Virtual assistants retention problems is part-3 of the second interview from Stefan from Germany, who lives the Four Hour Work Week lifestyle in Thailand.
Click here to read part 2 – Fixed price vs hourly rate
- If you always keep firing the people, you are just running behind your project and it gets never done
- A good job description always help you to retain your workers so it’s recommended to communicate as clear as you can at the start of the cooperation.
- You need to handle your virtual employees very tactfully, otherwise they will flee away without any prior notice.
Start of the Interview:
If an assistant, when he works with an oDesk, chooses to leave the job because he can’t do it or because he doesn’t have the time; he risks two things. He cannot earn more money from you. And much, much more important, he risks a bad oDesk feedback score.
You, as the employer, have the responsibility and/or the power to communicate truthfully how your virtual assistant works for you during the contract. If he stopped working for you because he didn’t do what was agreed beforehand, in my opinion, that’s justification enough for a bad feedback score.
There are several subsections in the feedback score – the quality of the work, the punctuality, the availability, the communication and stuff like that. In this case, I would give a bad feedback score in availability and say in my comment, “Well we started out with an agreement, 10 hours per week. After 1 week, they didn’t do it. I wouldn’t recommend working without a clear contract, something like that.”
Yes. I totally agree with that.
This is not to scare to the worker or to destroy his future on oDesk. If you communicate that this would be the natural consequence, this does not seem inhuman for me.
I mean, you had an agreement if they break the agreement they should expect something to happen. If you don’t take your consequences then you will continue with this working style all the time.
Also, you have to note that when someone else is applying for your job, they will check out your feedback score. They will check out what sort of feedback you leave to your workers.
And if you leave such a worker feedback one time with the back feedback score and say, “Okay. Normally, I don’t give a bad feedback score without a reason but this guy didn’t deliver on our agreement of 10 hours per week.”
Then the next person who applies to your job will be very careful because they know you will take consequences of not fulfilling the time quota.
I think this is a mixture of being strict and honest. If it was me who would be in this situation, I would tell the assistant, “Okay, I see you deliver much less work than expected. If it’s a personal issue, please tell me. If you just lose your motivation then we need to figure a way out.”
Either they get their motivation back or we slowly fade out the work and then finish the job. And while they slowly fade out the job, they need to take notes about everything they have learned so that the training process for the next person is easier.
Okay. This is a very hard situation actually. Because when you ask your worker that you lose the motivation, that you lose the interest in the job. And he just replies to you, “Yes, I lost the interest in the job because, in my opinion, I understood it wrongly.I thought the job was easier, the job was more interesting” and whatever the personal reasons are.
He tells you, he isn’t interested in the job anymore but you have a contract; what are you going to do now? Are you just going to fire him because he made a bad decision for accepting the wrong job?
Firing is, perhaps, the wrong word. In practical situations, yes, you press the button to say end the contract. But in reality, this is open communication. You expected results, he expected some sort of work and the money. He doesn’t care seemingly about the money because the task is so not compatible to him.
He communicated that to you. So this is honest. This has to be respected. And now, we see where to continue, okay? One step would be to save the time trained into him by having him note down what he learned. That is damage control.
The second thing is you say, “Okay, thanks for communicating this. The next person I hire, I will be more clear with the communication if it’s interesting or not.” So you can have him write down what is not interesting on the job and put this as an attachment in the next job description. And say, “Review the job description. If you don’t agree to do this; if you don’t agree to do, for example, boring work…”
Or apply for what’s too difficult for them because he didn’t understand the work.
Or that. I think both of that are totally viable. As long as there’s some improvement in your hiring process then you get closer to your goal. If you try the same job description the second time, you will have the same result the second time unless you’re lucky.
Yes. So as conclusion, you gave me the idea that every time you employ someone and you face problem like at the start, you should have him or her write a new job description for you.
That is one idea. Of course, you don’t want to pay that…
And you’re going to do is take that and change your existing one. Mix it up. Create a new one that is better. And then when that happens again, you let that person create a new job description.
So you, again that leaves a good, perfect job description.
If you want to save some time and money, you can also do a few job description increasement loops at the beginning of your job. Just hire someone to understand the job and to increase your job description quality. Communicate that so let the people convince you to keep them.
We are not; we are never forced to give out money. If you are happy with the work and want to continue the job, then continue to spend money.
If you are not happy, no one forces you to keep a contract. You can remove your credit card information whenever you want. You shouldn’t ever think that your money is to be taken for granted. You work hard for your money.
You expect hard results for your money. And if you don’t get them, be quick with damage control.
The only problem will be the job gets never done.
If you always fire the people or remove the contract, you are just running behind your project and it gets never done
Leave a Reply