How Do You Performance Manage an Underperforming VA

How Do You Performance Manage an Underperforming VA

Fact: If you cut corners you often get a lower than expected result. This statement EXACTLY applies when looking at an underperforming Virtual Assistant.

In reality it’s not the ‘Fault’ of the employer, they simply weren’t shown the steps you should follow to ensure your VA stays on track.

Today we discuss how you can take an underperforming VA and bring them back inline with the objective of your business.


Time Stamps

Reasons For A Underperforming Why A VA – Time: 1:00
Why You’re At Fault And What To Do About It – Time: 1:43
Figure Out What They’re Doing – Track their results – Time: 2:28
Make Sure They Understand The End Result – Time: 3:44
Define The Rules – Time: 4:25
Offer Feedback – Time: 5:28
Set Goals And Objectives – Time: 5:52
Communicate Using Their Best Method Of Communication – Time: 6:55
Get Someone Else To Follow Up And Manage Them – Time: 7:50
Rolling Out Change Gradually – Time: 8:40
How To Handle An Outsourcer With Personal Issues – Time: 9:20
In the Next Video – Time: 10:15


Hey, David Judge here and today I’m going to answer what you can do when you are dealing with an under performing Outsourcer (or VA) in your business and the best methods to performance manage that person.

What I’m talking about is from my own hands on experience combined with the experience of others that have approached me to help them to get their VA to perform.

There’s a really fine balance when you find a person that isn’t performing in your business in making the decision to either let that person go or to identify the steps to turn them around.

I do have to say while are times a VA should simply be ‘let go’ where a lot of times it’s a matter of seeing what you should change what you’re doing to get them to perform.

This is especially the case if you have a person that has been a part of your business for an extended period of time and you don’t want to have to retrain a new person to do the same tasks.

Reasons For A Underperforming Why A VA

Ok so, There are a lot of reasons you may end up with an underperforming VA including:

– Family and/or personal issues
– They’re taking advantage of you
– You didn’t filter the person you employed
– They lack direction
– They don’t don’t understand the job
– You’re not communicating the tasks effectively
– You’re not keeping an eye on them
– They don’t understand the rules

I’m not sure if you’ve notice of the 8 areas I just mentioned 7 of them are as a result of the employer (and yes I mean 7 as if they’re taking advantage of you then you’re the one that is letting that happen).

Why You’re At Fault And What To Do About It

I can tell you now most employers of under performing VA’s think they have a crap VA (and this can certainly be the case) many times it’s because their employer simply doesn’t understand and follow the rules of outsourcing.

Anyway, I’m here to help so lets move on and talk about how you can handle an underperforming VA and how you can direct them to becoming a valuable part of your team. These are practical tips you can use to apply to your Outsourcer to get them to perform.

If you haven’t applied some of these it’s ok as now’s the it’s time to draw a line in the sand and to use today as a new day where you can turn it all around.

Lets go.

1. Figure Out What They’re Doing – Track their results

You may have heard before that I personally use Hubstaff as it lets me get snapshots of their screen, records their time and places it against a benchmark so you can see how well they are performing.

I do like this way of team monitoring and when you approach an existing team member that has been taking advantage of you normally do get resistance.

When this is the case I usually tell them this is a more accurate way of tracking the hours they’re working on projects, to understand how we can improve what they’re already doing and most importantly to pay them properly.

2. Make Sure They Understand The End Result

If a person is going to OWN their job, then they need to have a WHY. This is why you have employed them to do the job and the difference they are going to make in your business…

But what if they use that against me and try to get me to pay them more??? Well, I never share financials with my team (unless they are in that role) and if they are doing a good job then you should review and pay them more every year for a job well done. This will also help them to OWN their job and to give a damn about you.

3. Define The Rules

I like to do this at the beginning, but it’s never too late to lay down or advise your rules of business. I find the smaller simple things add up to a better performing VA and as a result I have a number of smaller conditions in place.

These include a set start time where each person says good morning, mentioning when they are going on a break, communicating regularly when I am interacting, answering me when I ask a question and many other small areas.

