A quick word of advice to business owners in the process of hiring virtual staff: your work doesn’t end once they’ve signed the paperwork and clocked in for the first time. You’ll also need to track and evaluate them as they work!

And because virtual assistants work from overseas in different time zones, that necessitates a slightly different approach towards evaluating performance.

So, how can you ensure you’ve made the right call and that your virtual employees are performing as advertised?

Colleagues thinking looking at each other discussing job applicant resume

Evaluating Virtual Assistants

Virtual staff shouldn’t be exempt from quarterly or annual evaluations – in fact, formal evaluations are even more important for them!

Again, this is because of the distances involved. With your Melbourne-based team, it’s pretty easy to get a feel for how they’re performing – all you need to do is look over their shoulder.

When employing virtual staff however, this simply isn’t an option.

Missing evaluations and just letting them do their thing doesn’t just make it hard to track performance – it also shortchanges them of opportunities to grow professionally.


1) Measure your virtual assistant’s response times

Due to the distances involved, the majority of communication isn’t going to be face-to-face, but digital. This introduces a lot of potential downtime between communiques which can pose significant communication challenges

  • Emails can be buried
  • Pop-up alerts might be hidden
  • Calls can be missed altogether

This can lead to lost business and delayed jobs… or worse.

When evaluating virtual staff, it’s crucial that you look at their responsiveness too. Keep tabs of any instances where they took an unacceptably long time to get back to you.

And if you use an instant messaging service to keep in touch, take a look at the gap between your messages and their responses.

Finally, look at your weekly virtual meetings. We generally recommend weekly Skype meetings to ensure you and your virtual staff are on the same page. During these meetings, make a habit of tracking any tardiness.

All of these can give you an idea of how reliable and responsive your virtual staff are. Furthermore, they can tell you where you need to improve – if messages are being buried, is there a way to make notifications more prominent?


2) Do your virtual staff work efficiently?

It’s easy to tell whether your Melbourne-based staff are getting their tasks done on-time.

But your overseas virtual staff on the other hand? That’s a completely different story.

Unlike local staff, it can be hard to track how a virtual assistant is performing without direct supervision.

Our advice is to be much more active in following-up with your virtual staff. We recommend making weekly or even daily checklists with all your virtual assistant’s required tasks. As tasks are ticked off, measure those against the approximate amount of time taken to get a feel for how your virtual staff are performing.

Another good idea is to implement time-tracking software.

Time-tracking programs such as Time Doctor and VeriClock can measure time spend at work against individual tasks and projects. This gives you an in-depth look at what your virtual staff are doing, as well as how much time they’re spending on it.

This tells you exactly where the bottlenecks are, and can provide pointers to help speed things up.


Asian man virtual assistant with checklist

3) Attitude matters!

Unlike the other two, attitude is harder to quantify – you can’t put attitude into a number!

It mightn’t sound like a big deal, but any business owner will tell you that work attitude directly affects how virtual staff respond to the job and how they manage these situations:

  • How do they perform when facing tight deadlines?
  • What’s their attitude to unexpected complications?
  • Do they find solutions independently?

One real-world example of how attitude affects your business is data security.

With the majority of computer breaches due to the human element rather than code-cracking, attitudes towards privacy and sharing information can mean the difference between information staying confidential and a damaging data leak.

The best way to get a feel for somebody’s work ethic and attitude is to talk to them. And regular meetings and phone calls are the perfect excuse to do so.

In addition to the reasons listed above, regular meetings also give you an idea of your virtual staff and their attitudes towards work.

When the conversation turns to unexpected complications, pay attention to what your virtual staff say. If they mention finding a workaround or demonstrate similar initiative or demonstrate a positive attitude towards work, you’ve got a winner on your hands!


Virtualstaff365 helps you hire the right virtual staff

One of the most important parts of virtual staffing is making sure you hire the right virtual assistant right off the bat.

This is a lot harder than it sounds. On top of creating a job description and hosting an ad, you’ll have to screen, interview and vet applicants.

And all of this in a completely different country too!

If you’re out of your depth, you can always talk to virtual assistant services.

Virtual assistant services like VirtualStaff365 don’t just hire – we look after everything in the hiring process.

In addition to ensuring you’re matched with only the best candidates, we also give you the tools to make sure your virtual staff are performing as you expect:

  • Detailed time-tracking software
  • Project management tools
  • Advice on building effective communication systems

For over 6 years, we’ve provided effective outsourcing solutions to Australian businesses.

Check here what our virtual assistants can do for you, or contact us today to discuss your specific requirements.