Training a new assistant, whether you’re training a new personal assistant in person or training a new virtual assistant, takes time. You don’t want to simply insist that your new assistant jump in without proper training, but it can prove tough to manage all those training needs. Looking for strategies that will help you train your new assistant? We can help.
COMMON PITFALLS WITH TRAINING ASSISTANTS
Training your new assistant is an important step. By learning what pitfalls appear most commonly, however, you can avoid those pitfalls and improve your ability to train your assistant effectively. Common pitfalls include:
- Failing to set boundaries, including personal boundaries between your work and personal relationship with your new assistant
- Adding on busy work to fill the assistant’s hours, rather than respecting their time and the things you really need them for
- Failing to provide clear expectations for performance, job responsibilities, and tasks that need to be completed
- Micromanaging, rather than trusting the assistant’s personal capabilities
BEST PRACTICES FOR TRAINING AN ASSISTANT
If you’re training your assistant, you can start by utilizing these key best practices, which can give your assistant a better idea of what to expect and how to fill those important job responsibilities.
1. ASSESS WHAT YOUR ASSISTANT ALREADY KNOWS.
Zirtual’s virtual assistants, for example, are already highly trained and qualified, which means that they have the ability to handle many tasks unassisted. Some assistants may already be experts in a specific field or have a great deal of specific knowledge. By starting with an assessment of what your new assistant already knows, you can provide better training tailored to what they need to know to work for you, specifically.
2. SET OUT CLEAR EXPECTATIONS.
Make sure your new assistant knows exactly what’s expected of them. Discuss what their job duties will be, how they will need to complete them, and how you will measure performance. Explain exactly how you want specific tasks completed, especially if you actively care about certain aspects of that task.
3. SET OUT EASY LINES OF COMMUNICATION.
Your new PA, VA, or EA will need to work closely with you. Communication, however, is not a one-way street. Your new assistant needs to know how to communicate with you, whether they have questions, problems, or information that you need to see. Make sure your assistant knows how to reach you and who to communicate with regarding any questions or issues.
HOW TO TRAIN A PA
In training a personal assistant, make sure that you separate your personal and professional needs, clearly establish the PA’s roles, and provide your assistant with all the information they need to accomplish their goals.
HOW TO TRAIN AN EA
Training an executive assistant includes building trust along with building that training. Make sure you assess your new EA’s skills carefully. Do not try to micromanage! Micromanaging an EA can leave you with just as many difficulties as handling those tasks on your own.
HOW TO TRAIN A VA
Virtual assistants may need a little additional care during the training period. Make sure your VA has a specific trainer who will work with them, answer their questions, and assist them in learning how to use your specific systems for a more effective working relationship.
HOW TO SYSTEMATIZE YOUR PROCESSES
Whether you go through assistants on a regular basis or find yourself needing to hire multiple assistants, ideally, you want each one to have the same training processes. As you define each assistant’s job roles, responsibilities, and expectations, you can create a more systematic approach to training that can make it easier for you to connect with a new assistant and provide the tools they need to succeed in the position.
HOW TO USE AND CREATE SOPS
Want to create SOPs for your new assistant? Make sure that you:
- Start with your end goal: the things you want your assistant to know.
- Identify who you’re creating them for: if you’re creating an SOP for training, you could be speaking to the trainer or to the assistant
- Clearly define your standards
HOW TO FIND AN ASSISTANT THAT NEEDS LESS TRAINING AND HAND-HOLDING FROM YOU
At Zirtual, we offer highly qualified virtual assistants who have the experience needed to fit quickly into a new organization. That means less training and less effort on your part. In order to find an assistant that meets your needs, consider:
- Working with a provider that can connect you with an EA, VA, or PA that meets your needs.
- Clearly defining the role and your expectations for it to make it easier for your provider to find the assistant that will meet your needs.
- Knowing what skills, including both soft and hard skills, your assistant needs in order to effectively fill the open role.
Finding the right assistant for your position and training them effectively can lead to a much more effective working relationship over time. By utilizing these strategies, you can improve your training and design a more effective relationship.