Any areas that may come into play here that stop the job from getting done should be established and agreed on.

This not only offers me piece of mind, it also gives a anchor point of reference to use if I need to performance management later.

4. Offer Feedback

Let your VA know when they did well and when they can improve on what they are doing.

It is really easy to get tied up on the day to day (yes, I’m guilty of that too) and keep putting it aside, but you should lock-in time each week (10 mins is enough) where you to communicate valuable feedback and insights.

5. Set Goals And Objectives

This is a REALLY important step and can be similar tasks each week, but they should be defined. The way I handle this is different depending if I’m managing the person within my business or managing VA’s for clients. Let’s go with if I’m managing them myself.

On Monday, we have a call that talks about what we’re going to get done that week and my team member records their tasks on a Google drive doc that I can see. This call would normally last 15-20 mins and we talk about the last weeks progress and cover off the tasks for this week. We also ask and answer each others questions at this time and then part ways.

We do still chat throughout the week but I can tell you that process of talking on the phone has made it soooo easy to gauge and understand each other and the tasks we need to get done. This leads really well onto number 6…

6. Communicate Using Their Best Method Of Communication

Personally I work best when I can TALK directly to my VA using voice communication (like skype) and I have found this form of 2-way communication allows us to cover off so much in a very short time frame. When I also chat to each person and I assign a task, I ask them to repeat the task back to again to ensure they understand it best.

You cannot get this level of communication using email or type chat within such a short period of time and the reduces the risk of miscommunication which can take a task totally off track.

7. Get Someone Else To Follow Up And Manage Them

This is an optional extra and a service we offer each client, where we have a person that manages each VA and makes sure they are getting the tasks done in a timely fashion and within spec.

You do still need to talk to your VA to assign tasks, but the supervisor handles the ‘elbow grease’ so you can focus on your business.

Sure you don’t need a supervisor yet we have found it means you can maintain a friendly level of communication and reduce the stress when there are performance issues that need to be addressed.

Before we finish up I wanted to mention one last point… In many instances an underperforming VA can be turned around, especially if you look at implementing these 7 areas.

Rolling Out Change Gradually

It’s not always best to just dump the whole CHANGE on the team member at one time and more important to roll out the changes over time.

I would always start off with ‘Time Tracking’ and roll the rest out gradually over a few weeks.

Also, once you do roll them out you may need to make the decision to let them go, so you do need to be aware that you may need to replace them.

And actually, I have one more final point (that’s like 2 final points and how does that work???)

How To Handle An Outsourcer With Personal Issues

Anyway, you may also have a VA that is underperforming due to personal circumstances.

I constantly have and remind my team about my open door policy and encourage them to let me know if they have any challenges.

When I come up against these I like to talk it through and where possible cut them a little slack, but I do understand I am running a business and if I know they’re not going to be able to perform at the level required that I will have an issue… At times this will mean you will have to replace them, but I always ensure you work toward a solution first and then only use that as a last resort.

In the Next Video

Ok, big juicy subject today, so lets wrap up and talk about the next video.

In the next video we’re going to discuss – Specific Tasks You Can Get A VA to Perform in your business. This is really good timing as I have a little surprise that coming out with that video that will offer real value for you.

If you have a question you would like me to answer make sure you get in contact and I love to hear from you.

As always this is David Judge talking outsourcing and showing businesses how to work Smarter.

How do I make sure my VA is performing?

How do I make sure my VA is performing?

One of the most common complaints I get when I talk to people about outsourcing is it’s too hard to understand if my outsourcer is actually performing.

In today’s video I’m sharing the top tools a guy that has over 86,000 hours experience uses and how you can gain complete CLARITY on your outsourced team and how well they’re performing.

If you’ve never Outsourced then this is an important video for you to watch as I cover the Foundational ways you should use to make sure your VA is performing.



Hello and Welcome, David Judge here and in my last video I spoke about the top tools you can use to stay in touch with your VA.

