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SPI 770: So You Just Hired Someone? What’s Next?

Making your first hire is a massive step in your entrepreneurial journey! If you’re onboarding your first employee or contractor or want to kick your team leadership skills up a notch, listen in because this episode is for you!

First, I want to shout out one of our fantastic SPI Pro members for inspiring this episode. During one of my Ask Me Anything sessions in the community, Derek Miller of Genius Lab Gear needed specific information on what to do in the first week of bringing on an executive assistant. (Check out our PROfile on Derek for more about his business and how community has impacted his growth!)

So, what do you need to do on day one with your first hire? And what are the specific things you definitely need to check off in the first week of working with someone new?

Today, I cover everything from onboarding and company culture, to protecting yourself against scammers and employees going AWOL. Tune in, and enjoy!

For more on this, I highly recommend listening to my conversations with Jess Lindgren, my executive assistant of over ten years. If you haven’t listened in on our most recent chat, go to episode 753 to uncover the lessons we’ve learned working together for so long!

SPI 770: So You Just Hired Someone? What’s Next?

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he can spin a couch pillow on his finger for over an hour straight, Patt Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Hey, I need to give a shout out to Derek Miller, who is one of our members of SPI Pro.

He actually inspired this episode because of a question that he had during my Ask Me Anything, which I host once a month for those in our program. This was his question. He says, Hey, Pat, I found and hired an EA. So an executive assistant overseas and part time who starts tomorrow. Her English is fantastic. She has many years of experience in administrative accounting and customer service work for a large bank, but has never worked specifically as an EA. Now, he recently listened to an episode with Jess, my executive assistant here on this podcast, and said it was really great, but what do we do in our first day or first weeks with our new hire?

And you know what this was a very very good question and one that I know would help a lot of people. Now, you might not be in a position right now to hire somebody or you might be close you Might have been thinking about it, and this is a perfect episode for you, or you maybe you hired somebody and you just want to make sure you did these things or it might actually inspire some ways to go back to the basics and maybe make things more efficient with you and those who are working for you, especially somebody like an executive assistant who’s helping you run some day to day stuff.

So what I’m going to do is I’m going to read my answer. I actually spent a quite a bit of time on this, which is why I wanted to share it with you, because I think this would be a great resource for everybody. And these are the kinds of things we do inside of SPI Pro. If you’re not a member, why not?

Anyway, when you just hire somebody, here’s what I said. Day one, your first day, what do you do? So we call this day virtual onboarding and introduction. So first of all, a welcome email, maybe that gets sent before their official first day to send them a warm welcome, right? Introduce yourself, introduce any other team members, talk about the company, the company culture, who do you serve?

All those kinds of things. And you want to make sure to include any essential details like what their work schedule is going to be like, time zone, any specific tools. that they might need to get hooked up with or that they’re going to eventually get access to, just so they’re ready for it. On day one, I would highly recommend a video call.

So schedule a video call to personally welcome them. So discuss their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. You can answer any questions that they might have, address any initial inquiries. All right. Number three, this is again, still on day one day. One’s a heavy one because it’s kind of getting everything set up.

Speaking of setup, number three, the tech setup, this is a big one. So access credentials, you want to provide login details for any of your systems, email, project management tools, Slack, or, you know, any of that stuff. Make sure you have either One Password setup or Last Pass. I’m a one password fan. And that is a tool that you can use to give access to different tools without having to give the actual passwords.

It’s just, you just give the one password and access to all of them to your assistant. And if something were to happen or if like they go AWOL or whatever, hopefully that doesn’t happen. Or if, if they move along or, or you fire them, whatever, you can just disengage that password. That’s just for them. That then gives them access to everything else.

You don’t have to ever change your passwords from there. So One Password is amazing. Last Pass is another option. Help them through installing any of that software, should they need time to do that. And I think any communication tools are going to be probably most important, especially to start, but anything related to document sharing, or if you happen to do time tracking and then security measures, again, remind them of the security protocols have a, this is a big one, I didn’t even mention this to Derek, have a secret word thatz they have to ask you You tell them what the secret word is. But this is so, for example, if somebody hacks into the system, asks your executive assistant for passwords, or to pay for something, this is becoming very common. Somebody will pretend to be you, maybe they get access to your email, they pretend to be you, and they ask your assistant, Hey, can you pay for this invoice really quick?

Here it is, I need it paid within three hours, or else we’re in trouble. What’s the secret code? Or what’s the secret word? It could be anything. Have that secret word be known so that if something were to be weird or feel strange, they can ask you to make sure that that’s the case. Very, very smart. Number four, company culture and communication norms talk about the rhythm.

