Working with a virtual assistant (VA) not only lightens your workload but also increases your efficiency. With more time in your hands, you can now focus on the things you want to do and accomplish what you need to do without feeling overworked or overwhelmed.
After working with their VAs for some time, certain business owners discover that their VAs are diamonds in the rough. They have the potential to be an executive assistant (EA) given enough training. They realize that the highly skilled virtual professionals they’re working with can do more than just administrative tasks.
So, how do you get your VA to EA level? How do you determine her readiness and competency? Today, we’ll help you navigate this delegation and promotion process. We’ll look at the skill set you need to watch out for in order to help you make this decision.
The difference between a VA and an EA
An executive assistant differs from a virtual administrative assistant in terms of the scope of support she can provide. Your VA is usually assignment-oriented and is preoccupied with daily, repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, your EA has the authority to carry out decisions that can directly affect your organization.
Aside from performing the usual administrative role such as, managing correspondence, preparing research, and communication, an EA also acts as the “gatekeeper.” By this we mean she understands in varying degree the requirements of her boss thus having the ability to decide which scheduled events or meetings are most appropriate as she manages and allocates the executive’s time.
Indispensable skills and traits
There are certain characteristics and competencies that are non-negotiable when assessing your VAs current performance. These traits are perennial qualities that your EA should possess and you should be able to spot this early on if you’re planning to promote them.
Trustworthiness. This is established over time. You can’t say you have a trustworthy VA if you’ve only worked with her for a couple months. It involves dependability and responsiveness. If your VA is able to consistently deliver your requirements on time with the high quality you require then that warrants a huge checkmark in this area. This shows that you can trust her to accomplish projects and not worry about the outcome. Trustworthy VAs also communicate effectively. They respond to your emails promptly and they keep themselves accountable by giving you constant updates.
Management Perspective. You wouldn’t want your future EA to be a “yes man.” You need someone who sees things differently and strategically, someone who weighs the pros and cons before she even says yes. Remember that gatekeepers don’t let everybody in. She can’t possibly accommodate everyone to meet with you. Your VA should also be vocal enough to say her opinion about certain tasks you assign to her. When she thinks that something is not aligned with your organization’s objectives or brand image, she should be able to point it out politely.
Proactive. Your VA should be able to suggest what’s good for your organization. You want your EA to prevent the fire and not simply put it out. She should be able to pinpoint what’s beneficial to your company, alert you for red flags, and in some cases, take action if needed. When you see that your VA is able to give you constructive criticisms respectfully without fear of losing her job then you’ve found a rare gem. It’s easy to find a VA who responds but it’s hard to find someone who initiates.
Key Competencies. This will vary depending on what you’ll ask your EA to do. Will you ask her to compose emails, memos, and other key correspondences? Then you need someone with excellent writing skills. If you will ask her to screen vendors or product offerings then you need her to be thoroughly familiar with your company’s quality standards. List down the new responsibilities your VA will take on and beside it indicate the skills you need. If you believe she possesses the qualities and abilities to do it then you can strongly consider her to become your EA.
The great thing about choosing your VA to be your EA is that you’re not hiring someone new. You have worked with her, evaluated her performance, and seen her work ethic. Now it’s just a matter of training her on the new role she will take on. This transition will take some time and training. The important thing is you maintain constant open communication with your VA/future EA to ensure that you’ve got everything covered. Do not let your VA’s potential go to waste. Be mindful of how she works and take note of her accomplishments. If you see that she’s an asset to your company then she’s definitely indispensable.
About Pepper Virtual Assistants
Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.