What are the key differences between using a managed service and hiring a virtual assistant?

Mike Foster Director of ManageMe Services looks at how using a managed service to undertake your administrative work differs from that of a traditional Virtual Assistant.

While the direct costs of a Managed Service are higher there are some key differences in the offering that need to be closely considered when you evaluate outsourcing options.

These start with how the new staff member will be employed. A Virtual Assistant will be a member of your staff just based in a different location whether that is in NZ or somewhere overseas. A Managed staff member is employed by ManageMe as one of our staff who performs tasks on your behalf. This difference in alignment impacts on everything from the hiring process, staff cover though to team culture and performance management.

The upfront costs of hiring staff are high and often underestimated. Recruitment and wage costs are obvious direct costs but what about the time that goes into onboarding, training and setting up staff within a professional working environment? Staff hired as Virtual Assistants are often working from home on their own device. Do they have a fast laptop, multiple screens, comfortable desks and fast, stable internet? Getting this right helps ensure staff are happy, achieving a quality output and importantly going to stay the distance with your business. 

Managed Service or Virtual Assistant?

When deciding between a Virtual Assistant and Managed Outsource service staff cover is a major consideration. A Virtual Assistant will give you access to one person but with a managed service you’re not hiring an individual but rather a team to perform your required tasks. These tasks are completed every working day whether people are sick, on holiday or resign. 

Staff retention is extremely important in any business and a high turnover rate means increased costs and lost productivity. The responsibility of integrating your staff member and building a great team culture falls on the company when hiring staff under a Virtual Assistant arrangement. This responsibility is transferred to us when using a Managed Service. Staff Wellbeing and retention is high priority for us as it is core to the success of our business as it is to yours.

Security with offshore staff is important. Will you be providing staff with their own PC’s or will they be providing their own? How will they access your systems and is this secure? If they are working from home rather than an office how secure is the location and is it conducive to a productive working environment? These along with a host of others should all be considered when making your outsourcing decisions.

Staff Management can be time consuming and can take you away from spending time on higher value add activities in your business. With a Managed Service you are effectively outsourcing the management along with the service to complete your tasks to a third party. Forget about performance reviews, interviewing new staff and any retention issues you may have.

Conclusion

Virtual Assistant and Managed Service outsourcing arrangements both have their place. Ultimately what works for you will come down to your business back office setup, how much involvement and time you want to spend on managing staff, building a team culture and the type of tasks that are being undertaken. Are they repetitive, do they need to be done every day, do you have cover?

For a quick comparison of the different types of outsourcing services take a look at this Comparison Chart.

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