Talk about how often you’re going to meet or what to expect in those calls. Is it going to be a check in at the end of every day? Hopefully not. Check in at the end of every week at least. Just share those protocols. Share how you prefer to be communicated to in certain situations. Now before I move on, you’re not going to get any of this right on the first go.

This is to set yourself up for success for the future. You’re going to have to help them understand over time what you prefer and they’re not going to get it right on the first try, right? This is training, so it’s going to take some time, but trust me, it is worth it. Discuss their primary responsibilities. It’s number five. And any immediate tasks. Things that need to happen rather quickly, research, whatever it might be, right? And clarify deadlines and priorities. Number six, do a virtual office tour. Maybe screen share if there’s certain things that you want to show in terms of how you help your clients or maybe, you know, maybe they might be able to sit in on a call or something if you do those kinds of things.

If you’re a coach, just introduce them to, you know, the things that you have going on, introduce them to other team members if there are any. And then number seven, any emergency procedures, so any emergency contact information and like if there’s something technical that goes wrong and they discover it, like, what are the protocols?

Where do they go first? How do they reach you in an emergency, right? If they can’t reach you via slack or email, perhaps you might give them access to something else that are, that’s only for emergencies only. And vice versa, if there’s something going on that you need their help with, maybe there’s a means to do that.

Okay, so that’s just day one. So week one, in general, here’s what we recommend. Number one, daily check ins. Like I said before, you don’t really want to do that forever, but in the first week, that’s going to be really key. So schedule brief daily check ins to discuss progress, challenges, any roadblocks that you might have, by the way, if you’re listening to this and you’re like, oh, that would be nice to do with my current EA, do it, start another week of daily check ins just for a week.

To get things situated, maybe there’s an upcoming project. You just want to make sure things are in alignment. There you go. And then you can use video calls to maintain a personal connection. Number two, task assignments and training. So start with simple ones. This helps build confidence. You can provide step by step instructions or video tutorials, which are my favorite.

Shooting on something like Loom, QuickTime, or anything that does screen recording. That is the best way to train because people are seeing it. Make sure your cursor is viewable when you’re showing them how to do things, by the way. You can do that live, but you can also build a bank of video tutorials that allow you to, you know, in case that EA moves away or, you know, better yet, they get promoted to something different and you need to bring a new EA in.

They can just watch the video tutorials on specific processes that you have or standard operating procedures. And then, one thing we definitely recommend is to encourage self learning by sharing relevant resources. So you could share as many resources as you want. I would say, especially in the first week, If you have perhaps a way that you prefer to do business or, or something that you know would be a resource that an executive assistant would appreciate.

I mean, I would share, for example, How to Win Friends and Influence People, right? Or whatever resource you might have. It might be access to an online course that you already have access to, or just something that that encourages self learning. Typically, a new hire is going to be very, very adamant to and encouraged and motivated to soak in as much as possible in that first week because they want to make a great impression, right?

So that’s a great time to encourage that. Number three, time management. So again, just reiterating time zones, working hours. You might sound like a broken record during this process, but that is okay. You can even preface the week by saying, you know, I’m going to say things over and over again to you for the first week, just so you get it.

And over time, you know, you’ll hear less and less of me because I’ll be able to trust you. Set clear expectations about availability. and breaks. Now, if they’re halftime and especially if they are sort of remote working, it’s going to be really easy to just see if they get the work done or not. Right. And you don’t have to be necessarily a hawk in terms of, or micromanage every single minute of their day.

The check ins at the end of the day, you want to make sure to see how many hours they’re working because you want to establish that that is yeah, important. You need to put X number of hours in because that’s kind of what we’re paying you for. But also that the things are happening that that are meant to be happening might be a little easier in the first week because the load is light, but that’s okay.

And then use shared calendars. The calendar is an important component of the sort of time zone thing, but also just having them see your calendar so that they can schedule things and you can begin to set rules. This is when you like, please do not ever move this. This is important to me. So don’t schedule over it. This day is when we try to encourage all podcast interviews and you know, those kinds of things, you know, you might miss in the first day or even first week. So always an opportunity to improve over time. Communication etiquette, right? Remind them to be proactive in communication.

Especially the first week. If you have any questions, please let me know during that check in call at the end of each day or a check in report, at least it might be a check in email. If there’s any questions or things that were confusing to you, or you’re not sure of, please write them down. You won’t get in trouble for that.

This is the time to do that. Encourage asking questions, seeking clarification, foster a positive and open virtual environment. You know, you don’t want to be a boot camp kind of jerk ever really, but I mean, especially in the first week, right? Cause that sets the tone for the whole working relationship.

