Today, we are so excited to have Davina Adcock from Pushpay on the blog today. Davina manages content at Pushpay and has several years of experience writing for tech startups, magazines, and companies that serve the Church. Alumna of The University of Texas, she enjoys two-stepping in the Lone Star State, visiting cool AirBnbs, and eating pad kee mao.
Having a virtual assistant helps bring order to chaos. No matter how well-staffed your team is, these hires can help increase productivity and nurture organizational growth.
But having this additional team member doesn’t just mean giving them work to do and leaving them to it. They’re like any other employee: They have unique needs, work differently than other team members, and can either be sold out on your organization’s vision or struggling from lack of access to information. Without the right touchpoints, actions, and communication channels, virtual assistants may be sitting on untapped potential energy and creativity that can instead help grow your ministry.
That’s why it’s critical to properly connect with and collaborate with your virtual assistants to get the most of the hours they work for your team.
Here are some simple ways you can get the best work from your virtual assistants.
Share your vision
Good work happens every day, but nothing great gets accomplished without people understanding the “why.” Who founded your ministry? What makes it unique? What’s your mission and vision? How are you working to get there?
Have a chat with your assistant before they officially join your team, and go through all of these insights about your organization. Talk about your culture and why people like working on your team. And most importantly, get buy-in. When people are sold out on your organization’s vision, they have a better idea of their part to play in its success and can make contributions with more clarity.
Plus, knowing your organization’s why gives your assistants the opportunity to grow passionate about what you do, and passion always leads to more happiness at work, greater collaboration, better ideas, more productivity, and growth over time.
And it may not come as a surprise, but this is even truer of millennial assistants.
Equip them well
Not all of your software tools are a good fit for your organization. But you’re not alone. Most organizations, regardless of size, have at least one tool that’s outdated or should be replaced in order to improve efficiency and productivity. But it’s not that simple, digital tools are often costly and the good ones are hard to find.
But the cost of not upgrading your tech tools can be steep.
It not only wastes staff time, discourages adoption by your community members, and carries security risks, but it also encourages redundant work for your virtual assistants. Instead of having a single multi-faceted tool for collecting donations, for instance, many organizations are burdened with three or four so-so tools. Assistants now have to juggle data syncing among multiple systems and combing through information to double check accuracy.
Bad tools give everyone more work, and especially fill their days with redundant administrative work. If your virtual assistants are expected to use these tools, it can be a stumbling block to doing great work.
If they have suggestions for software that can improve efficiency and free up everyone’s time to do more important work, explore those options with your wider team. Better digital tools may be slightly more expensive than what you’re currently using, but you’ll save in staff time and productivity, and benefit from more time dedicated to work that helps propel your organization forward.
Finding the right technology tools isn’t always easy or straight forward. In fact, it can be a divisive decision for your team if the tech buying process isn’t done correctly. Discover the technology-buying process that’ll make it easier to choose the right software for your organization. Download the free [*Church Technology Buyer’s Guide* today!
Get to know them
This may sound obvious, but having a finger on the pulse of who’s on your staff and how they work together is vital. The people you’ve worked with for months or years know you really well because they see you all the time. They’ve learned the things you dislike, your likes, habits, strengths, and weakness. Your virtual assistants don’t know you or your team and vice versa.
With the popularity of personality tests like the Myers-Briggs or Enneagram, it’s relatively easy nowadays to understand who’s on your team. Do you have Reformers? Defenders? Achievers? Not only that but do you know birthdays, kids’ names, where people grew up?
Take the time to get to know your assistants as people, not just individual contributors. Remind them that they matter to you and your team because they do. It’s difficult to work solo or away from people all the time. That means your efforts to truly get to know your assistants helps them feel more connected to your organization—and group cohesiveness breeds collaboration and productivity.
Check in with your assistants
Think about some of your strongest team members—they often ask some of the best questions and have the best ideas. Virtual assistants are much the same, except they don’t get as much face time with you. That means some excellent ideas or thought-provoking questions that can help spur healthy organizational change may slip through the cracks.
Sure, they’ll ask you when they connect for your regularly scheduled meetings, but it’s important to make yourself equally available to them as you are to in-person staff.
Give them a good number they can reach you at and set reasonable expectations about when you can be contacted. Let them know they have a direct line to a decision-maker on the team and welcome their ideas and suggestions. New assistants who come in with fresh eyes are especially filled with enthusiasm and a new take on your processes. Listening and acting on those ideas can help level up your organization like never before.