When you’ve finally found the right assistant to whom you can delegateyour work, the next thing you need to do is properly train him.
The training process is a critical period because it gives your assistant a general impression of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and what your expectation are. The training period also establishes the workflow and the system by which all further work will be based.
Training your assistant may seem like a full-time job in itself and may take up precious hours of your time, but in the long run, a well-organized training process will yield great benefits for your own productivity and sanity. Of the number of things that could go wrong in outsourcing a job, a huge majority is due to lack of good training on the front end. Though this initial period may require you to invest a solid number of hours to properly train your assistant, there are some tips and tools that can help you get your assistant acquainted with your systems and tasks in the shortest possible period of time.
Prepare an über-detailed job description
A well-written job description is the first major contact between you and your assistant, setting the stage for what your needs are. It should meticulously describe exactly what you want your assistant to accomplish. Put as many of the tasks that you can think of in writing with detailed descriptions. This ensures that everything is clear between you and your assistant, and he can use the document as a reference later on.
Make short video tutorials
Making short video tutorials with matching screenshots work best when requesting tasks that require detailed steps or technical expertise. Videos are also a good way to show your assistant how to use your preferred software and platforms and to get your instructions communicated in the clearest way possible. Video tutorials can be as short as five minutes or less, and the videos can be re-used to train new assistants in the future. Check out software like Jing that allows you to capture everything done on your computer screen into a sharable video.
Record audio files
If you really have limited time to train your assistant and want to get him started as soon as possible, try making an audio recording. You can simply record your instructions and the tasks that need to be done using any appropriate recording device, mobile phone or an app like Evernote. Then, simply email this audio file for your assistant to listen to. Ask if the instructions were clear and confirm that everything is understood. If necessary, set a time when you are available to answer any questions and concerns about the job.
Show samples of accomplished work
If you need your assistant to perform certain output-based tasks, a good way to train him would be to show past samples of similar work that you want them to do. Training by providing excellent samples gives an idea of the quality and style that you expect from his output. To save time in the future, consider creating a special folder in Box or another cloud file sharing system that includes all relevant work samples your assistant might need to access.
Take advantage of various software and collaboration tools
Screen sharing, file sharing and task management tools can be a big help even during the initial stages of getting to know your assistant. Tools like Join.me, Basecamp, Trello and many others allow seamless communication and enable you to post links and share files for training and project familiarization that your assistant can access in order to get a clear understanding of your needs.