Staff turnover is inevitable in any business. And this is no different when your staff are Virtual Assistants. Many businesses will have an even greater turnover with virtual staff. You can greatly reduce the risk of turnover with the right management, but the inevitability of staff turnover will always prevail.
Unfortunately, replacing a virtual assistant isn’t easy. It can’t be solved by just getting someone new in the office to shadow the previous employee so they can learn the tasks. It requires a little more forward thought and preparation. Quite often, when someone decides to leave, it will be an immediate change. With an immediate impact on your business and your productivity. There is no expectation of ‘two weeks notice’ in the world of virtual assistants.
The best thing you can do to future proof yourself from VA turnover is to be prepared. I’m going to share with you a few systems we use. These ensure that, if we need a replacement to take over immediately, the information and instructions are all there and ready to go. And with these systems, even when we do have a virtual assistant depart, there are little to no negative effects on our productivity as a result.
Step 1. Use a password management system
We use LastPass internally (but there are plenty of other options like 1Password, Keeper and Dashlane). A password manager allows us to share passwords with the relevant staff – without needing to share the actual password. If they leave, it is a simple click of a button to remove their access to everything – rather than having to change every password and update everyone else of the new logins.
Step 2. Have your VA set up and maintain an Operations Manual
When your VA is starting in a new role, have them create a manual as they go. This should include all information like daily tasks, KPIs, links to any relevant information/trackers etc. Having all this information in one place means if someone needs to take over it is very easy for them to see what needs to be done.
I also recommend having your VA create and record instructions for what they are doing and how to do it. This is going to make it much easier for a replacement to come in with little effort from you in managing a handover. It also provides an additional opportunity to ‘spot check’ their work – you’ll see if they are able to accurately complete each step of the process while they’re explaining it.
Step 3. Record instructions and tips, save to a shared database
Whenever I have a new VA starting, or a role with new tasks being created, I film EVERYTHING. Every instruction, every how-to, every tip I have on being more efficient etc. As I’ve mentioned in this blog on how to provide instructions to a VA, training a VA in this way helps them to learn quicker. It also gives them a reference to turn back to without needing to bother you.
The same thing goes for a replacement VA. If you are left in a position where your VA is gone and you have had to replace them, if you have recorded and stored all up to date information, FAQs etc. they should be able to review this all without even needing your assistance.
All of a sudden, your onboarding/ handover turns from 5 x 2 hour calls in the first week to 1 x 1 hour call to confirm understanding after the new VA has already looked through and taken in all instructions.
Step 4. Have a reliable manager that understands all the tasks
In our team, everyone reports to a Team Leader and that person is responsible for knowing just as much about what the VA is doing as they do. Your VA should never know how to do something that you or their TL don’t know – or at a minimum, that they haven’t recorded instructions and provided detail on. Relying on staff in this manner in general is risky. When you don’t have the benefit of two weeks notice, you could put yourself at a big disadvantage if your VA leaves and they were doing something that you have no idea how to replicate for someone else.
So even though there is also the possibility of turnover with a manager, this is a definite way to reduce the risk of a VA leaving with no one else knowing what they do and how to do it.
Most people employ a VA to save themselves time, so don’t open yourself up to the potential for greater time commitments by creating a bottleneck in all the information being stored in your or your VAs head, it is only going to make things harder for yourself when the inevitable happens and someone else needs to take over.
For more tips, be sure to check out our new book, The Virtual Assistant Advantage.