It’s a human being on the other end, people. Come on. Documentation, knowledge sharing. So if you have like a document repository, Google drive or something like that, you can insert things in there and kind of teach them that that’s where they create standard operating procedures for themselves, which you can ask them to do.

They can drop them in there and you can begin to organize them. And then you can incur, like I said, encourage them to contribute to that knowledge base. Regularly provide feedback on their work. This is number six and tell them that you’re going to ahead of time just so it’s not coming out of nowhere.

It’s because you want to help them improve the process and acknowledge their efforts. Be sure to tell them when they’re doing things right. Not just when they’re doing things wrong, be constructive as well, and be receptive to their feedback as well. Be receptive to their feedback as well. And if you happen to have other team members try to have an activity that That allows the team members to come together and share a little bit.

We have in SPI something called the retro at the end of each week where all the team members come on. And I remember when we hired new people, that was very nice for those new people to see the company culture and to meet each other and to welcome them. It was really cool. All right. And finally, ongoing, just over time to nurture a productive relationship with your EA goal setting, creating goals with your EA is really important.

Performance metrics, not for the purpose of like, Oh, if you’re not pulling your weight, we’re going to fire you, but just so we can see and track where we’re going and how things are moving, having your EA discover metrics, anything from, you know, this is how many customer service calls we’re getting this week versus last week, all the way to, you know, this is, how many emails we’re sending out, like whatever you want them to check out or what is important to you to track up in the business.

Like you can have them help you with that, right? This is the benefit. You were buying back your time with the use of a EA, and this is why it’s important to set yourself up for success up front. Number two, delegate with trust. So delegate tasks based on their strengths and expertise. Over time, you’re going to know what a person is really, really good at and maybe what they might need some help with, you can educate them. You can give them access to online courses that might help them or books, something that can help them with maybe what they’re more weekend, but also definitely utilize their strengths as well. And then also trust them. Right.

I think this is where the micromanaging comes into play. And a lot of people don’t like working with EAs because it’s actually on you to let go a little bit. It’s on you to trust them with the process that you’ve taught them. And in fact, if they aren’t doing a great job, especially upfront when they’re trying something new, that’s on you.

Now, of course, if you’ve taught them everything and over time, things start to drop off, well, then it might be on them. And you’ll hopefully have a conversation before it becomes a problem. Recognition and appreciation over time. This is something many entrepreneurs forget. Appreciate them. Recognize them for the work they do, and they don’t even need to have done something huge.

Just, hey, we had a solid week this week. Thank you for your continuous work. I love working with you. This is great. This helps them stay on board. This helps them stay motivated. It might help motivate them even more. And it’s just a good thing to do as a human being. Help them with professional development.

If there is any continuous learning, like I said, kind of doubling up on that. Another thing to keep in mind is, is they, their own lives outside of the work they do for you. You know, they might have children or other things happening in their life. Respect their personal time. So don’t like just in the middle of the night, although for some people, middle night is actually working hours for their VAs overseas.

Respect their personal time. You know, you don’t need to get personal with them, but it’ll be there for them if they might need some help even with things outside of work, but also like don’t just ask him for things outside of working hours because you’re don’t take advantage of them, right? Encourage them to take breaks, take time off and reward them.

Right, not just like say appreciation and show appreciation, but when you guys hit milestones together, you know, not just like anniversaries and, and, and things like that, that’s important to keep track of when they started. You want to celebrate them when they do get to that year mark, two year mark, a hundred day mark, if you want to be creative.

But when you finish a project together, like celebrate, one thing that Jess and I do is every time we finish a big project together, we buy a set of two pins, two complimentary pins. I typically get to pick one and she gets the other one. And we have a whole collection of pins.

I mean, dozens of them for all the big things that we’ve done together from FlynnCon to Card Party to our accelerator groups and all those kinds of things. So yeah, celebrate. They become a part of your team. They become a part of your family. In the world of business and you know, they’re human. So don’t forget that, but they can help you so much to buy back your time.

All right. I hope this was helpful. That is what you should do, especially as soon as you hire an EA. If you are about to hire one, hopefully this was helpful. You can relisten, or if you know somebody who is, you can share this with them as well. So that’s a little checklist for you. And if you’re inside of SPI Pro, you can check out the ask me anything from February, 2024, if you want to get just the bullet point list of all that.

Again, that’s the ask me anything that happened in February, 2024. Shout out to Derek Miller again. And Derek, by the way, congrats on that recent launch of yours as well, buddy. Keep up the great work, everybody. Thank you. And if you’re interested in checking out SPI Pro and the things we have going on there, head on over to SPIPro.Com. You will not be disappointed. Yeah, out. Later. Peace.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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