.
After you integrate your assistant, you’ll be more confident in delegating more complex tasks to them, like managing your inbox, for example.
Here are some tools that you can use during your onboarding and integration process:
Onboarding and training your assistant takes a lot of upfront work, but it's a worthy investment. Follow these steps to create an effective VA onboarding process and see how it makes delegation so much easier.
If you're still looking for an assistant, we can find amazing employees that cost 80% less than US equivalents. Let us know about the roles you're looking to fill here and start buying back your time.
Orientation and onboarding help you set the right expectations, grant access, and get your new assistant up to speed with tasks. It’s an efficient way to kick off your working relationship.
The actual onboarding call only takes an hour or so, but it might take your assistant a couple of weeks to get the hang of things. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s all part of the process, so be patient!
Onboarding your assistant takes a couple of steps. Here’s a simple breakdown:
Day one is always an exciting time for everyone involved. Prepare to answer questions, explain your processes and personal preferences, and be ready with a simple list of tasks for them to complete.