If your virtual assistants are giving you a massive headache, it might just be time to fire them. In this article, we’re going to break down five signs that it might be time for you to fire your virtual assistant. By the end of this article, you’ll know what signs to look out for and try to avoid as you go about managing your virtual assistant team.
Sign 1: Work isn’t getting done.
The first sign you want to look out for is if the work just isn’t getting done. This is the most obvious sign that it’s time for you to fire your virtual assistant. And some common ways that this is shown is your virtual assistant stops responding to your messages or the work product is just not even there in the tracker that you guys use or just anything that would signal that very little has been done. And yet you are still getting billed for that work.
In the case where you’ve invested a ton of time in training your virtual assistant, you want to first check in with them and just make sure that everything’s okay. Sometimes there are things that just come up in people’s family lives or personal lives that caused them to be disrupted in work. And so you want to be accommodating in the case where you want to keep your virtual assistant around. And as long as they haven’t demonstrated a breaking of good faith in the past, it is better for you to keep somebody around and find a resolution to the challenges that you guys are facing then to potentially fire them.
However, in the case where you’ve already given them this sort of time period, work not getting done is a clear indicator and just cause for you to decide to move on to somebody else and onboard a new person onto your team. If you followed my advice from my other virtual assistant articles, then you know how important it is for you to be documenting everything. And the reason why is, because that way, it’s always easier for you to onboard a new team member in the case where things don’t work out.
The bottom line is if the results aren’t there, then it might be time for you to move on. Don’t make it an emotional decision, make it a rational one that’s based off of the business outcomes that you and your virtual assistants are accomplishing together.
Sign 2: Work isn’t done to your liking.
In the case where you’ve gone through a couple rounds of feedback, and you’ve been able to actually give the virtual assistant opportunities to improve, but they just still haven’t improved, then it might not be a good situation for the two of you to continue.
This is where you have to decide for yourself the extent to which you want to give particular tasks to certain virtual assistant. For example, if I know the strengths and weaknesses of my virtual assistants really well, then I might know that I can give Jerry the more raw tasks, whereas I can give Carrie the more advanced tasks that require more brain space.
So in other words, if I know that there are things that requiring higher level thinking, I might give those tasks to Carrie as opposed to Jerry. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your virtual assistants, you’ll get to know whether or not it’s actually time for you to move on or keep working on improving your virtual assistance ability in this particular area.
But don’t be afraid to also cut the cord. In the case where you’ve given feedback multiple times and they just can’t even do the baseline expectation of what you want out of them, it is often easier to just find and onboard somebody that can get at these first or the second time that you share your onboarding documentation with them.
For my teams, I like to make sure that my virtual assistants are jack of all trades and that they have particular strengths in one or two of the areas that they work in. And the reason why is because in the case where one of them gets bogged down by their schedule, another one can potentially pick up the work and vice versa.
By making sure that multiple people on my team can do certain tasks, I’m de-risking the probability of me, for example, missing an upload schedule or something else that might be important to my business or project.
For the second sign I would say that your mileage ultimately may vary. You might find that your virtual assistant does one thing exceptionally well, and that you thrive in being able to have them specialize on just that one thing.
But you might also find that you want more out of your virtual assistants and you want them to be able to have more than just one tool in their toolkit of ways that they can help you out. You have to make that call for yourself. But it’s something that you want to think about when deciding whether or not it’s time for you to fire a virtual assistant.
Sign 3: Lack of transparency in their work
The third sign you want to really be looking out for is whether or not there is a lack of transparency in your virtual assistant’s work. In the case where you’re using some sort of time tracker on Upwork, you can always review those time logs, but in the case where you’re using a more old-school approach, like a time tracker spreadsheet, you’ll just want to make sure that there is nothing irregular about the time records that are being kept by your virtual assistant.
