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“Sorry to break it to you, Cindy, but you’re not Wonder Woman”

That’s what a friend (and mentor) told me a long time ago, totally oblivious to the thunderstorm he was about to cause. Oh, boy… He didn’t know what hit him. The thing is that even, as you can imagine, I know I’m not part of the DC Universe (duh!), I still got a bit upset. What he was actually saying was that I can’t save the day all by myself every single day.

I love the guy – and even though, sometimes I find it hard to hear the hard truths… eventually, once my ego has a chance to settle down – it’s usually those truths that help nudge some serious growth in my business.

He was right…. I mean, let’s face it: nobody wants to hear they can’t do everything themselves. Not you, not me, not any of your friends or mine. However, it’s one of those things we need to be reminded so we could stop overworking ourselves and destroying our own chances at success.

So, I’m eternally grateful that we live in a day and age of the Internet, and the amazing army of freelancers and remote workers it brought into our lives!

Having your remote sidekick or little army of technical and creative ninjas is better than having a super power! You can leverage their time, lower cost of living, skills, and creativity to create new products, offer stellar customer support, and generally take your business to the next level.

Virtual Staff

 


Getting Off to a Strong Start – the Basics

Getting your new virtual staff members onboarded and working ASAP is very important. After all, you’re paying for the help they’ll provide and you’d like to see it manifest into your bottom line as soon as possible, right?

Having a plan for the onboarding of a new remote worker means you’re thinking about both the new staff member and your existing team. A new addition to your squad of creative ninjas can slow down the rest of team if not handled properly.

Let’s start with the basic things you need to discuss and prepare for your new hire before their first day. This applies to any type of remote worker, no matter their skills or position.

#1 Forms, Agreements, Documents

  • Get their details for drafting a contractor/employee contract.
  • Send them a copy for review.
  • Get the document signed and added to your records.
  • Do the same for any other document you need them to sign – confidentiality agreement, time off policy, time tracking policy etc.

 

#2 Payment Details

  • Make sure you have the bank details / PayPal account for making the payments to your new staff member.
  • Inform them about the way and when the payments are going to be made.

#3 Confirm Their First Day with Everybody

  • Make sure your team knows when the new person will be joining them. Give them a few details about the new staff member – name, position, background.
  • Make sure their first day will be one when you or their direct manager will have the time to give them a proper welcome and guide them through the onboarding process.
  • If you already established a day, but you or their manager won’t be available, just inform them that they’ll start a day later.

#4 Software List

  • Create and send them a list of all the software programs your company is using.
  • This list should include the software they’ll use in their work, project management, social media channels, and online communication tools you’ll want them to use on the job. 

#5 Have Everything Ready for Day 1

  • Make sure you’ll have the necessary user accounts and licenses for their first day (time tracking, email).
  • Confirm that there’s a checklist for the entire onboarding experience for you or their direct manager to use.
  • Make sure your onboarding guide (or employee manual) is updated for the new staff member.

#6 Have a To Do list ready

  • Assess your needs and prioritise some tasks in order to present the new virtual staff member with a to-do list similar to what would happen on a normal day, but that wouldn’t eat up all their time.

onboarding

 

#7 Have a backup plan

  • In case something unexpected happens, make sure there’s someone else to guide the new team member on their first day.
  • If you’re the only one who could do it, at least make sure you have a draft email you could send them with a few tasks and helpful info.

Now that we covered what you need to prepare to avoid the worst things that could happen to someone on their first day on a new job (GG, you!), let’s dive deeper into what the onboarding process entails for the 6 most popular remote positions.

The General Onboarding Checklist

This little list applies to any new remote hire, no matter their position.

  • Give them access to their new email address.
  • Send them an invite to the time tracking software you’ll use.
  • Invite them to use the project management software you’re using.
  • Get them to sign up for any team communication platform you’re using.
  • Send them an email with a list of who’s who in your company and how to contact their team members.
  • Check that they correctly installed the time tracking software.
  • Send out an email to your entire team welcoming your new staff member.
  • Send them an onboarding checklist so they could also check if everything is covered.
  • Discuss your expectations for the role and theirs for the job.
  • Tell them about your business objectives and where they fit in.
  • Email them links to any useful documents they should check out before getting to work.
  • Instruct them what to do when they have a question and how to ask for help.
  • Talk to them about your company’s values and how to treat other on-site or virtual staff members.
  • Discuss what to do when their internet is down and can’t work.
  • Tell them about any remote work perks you’re offering.
  • Discuss what they should expect next: tasks and objectives for the next week and the next month.
  • Send them an initial to-do list and get them to reach out to you when they finished their first task.
  • Review their work and provide feedback.

With these out of the way, let’s look at the specifics of each of the 6 most popular remote positions.

Each of these checklists comes with a PDF you can download and use for later.  To grab them, just right click and click ‘save as’ – or click and open in a new window and then save from there.

