In-house employee or remote virtual assistant?

If you’ve asked this question yourself, you know it can be a hard one to answer. Today, there are so many options available to us as business owners for staffing. It can be very tricky working out what is best for you and your business.

In the past, if we needed assistance, we would put a job ad up on whatever job site you use and hire someone to come in and sit next to you in an office. Now, as society has evolved, we want different things. Success no longer looks like a big office full of 100 employees. For some, the thought of working on a laptop on a beach in Thailand is their picture of success. So really, determining where you base your next staff member is going to depend a lot on what your personal goals are – but also your vision for your company.

Have a clear vision and clear goals for your company’s near future? 

Perfect! Now, that may or may not have given you an instant answer to the in-house vs overseas debate. Let’s pull out the “yellow legal pad” and do a good old-fashioned pros and cons list.

Hiring In-House Employees

In House Hiring – Pros

  • More vision over the employee’s day to day work
  • Easier to build a personal relationship with them (though for some this could be a con)
  • Can expect generally higher levels of English skills and strategic thinking ability
  • You can meet the employee face-to-face before hiring them, which may assist in determining whether they are the right fit
  • More conducive to team building
  • Incidental conversations/brainstorming that lead to improved systems and offerings

In House Hiring – Cons

  • Considerably more expensive (5-10 times the cost, once you factor in super (in Australia), HR requirements etc.)
  • HR Requirements and laws to follow
  • More expectations from the employee from a culture, pay and support perspective
  • In Australia, there is the added expense of Super and payroll tax (or similar in other countries)

Hiring an Offshore Virtual Assistant

Offshore Hiring – Pros

  • Significantly cheaper (depending on where you hire from)
  • Opens you up a lot more people than what you are limited to geographically
  • You can match a role with a location based on cultural strengths and weaknesses – i.e finding staff who are great at implementing repetitive tasks where someone in your home country would easily get bored.
  • Easier to have staff working hours outside of the typical business hours in your country – this can be helpful if you have clients in other countries and need to offer 24/7 support etc.
  • No expectation or requirement for additional benefits, support and fewer requests for pay increases.

Offshore Hiring – Cons

  • Lower level of English skills and quality of work due to education and language differences
  • Less oversight over day to day tasks which can make it harder to performance manage
  • Potentially a higher risk of confidentiality issues if not set up correctly
  • Can be harder to communicate especially if there is a time difference

When I look through those lists, I see it really breaks down to 3 key factors: 

1. Cost

2. Requirement for English skills, strategic thinking 

3. Time cost of HR requirements and management. 

So when you are making the decision to hire either in house or overseas, it is important to evaluate those 3 factors and align them with your personal and business goals.

For you to achieve your goals, is it more important to keep costs low? What level of strategic thinking will be required in the role? Are the tasks repetitive and basic or does it need a more advanced level of education and English skill? Do I have the time and resources to commit to HR requirements and management of an in house employee? And if you’re a one-man band at the moment, a question to ask yourself, do I want to grow into an office of employees or do I want to build a business that offers more freedom and flexibility for myself? 

If you can answer all those questions above, the answer of hiring in-house vs. outsourcing should be very simple for you – but keep in mind, no matter which you pick, those cons still exist. When you look at in-house, the major con is centered around cost – and there isn’t much you can do about that. But if you decide to go with an overseas employee, every single item on that list can be reduced or removed as a con/risk with proper management and initial setup.

For more tips, be sure to check out our new book, The Virtual Assistant Advantage

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