In today’s short video I’m going to take it to the next level where I discuss and answer How do I make sure my VA is performing?

Now if you haven’t had a VA before I want to you keep watching as you’ll gain valuable insights on a couple of Do’s and Don’ts around outsourcing.

The 2 Extremes of an Outsourcers Performance

When we look at the question ‘How are they performing’ you can actually interpret this in so many different ways and in my experience this comes from 2 totally different extremes.

From the one extreme it’s cause they’re outsourcing and they want to make sure they’re taking good care of and upskilling their person (this is how I work with my team).

On the other extreme (and more commonly) it’s because they’re not totally confident that their VA is getting the jobs done and they think the whole promise of getting a outsourcer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

So, lets get into this and really delve deep into how you can make sure your outsourcer is getting the work done and how you can measure their performance.

The Top 5 Ways to Track Your VA’s Performance

First things First… when you looking at outsourcing you need to first of all invest a little time in understanding the tasks you would like them to perform.

1 – Identify the Tasks

In a previous video I actually cover in detail how to identify what a VA can do for you so make sure you check out my website for that post.

In all honesty this is a critical step as it helps establish the foundation for your entire relationship and makes sure you’re getting total value from the outset.

So make sure you invest the time in laying out those tasks at the beginning.

2 – Lay Out the Expectations

Ok, second… Lay out the Expectations.

What’s really funny is when I’m approached by a person that already has a VA and asks me to help bring them inline with the tasks guess what.. they haven’t laid out the expectations.

The common issues here are:

1 – No NDA signed (so they’re not protected)

2 – They don’t have a set start or finish time (what’s called flexi time). I very rarely allow this as I find most people work best under a repetitive structure

3 – They make friends, which then allows room for the outsourcer to take advantage of you (now this isn’t just outsourcing, if you make friends with most employees it can go pear shaped and this is again another reason we manage VA’s for clients)

4 – They don’t ask the tough questions. I always want to know if there are any reasons I may have issues down the track and I ask!!! For me and my clients we outsource overseas, so I want to have that peace of mind and ask at the beginning

5 – You don’t make it clear that they can’t work with other clients or stuffing around on my coin. When you’re working for me, during my hours and I’m paying you, work for me, only!

The reason I actually follow this model now, is in the beginning I made these exact mistakes and paid for them every single time.

Now I’m not a total dictator as my team needs to own and grow, but I do keep these simple rules in place.

3 – Break the Tasks Down into Manageable Bites

Next, I break the teams tasks in weekly buckets. Ok, so this next one is a bit of work and is the reason I have supervisors who oversee each VA for me.

It does help keep your team member on track, highlights any important tasks for that week and gives them a worksheet to refer to when you’re too busy handling other stuff (and I’m telling you that will happen and it’s cool to know they’re being productive and ticking away while you’re handing what you need to).

4 – Track The Results

Ok, the last point. Watch their performance and track their results.

I always mention to VA’s that we’re watching their performance and I offer feedback.

How do I do this?

There are many softwares you can use to do this, and the 2 I use are Hubstaff and Google Drive.

Hubstaff lets me see snapshots of their screen and measures their keyboard strokes and mouse movements and Google drive is where you can place your weekly tasks.

They can also put how long it takes for them to complete a task and you can look an guage based on your own experience. Again this takes a small amount of time at the beginning but will make them almost totally independant down the track.

5 – Outsource Your Outsourcing

A bonus is to put a supervisor above them to grow and monitor their performance which is what I offer when you employ a VA through me 🙂

Ok, so that’s it and I tell you if you implement these key areas you’ll have an airtight method to getting your Outsourcer to perform.

In the Next Video

Ok, the next video we’re going to talk about –

How much should I pay for a VA and / or Outsourcer

This is a really interesting question as the prices totally vary and we’ll discuss the concept of getting what you pay for.

If you have a question you would like me to answer make sure you get in contact and I love to hear from you.

As always this is David Judge talking outsourcing and showing businesses how to get more done, keep your costs down and Enjoy your life.