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If you’re a business owner looking to expand your company, naturally, the next move would be to hire more staff. Unfortunately, anyone in business knows that the cost of hiring a new employee is massive. After all, employee costs include more than just an individual’s salary. Many other factors need to be considered, such as the cost of recruiting and training, employee benefits, office space, and other expenditures. These overheads can pile up.

What can you do if you need more employees but you’re hesitant to hire because of the risks involved? The solution: hire an offshore virtual assistant or VA.

Virtual assistants are independent contractors that provide various administrative, creative, and technical services to businesses. They usually work remotely and, in many cases, from overseas. Using virtual assistants to scale your business is a more practical and cost-effective alternative to getting a local employee to help you boost business productivity.

While expanding a team with virtual assistants is not an entirely new concept, the practice is steadily becoming more popular. Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic force businesses to adopt remote work as part of normal business operating procedures, but the digital age has also made it easy to do a wider range of tasks remotely. The traditional ways of doing business may well be in the past as technological innovations in digital communication and collaboration continue to improve.

Now, you might think that searching for and hiring virtual assistants on your own is the practical next step. But while going the DIY route can save you a few bucks up front, it’ll probably cost you more in the long run. It’s truly ideal to leave the finding, vetting, and hiring of virtual assistants to experienced specialists like virtual staffing agencies. Here’s why.

  1. They have access to a large, ready-to-work talent pool.

An established virtual staffing agency already has a big pool of talented virtual assistants who are ready to work for you. This allows you to start onboarding and training your new hire as soon as possible.

Another benefit of working with a virtual staffing agency is that they screen their talents before endorsing them. This means that you don’t have to worry about doing that particular tedious task yourself. Depending on the exact skills you’re looking for, you can rely on an agency to match you with ideal candidates within a few days because they’re already in touch with several VAs.

  1. They allow you to hire more quickly.

Related to the point above, a staffing agency can quickly look for a perfect job match from their existing pool to see which virtual assistants are ready to take on a new client. Whether you need temps, part-timers, or full-time workers, the agency can help you sort out the little details quickly so you can go back to doing crucial tasks and decisions for your business.

  1. You are assured of quality candidates.

A trustworthy virtual staffing agency vets its applicants prior to endorsing them to a client. This vetting process typically includes background checks and basic skills assessments. An excellent recruitment organization should be meticulous with their vetting process so that they can find only the best candidates for you. Aside from doing background screening for potential VAs, they can also do skills assessments to ensure that the candidates have the right skills and knowledge.

  1. You can “try out” employees and change them if you need to.

There are always risks involved when you hire remote workers. Some VAs may not always be the right fit the first time, which is okay! Good staffing agencies will help monitor and oversee the newly hired VAs for you. And if you think that they are not the person for the job, you can ask the agency to pair you with a more suitable candidate.

  1. You get time, effort, and financial savings.

If you think that going through a virtual staffing agency is more expensive than doing it yourself, it’s time to reconsider your stance. When hiring a virtual assistant, you must think long-term. The upfront costs you pay staffing agencies are only a fraction of what you would pay for when you consider the following: advertising, pre-employment screening, training, onboarding, mentoring, and performance monitoring. Not only are these financially costly, but they also take a lot of time and effort if you handle these tasks yourself, especially if you have no prior knowledge or experience in recruitment and screening.

Additionally, staffing agencies help buffer or minimize hiring risks. Some businesses hire contractual remote workers to cover a few weeks’ or months’ worth of work. Since virtual assistants are already skilled or specialize in a certain niche, there would be no need for training to do the tasks right away. Once the job is fulfilled and the contract is over, agencies serve as the middleman to smoothly facilitate the end of the business relationship.

  1. They take care of onboarding and payroll.

One of the biggest reasons businesses hire virtual assistants is that they get the assistance they need right away. No matter how experienced a remote worker is, onboarding is a must as no companies or business processes are the same. For organizations that are too busy to onboard new VAs, the staffing agency can take on that role so that the new hire can start doing their tasks smoothly and as soon as possible.

Another advantage of using a virtual staffing agency is that they take care of the remote worker’s payroll. Depending on the state or country, there may be things that need to be taken care of right away, such as taxes, compensation, or unemployment benefits. Furthermore, they may also arrange how the VA is paid and ensure that they get paid accurately and on time.

  1. It’s easier to get seasonal help.

There are days when work gets overwhelming, even with a full staff of in-office employees. During these busy times, rendering overtime is inevitable as some deliverables and deadlines need to be met. These periods can range from a few days and even stretch to months. When this happens, burnout can be a risk for your staff.

Temporary virtual assistants can help with some of the work to lessen the burden on full-time employees. These remote workers can pick up the pending tasks when the last employee clocks out for the day. Having this arrangement saves on overtime pay as VAs can work on an hourly basis and prevents turnover to a large extent. However, all the work required to find and hire a VA for a temp job is just not something a busy person like you should be doing. This is why it’s better to let an agency provide you with the seasonal help you need.

What do you think about virtual assistants? Would you hire one for your business? Share your thoughts below.