How to Onboard a General VA

  • Send them a list of login credentials that would include your ‘office’ or ‘info’ email address, any online chat software, or social media accounts.
  • Instruct them on how to answer enquiries from potential leads.
  • Make sure they have access to info about your services and products.
  • Instruct them how to proceed when they need help handling a prospect or a negative comment.
  • Instruct them how to interact and work with the rest of the team.
  • Tell them what is your preferred spelling for the emails they’ll send or the social media answers they’ll post in your company’s name.
  • Share with them your calendar and make sure they’re allowed to add and edit entries.
  • Walk them through your business strategy and daily schedule.
  • Instruct them how to answer phone calls in the name of your company.
  • Get them CC-ed in your emails regarding payroll and accounting.
  • Discuss how you want them to sort incoming emails and if you also want them to check your company/personal email.
  • Instruct them on how to present any research you ask for and how to pitch you their ideas.
  • Create a WordPress account for them so they could approve/delete comments to your blog posts.
  • Instruct them how to maintain your contact list.

Download the Onboarding Checklist for a General VA

How to Onboard a Remote Social Media Manager

  • Send them a list of login credentials for the social media accounts you want them to manage.
  • Share with them older editorial calendars so they could see how a plan should look when you receive it for review.
  • Share with them any content guidelines you want them to take into account (tone, voice, style).
  • Present them the social marketing strategy for each channel.
  • Instruct them on what tools to use for scheduling the content, if you use any (Buffer, Hootsuite).
  • Give them access to the scheduling and monitoring tools you use.
  • Instruct them on where to look for photos for visuals or give them your stock photo website credentials.
  • Instruct them how to answer negative comments.
  • Instruct them how to handle spam.
  • Instruct them how to report their activity and results to you.
  • Give them access to any image editing tools you use for creating content (Canva, PicMonkey, Photoshop).
  • Instruct them how to work with other staff members for getting the visuals they need.
  • Instruct them on your preferred spelling and keywords.
  • Share with them your go-to websites for finding new content.
  • Talk about the right procedure for setting up ad campaigns.
  • Instruct them on how to handle social media leads.
  • Tell them where and how to save the content they are producing.

Download the Onboarding Checklist for a Social Media Manager

How to Onboard a Remote Web Developer

  • Give them access to your website’s Cpanel.
  • Send them the login credentials for your hosting provider.
  • Create an account for them on your WordPress website.
  • Ask them to review the past projects that other developers have worked on and check for bugs.
  • Send them a list of tools past developers have used.
  • Give them the login credentials for MailChimp, Sumo, and other email capturing software you’re using on your website.
  • Send them links to the downloaded WP themes and any tools/software you installed on your website.
  • Give them access to your Google Analytics account and get them to review your website’s Google Webmaster Tools
  • Send them the login credentials for any digital marketplace you used to buy digital assets.
  • Discuss how they’d want to work with your designer.
  • Instruct them on where they can find the files the designer prepared for them.
  • Instruct them on how to do source control or discuss their proposals.

Download the Onboarding Checklist for a Developer

How to Onboard a Remote Designer

  • Make sure they have Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or any other needed software installed.
  • Send them the vector files / editable source files for your brand identity.
  • Share with them any brand style books you have for your products/identity.
  • Give them access to the server/network where all the design files should be stored.
  • Send them instructions on how to find an older file they never worked on before.
  • Instruct them on how new files should be saved and named so others could find them if needed.
  • Give them your stock photo website login credentials.
  • Discuss your current briefing process and how it should be adapted to make it more efficient.
  • Instruct them on how to handle feedback coming from you vs. from someone else on the team.
  • Tell them how to best work with other staff members (copywriters, developers).

Download the Onboarding Checklist for a Designer

How to Onboard a Remote Content Writer

  • Create a new WordPress account for them and email them their login credentials.
  • Walk them through the process of creating a new blog post on your website.
  • Discuss your content needs and content marketing strategy.
  • Instruct them on how to send you new content for review.
  • Teach them to use an SEO tool to optimise the content they are creating.
  • Tell them what is your preferred spelling (American English, British English).
  • Share with them any content guidelines you want them to take into account (tone, voice, style).
  • Instruct them on where to look for photos for visuals or give them your stock photo website credentials.
  • Give them access to any image editing tools you use for creating content (Canva, PicMonkey, Photoshop).
  • Instruct them how to work with other staff members for getting the visuals they need.
  • Give them access to your keyword research tool.
  • Tell them where and how to save the content they are producing.
  • Get them to track the performance of each new piece of content they’re publishing.
  • Instruct them how to pitch new content ideas.

Download the Onboarding Checklist for a Content Writer

How to Onboard a Customer Support Specialist

  • Send them an invite, or provide them with a demo of your product/service.
  • Get them to test it out and write down their questions.
  • Ask them to go through the product/service documentation.
  • Answer their questions about the product/service.
  • Set them up with an account on the Customer Service Software / Support Ticket System / Customer Relationship Management System you’re using.
  • Get them to go through past interactions/support tickets.
  • Instruct them how to answer customers using the support ticket system or the software you’re using.
  • Teach them how to use the online chat, if you have one, to answer customers.
  • Teach them how to answer phone calls and record customer data, if that applies.
  • Make sure they have all the login credentials they need if they’ll answer client emails.
  • Instruct them how to ask for help.
  • Discuss the best way to deal with dissatisfied clients.
  • Instruct them when and how to issue refunds.
  • Share with them any past reports other employees have prepared.
  • Instruct them how to report their activity and results to you.
  • Teach them how to reach out to the development team and provide them with reports on bugs and functionality issues experienced by clients.

Download the Onboarding Checklist for a Customer Support Specialist

I might not be Wonder Woman, but I sure hope I’m helping at least of few of those internet marketers out there speed up things and start seeing their investment in virtual staff pay off.

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