It is important to think carefully about how best to approach your virtual workers with feedback. This is critical to the process of successfully managing remote staff.
Timely feedback helps quality control. You must monitor carefully the progress of a team member who is doing a task for the first time. Even a small error can have big implications if it goes unchecked. They may not be formatting the resource box in the correct manner. For example, and this may have gone out to many sites. It will take time and effort to correct all those errors. It is much preferable to pay close attention to the work as it is being done and correct the mistakes along the way than having to go back and correct the errors if they have gone through to the client.
Feedback needs to be given regularly to your virtual administrative assistants and it needs to be both positive and negative. If your virtual assistant has done a good job, tell her and congratulate her on a job well done. She needs to be able to take negative feedback as well, as it is all about improving performance. ‘A’ players will want to get better at their tasks and constructive criticism can help them do just that. Anthony Robbins calls it CANI: Constant, Never Ending Improvement.
Some people use the sandwich technique when they are delivering negative feedback. This involves saying something positive to the employee, followed by the negative feedback and then finally giving some positive feedback. A smart assistant will see through this for what it is. They will feel that the only reason you are delivering the positive feedback is to cushion the blow of the negative feedback. It feels contrived, and as if you don’t really mean the positives you are expressing; they are there simply a lead in to the negative.
A good way to give feedback is first to ask your virtual workers if it is a good time for them to receive feedback from you. Say to them, may I give you some feedback? It may not be a good time. Perhaps something has happened at home which has put them in an unhappy frame of mind. It would be better if you spoke to them about their performance in a day or so.
The feedback you provide to them at this time should be comments on what they are doing well and also what could be done to improve their performance. When you do give them feedback, say to them, when you do and then add the behavior. Explain to them the effect their behavior has on the rest of the company. You can say to them, when you do this, here is what happens.
When you have made this clear to them, then you can suggest what they could do differently the next time. For example, you could say, when you don’t quality test your own work, I need to get someone else to go over your work. If it slips by, it might end up reaching the client and will make our business look bad.
The final step is that they might be able to suggest something different that they could do, or if not, you could provide them with some advice about this.
Giving feedback in this manner will result in happy virtual workers and also improvement in their work which can only lead to benefit for your business.
If you need more detailed advice on how to give constructive feedback to your virtual workers then check out these techniques included in the Outsource Profit Machine workshop by clicking here.