Companies such as United Health, Dell and IBM are integrating virtual assistants or telecommuters into their respective work forces. The strategy has been so successful that the number of virtual assistants as a percentage of the work force is estimated to increase from 37% in 2015 to 50% in 2020.
Integrating virtual assistants into the work force reduces costs, improves productivity and introduces greater business flexibility. Here are 5 steps to integrate virtual assistants into your work force:
Come Up with a Development Time Table. Every development plan should have a time- table which will detail all the activities that need to be undertaken to integrate virtual assistants into the work force.
For example, if you were planning to integrate virtual assistants after 6 months your time-table could be look like this:
- Prepare guidelines for selecting and recruiting employees.
- Prepare testing materials
- Scope out potential sources for virtual assistants
- Designate virtual assistance management team
- Summarize and categorize all tasks and responsibilities
- Start out with 2 shifts; 4 hours each per candidate.
- Schedule weekly Process Improvement meetings for candidates.
- Evaluate performance of all candidates.
Recruit Prospective Candidates for Virtual Team. The first step to recruiting talent for your virtual team is acquiring talent.
You should determine the sample size of talent you need to find the required number of virtual assistants. Usually the standard for qualifying talent is 20%. Lower the percentage so you can increase the size of the sample.
For example, if you need 5 virtual assistants for your team:
5 virtual assistants / 0.15 (Qualifying Rate) = 33.33
You will need to acquire a sample size of 33 candidates in order to find 5 qualified virtual assistants.
Conduct Weekly Evaluation of Virtual Team Members. When you are trying to build up a core group of virtual assistants, you must constantly monitor their performance. You can do this by adapting the following methodologies:
- Create and implement benchmarks or metrics
- Create a scoring and grading system that covers work accuracy, statistics and ethics or work attitude
- Include a self- assessment test
The cumulative scores of the evaluation tests will provide the bases for selecting your core group of virtual assistants.
Start Out with a Pilot Test Group. It is always better to start out with a conservative approach and use a small group for pilot testing. You should expect that there will be problems in the initial stages.
Pilot testing will be like putting the virtual team inside a fish bowl. You can see how they work and evaluate how the systems are holding operation together. You can pinpoint weaknesses and flaws in the system and recommend improvements to fine tune the virtual team.
Slowly Expand VA Group. Once the benchmarks and metrics have shown healthier baseline numbers, you can start taking the next step of expanding the virtual assistance group.
The number of new virtual assistants will depend on the estimated increase in the volume of work and of course, your targeted ROI. After2 quarters, you should have a better idea on the number of virtual assistants you should contract until the end of the year.
As technology continues to evolve and provides businesses with the tools to make virtual assistance work more efficient, expect more work forces to integrate virtual assistants into the fold. It is a cost effective and highly efficient strategy that will help businesses maintain their bottom-line.