One of the biggest hurdles we face with first hiring a Virtual Assistant is getting over the Trust issue.
Likely we won’t consider it when initially hiring someone, actually looking for a characteristic of the person called “Integrity”.
But what’s even more important is having some type of plan in place, a series of steps, or gates, that a person will need to pass through to establish that trust.
Furthermore, we don’t even consider that our new Virtual Assistant is trusting US in multiple ways.
Thus, we need to create two plans to establish trust:
- The plan that will help us to trust the new person we’ve just hired
- The plan that will help the new person we’ve just hired to trust us
A good way to think about this is how do two people establish trust between themselves in a romantic relationship, that may eventually lead to marriage, having kids, sharing finances, retiring, and then ultimately taking care of each other when growing old?
OK, now maybe that’s going too far, but you get the point.
In every human relationship, even between business partners, and also companies, trust plays a pivotal factor.
From reading the book “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey, the main point is that the more you can trust someone, the faster things move.
For example, if you can trust each other based on simply a handshake, you can start executing on shared interests immediately, as opposed to waiting days, weeks, or even months, for contracts to be drawn up, reviewed, and signed.
So what’s involved in these two different trust plans when hiring a Virtual Assistant?
It can be broken down into these factors:
Let’s look at all four of them.
But first, as you’re considering the factors, make sure you have backup plans to recover, or take over yourself, in case trust breaks down. For example, if you do ever give your VA access to a credit card, establish a strict limit.
Gates are a series of barriers, or doors, that must be unlocked by the person under control. That person is either you or your VA.
Example gates for you may be
- Passwords to use some of your tools
- Passwords into some of your accounts such as websites, social media pages, etc.
- Passwords into one set of client accounts, say a client account that isn’t critical to your business.
- Passwords into all of your client accounts
- Passwords into all of YOUR accounts related to business
- Communicating directly with a client
- Access to a credit card to make purchases for you
- Access to your financial information
- Access to your bank accounts (Oh, no, the holy grail!)
Example gates for your VA may be
- Are my first assignments in line with what I was told?
- Is there a way to know I’m successful?
- Did I get paid what was promised, and on time?
- Can I say something my new boss won’t like or agree with, and will they react appropriately?
- Are they available to help me and I can ask questions of them?
- Do they want to help me grow in my skills and as a person?
- Do they care about me?
You can see there is a gradual path to building a level of trust to where you can both be open and honest with each other.
Actions are the things you’ve defined that you and/or the new person must perform in order to pass through the next gate.
Those actions really come down to successfully executing on the tasks you’ve given them at the level of trust that they’re at.
For example, are the using the tools you’ve given them access to and producing the result you’re desiring? Or better yet, are they exceeding your expectations?
Another example is are you having regular communication sessions with them, allowing and encouraging their input, so that you’re moving to the next gate in their mind? Even better, are you paying them on time, every time, and what was promised?
Timelines are how soon and quickly do you want them, or they allow you, to get through the gate?
Some can be sped up, others just simply take time. And part of this is a feeling you’ll get, and you’ll need to bounce that feeling off of others, like in our HireMyVA community.
We were helping a client in their business with a VA, and we could tell they were restricting their VA too much, that the VA had way more capability than what they were allowing the person to demonstrate. So we gave some recommendations of letting them communicate with clients and to take more responsibility on the help desk, and the person has shined!
It’s critical that between gates, you monitor what they are doing.
It doesn’t mean every second.
Here are some ideas:
- Just watch what their communication is like
- Watch their actions
- Have a good system of monitoring them, like how many todos they check off and get done
- How they are conversing with a client and you
- Check your credit card statement if you’ve given them access to a card
- See what they are doing in the client accounts you’ve given them access to
- Check your licenses, that they are using them only for your company purposes and not for themselves
There are two things that are a major piece of the trust puzzle, that if you do these things or have this attitude, you’ll be on the right path.
- If you can answer this question regarding your Virtual Assistant, and if your Virtual Assistant can answer yes to this question regarding you, your level of trust is pretty good, and can kinda sum up everything we talked about:
“Does this person have my best interest at heart?”
- Communication – it needs to be often and multiple types.
Meanwhile, when you start, take a few minutes and create the two plans, considering Gates, Actions, Timelines, and Monitoring.
That thinking/planning will go a long way to helping you establish trust between you and your Virtual Assistant.