For example, I have found that over time, sometimes virtual assistant starts to take more time than usual in the past for particular tasks that maybe took them 30 minutes, but they’re logging it as an hour or something like that. You want to make sure to keep an eye on that and check them in terms of the amount of time it’s taking them to do certain tests, just to make sure that they’re remaining honest with you and making sure that the relationship between you and them is not one in which one side is taking advantage of the other.
It’s really important that you guys have a good level of trust and rapport in the way that you guys account for time, pay for time, and to make sure that you are making sure on your end, that you are also paying your virtual assistants on the timely schedules of whatever payment terms you guys have.
Trust goes both ways. So, in one respect, you have to make sure that you give your virtual assistants enough room to breathe, to do the work that you’re giving them. But at the same time, you also want to make sure that your virtual assistants aren’t necessarily taking your good nature for granted in terms of the working relationship between the two of you guys.
For example, I had situations in the past where one of my virtual assistants that I worked with for years started to take random days off and he became really inconsistent because he also just really enjoyed to go out and party. And so, he would forget about work the next day. And it would be really frustrating for me and my team, because we didn’t know where he was.
And so over time, it really frayed our relationship and it forced me to have to find other virtual assistants and onboard them because they were more trustworthy and I could actually rely on their work product day in and day out.
Sign 4: You can’t get a hold of them.
Sometimes you have set up all the instructions, you’ve gone through around of feedback and all of a sudden that virtual assistant goes MIA. They’re just like poof! And they’re gone and out of the picture. This happens all the time and oftentimes, I find that the reason why this happens is because these virtual assistants sometimes enter virtual assistant work for the first time. They get overwhelmed and essentially, they end up taking too many clients.
And they’re really bad at communicating when they can’t do something ’cause they don’t like to tell somebody that they can’t do something. So instead, they just actually ghost the employer.
So, the best ways that I have found to combat this in the past is early on in the relationship, get your guys’ contact information beyond the platform that you’re using so that you can stay in communication with this person in more than one channel.
For example, if you have their email, it might be helpful for you to also onboard them into your company slack. That way you have a direct line of communication into a chat application, as opposed to just relying on old-school email.
Sign 5: Negative or sassy attitudes
What I mean by that is anybody that takes feedback really harshly or poorly is somebody that you generally won’t want to work with when it comes to a virtual assistant. The reason why is because you ultimately bring on a virtual assistant to free up time for yourself, not to just give yourself another person to manage.
So the ideal virtual assistant is somebody that’s coachable like I’ve covered in my previous articles. It’s really important for you to take note of this because in the case where the person you’re working with has a really negative or pessimistic attitude towards improving their work product, it’ll just wear down on you.
And it will cause you some stress in which over time, it’s just not worth it to continue working with that person. There is a global talent pool and there is so much talent out there that you shouldn’t get weighed down by just wanting to believe that this is the only person in the world that can do that particular task.
If you are in that predicament, my main piece of advice would be rethink your standard operating procedures and think about how you could rework that because in most cases, almost any task that you’re going delegate to a virtual assistant should be something that more than one person is able to do. If this sort of negative or sassy behavior only happens once or twice and a half year, it probably isn’t that big of a deal.
But if it’s a consistent pattern that you see with your virtual assistant, it’s something to definitely give them feedback on and see how they react to it, or to make the call that it’s time for you to find somebody that better aligns to what you’re looking for in your virtual assistant team.
As I shared in past articles around virtual assistants, a lot of the same traits that make great full-time employees make great virtual assistants. So, there’s really no time or place for a negative or sassy attitude in full-time work. And as a result, there’s really no time or place for there to be negative or sassy attitudes with virtual assistant teams.
There are two things that I want you to remember when it comes to looking for signs that it’s time to hire a virtual assistant.
- The first takeaway is it might be time for you to fire a virtual assistant if things are not working out and you’ve already given clear feedback.
- The second big takeaway is it might be time to fire your virtual assistant if the two of you just do not get along.
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That’s it for this time. If you found these five signs helpful and you want them for reference later on or any of my other virtual assistant tips and tricks, I’ve put together a quick free resource at the end of this article.