Project managers always need to retain their best staff.

Whether you’re running Springfield Nuclear Power Plant or a team of remote workers in an SEO company, you don’t want your best staff coming in through the front door only to be out the back door a few months later. You need to retain employees, donuts and all!

Here we look at 4 great ways to ensure you hold on to your best staff.

The first key to worker retention is to spend time developing your team members and this applies to virtual assistants and office-based assistants alike. It should be a combination of personal development and job-related development. Using regular one on one meetings, giving them feedback on what they’re doing and providing coaching will help you hit the right “blend” of personal and professional interaction with your team members.

Remember that it will probably take around 6 months before your new staff member is really up to scratch. Allow them this time to sharpen up and get to where you need them to be. Investing the time and effort in them during this period will help them assimilate as quickly as possible and pay dividends for you in the future.

Secondly, once they have been brought up to par, then you hold on to them by paying them a little more and offering bonuses. It’s important to understand that reviewing your VAs’ pay structures will keep them interested in working for you, as they will feel appreciated. A small increase of a dollar or two makes little difference to you but can make a huge difference to their lives.

Bonuses can be in the form of lump sum payments for a job well done, a bonus given during a local holiday (as we may give Christmas or end-of-year bonuses in Australia) or help with payment for something they need.

A third way to retain employees is to help them develop professionally by identifying any entrepreneurial staff and seeing if they are interested in setting up their own business, with your assistance. You can suggest paying them 20% more than they’re on now and showing them how they can hire people under them to set up their outsource business model. An entrepreneurial VA should be able to see easily how this can blossom into their own business while they are still working for you.

Once you get a little bigger the fourth way to hold on to your staff is to promote them to team leaders. With virtual assistants there will be some that you work with easier than others; these VAs are candidates for team leaders that can organize the other VAs and report back to you. They can hold the weekly check-ins and be the point of call for any issues amongst a group of other VAs.

If you train them up to know all your systems inside out, let them practice for a while, then finally let them train the systems to other people, this will bring them to a great position where they can go higher in your organization – like a project manager for example.

To retain employees is a major challenge for nearly every organization. With virtual assistants many of the same rules apply as with office-based staff. More tips can be found by checking out the Outsourcing Profit Machine workshop here.

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