How to Retain Quality Virtual Assistants in Your Company
After going through the recruitment process, you finally found the most qualified person for the job. But the question now is this: how do you retain quality virtual assistants in your company? To answer this, we surveyed nine random virtual assistants regarding their needs and wants. Each of them has been known for the quality of work they provide. Participant demographics:
- Age: 18-35 years old (8 participants), 36-55 years old (1 participant)
- Status: 5 married, 3 single, and 1 who considers himself as simply taken
- Educational Attainment: 8 Bachelor’s Degree, 1 College Level
- Years of Experience as Virtual Assistant: four years or more (2 participants), three years (2 participants), two years (1 participant), one year (1 participant), less than one year (3 participants)
- Citizenship: All participants reside in the Philippines
What motivates a virtual assistant to work? How much will benefits impact his performance and decision to work long term?
Here’s what we learned from their answers:
1. Allow them to work at their own pace
Majority of the surveyed virtual assistants enjoy spending more time with their families. Filipinos, in particular, are known to have strong family ties. Many of them see their family as a primary reason for becoming a VA (44.4%).
Other reasons for working as a virtual assistant included:
- Savings in meal and transportation (11.1%)
- Savings for one’s future (11.1%)
- Comfort at home (33.3%)
- Convenience from not having to experience road traffic (22.2%)
- Inability to find a well-paying job in the corporate world (11.1%)
Their line of work provided them the convenience they desired. Flexibility is also one thing that they consider important.
By allowing them to work at their own pace, you give them the leisure of satisfying their needs as well as the reason to be happy in their work. Overall, you are more able to retain quality virtual assistants in your company.
It does not necessarily mean that you allow them to go behind deadlines. They know when to complete a task and make sure they complete them well even before the time ends.
2. Wow them with your company culture
By definition, company culture has a lot to do with the relationship between a virtual assistant and a client. It is not something that you enforce, but something that takes time to develop.
When asked about the most important thing when looking for a client or job, the participants’ top answer is company reputation which was once associated with company culture and community. This was then followed by pay rate.
- Company reputation (4 surveyed VAs)
- Pay rate (2 surveyed VAs)
- Flexibility (1 surveyed VA)
- Work schedule (1 surveyed VA)
- Opportunity to practice and strengthen one’s expertise (1 surveyed VA)
They also consider it as one of the deciding factors to work for a long time.
How do you manage your virtual assistants? To retain quality virtual assistants in your company, make your VAs feel welcomed and a part of the cause of your business.
Aligned with this, you may ask: what do virtual assistants commonly expect from clients? We gave them five things to arrange in order of importance:
- Be punctual in paying for my services
- Be available when I need him (the client)
- Have a good understanding of the tasks he (the client) gives me
- Know my value as a skilled individual
- Reward incentives for good performance
Seven of the surveyed virtual assistants expect clients to know their value as a skilled individual above all.
Most expected from a client:
- Know my value as a skilled individual (7 surveyed VAs)
- Be punctual in paying for my services (1 surveyed VA)
- Be available when I need him (1 surveyed VA)
One other expectation was a client’s good understanding of the tasks he assigns. It is interesting to note that many of the participants have performed various jobs for clients.
Rewarding incentives for good performance is the least they expect from clients. This was followed by the desire for punctual payment of their services.
Participants were also given the chance to specify other expectations. From their answers, we note 1) client’s consideration when it comes to inconvenient circumstances and 2) momentum in both the VA’s career and the client’s business.
3. Know their value
As a whole, the survey participants came from six areas of expertise:
- Software development and technology
- Sales and marketing support
- Professional services
- Creative and multimedia
- Writing and translation
- Clerical and data entry
Many of them are good with three or more skills. And although they least expect clients to pay on time, they still desire to be paid at a reasonable cost.
One virtual assistant, for example, does many kinds of jobs for a client. They include social media marketing, graphic design, video editing, and other tasks assigned to them.
When asked how much they would like to get paid, the least amount they exacted was $5 USD. According to one surveyed VA, pay rates may depend on the exchange rate between currencies.
4. Appreciate their commitment
This calls to mind a famous quote from Vince Lombardi of the NFL, “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince was a champion not merely in sports but particularly in leading his teams towards success.
Commitment is not something that you do overnight. By definition, it is the state of keeping on for a purpose. And it requires effort to maintain.
There have been stories of virtual assistants who suddenly leave their jobs without prior notice. Perhaps, you’ve heard about them too.
One thing that is many times referred to as the cause is the lack of benefits that a company provides.
In the Philippines, there is a list of benefits that companies can provide to their laborers. We selected some of them (according to the job offers we saw circulating the internet) that can also be provided to virtual assistants:
- 13th-month pay
- Token of loyalty
- Internet allowance
- Vacation leaves that are convertible to cash
- Paternity or maternity leave
- Rice allowance
- Mid-year bonus
- Paid training
- Referral bonus
According to the surveyed virtual assistants, paid training is without a doubt a must-have for them. Other benefits generated a variety of results. Still, you may consider using them to retain quality virtual assistants.
Here’s how important the VAs consider each benefit:
How likely will they stay if they have at least one of those aforementioned benefits?
Three of them said they would very likely stay with the benefits they receive. Two of them are undecided, another two do not see the connection in between, while the remaining two have their own thoughts on the matter.
5. Give them space to grow
All of those surveyed were very intent on improving their skills. They join groups, attend training, and take time to study their craft.
One VA said,
“I attend trainings and ask myself if I am on top of my industry.”
“I watch how-to videos and sign up for (mostly free) courses online. I also joined a few Fb groups where I could read about how other VAs tackle a similar task in the most effective way.”
Is it worth investing on someone to retain quality virtual assistants?
When asked how long they intend to work in the industry, clients would be happy to know that they intend to work for a couple of years. The minimum of which is three years.
- 3 of which are considering at least 5 years of tenure
- 5 are willing to work for a long time in general or even for a lifetime
The VAs have spoken.
At the end of the survey, we asked the virtual assistants if there were anything they wish to say to prospective clients. Here are their thoughts…
- “Be kind and you’ll find the right virtual assistant for you.”
- “There are lot of gems in the Philippines when you’re looking for a VA. It is truly worth your time and money when you give them the chance to work with you.”
- “A lot of people are interested to be a Virtual Assistant. Being a VA will not start from having a client, but it will start when you have already learned how to be a VA.”
- “You’ll never go wrong with hiring Filipino VAs.”
Here are a few more…
- “Get to know the person very well first before you let them join your company. There’s a saying that goes, “Hard work beats good talent when good talent doesn’t work hard.” In short, character is the key for a very good VA.”
- “Know your skills and be patient.”
- “Health Care and Tax are important for VAs.”
- “Study first what a virtual assistant does.”
- “The Philippines is rich with talented and competitive individuals. I think sometimes you just have to be patient and try to adjust to the culture. Still, thank you so much for considering our country. You are a blessing.”
Do you know of other ways to retain quality virtual assistants in your company? Let us know what you think in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!
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- When Things Fall Apart with Your Virtual Assistant