The Illusion of Expertise: Why Businesses Are Ditching Traditional VA Agencies

5 Minute Read

Introduction: Unveiling the Disconnect

The allure of Virtual Assistant (VA) agencies often masks the stark disparity between expectations and reality. Businesses frequently enter into partnerships with these agencies expecting seamless solutions to their staffing needs, only to discover a disconcerting gap between promises made and outcomes delivered. Misconceptions abound, from the perceived breadth of an agency’s talent pool to the level of personalization in candidate matches. As we delve into this topic, it becomes evident that the initial allure of VA agencies is often an illusion that businesses are increasingly waking up to.

The Hidden Costs of Delegating to Traditional VA Agencies

While outsourcing staffing to VA agencies may seem like a cost-effective solution at first glance, the financial implications are often more intricate than meets the eye. There are 2 ways that a VA agency typically operates:

Service Fee Model

  • You typically pay a fixed amount for a set number of hours. This is usually 80-160 hours per month. You pay this regardless of whether or not you have fully utilised the team member for this period of time.
  • You pay flat fees for things such as:
    • Their desk at the office, which is typically a tiny cubicle that is impossibe to work comfortably from. If you have ever visited the VA district in Cebu then you will be familiar with how many people they fit into a single building. A phrase with the word “sardines” in it would be suitable.
    • Their computer and monitor which may not be up the standard that you expect.
    • The manager in the office that oversees them who you have no oversight on.
    • Recruitment of the team member even if the team member is already on the team.

This may add up to $500 or more per month which doesn’t actually go to the team member, it goes directly to the profitability of the agency.

Hourly Rate Model

Using this model the service fee is integrated into the hourly rate.

Additionally, there is often a long contract in place that forces you to remain with the agency, even if you aren’t satisfied with the service you are being provided. Both models ensure that the agency makes as much profit as possible but aren’t designed to support the team member or serve the interests of your business.

Quality vs. Quantity: The Talent Dilemma

One of the central challenges faced by businesses relying on VA agencies is the dilemma between quantity and quality of talent. Agencies, in pursuit of meeting client demands quickly, often prioritize volume over the meticulous selection of candidates. This compromises the ability of businesses to secure individuals with the precise skills and expertise required for their roles. The job of a VA agency is to secure work for the talent they already have on their books. Unlike in a traditional recruitment scenario where the interest is in placing the most highly qualified candidate that is most likely to stay in a role.

The reality is that most VA agencies don’t have truly valuable expertise. What they have is the illusion of expertise that is created from having an office and a slick website. Most of the time you’re paying a lot of extra money to line the pockets of individuals who have no real interest in the success of your business.

Navigating the New Landscape: Independent Talent Acquisition

The evolving landscape of talent acquisition is witnessing a surge in alternative approaches that bypass traditional VA agencies. Freelance platforms, gig economy solutions, and direct hiring strategies are becoming increasingly prevalent. Companies that embrace these new models are discovering advantages such as increased flexibility, access to a diverse talent pool, and reduced dependency on intermediaries. By working directly with team members you are able to pay them better wages which encourages them to stay with you, saving time and money on replacement costs in future.

DIY Recruitment: Taking Control of the Hiring Process

As businesses seek more control over their hiring processes, a notable trend is the shift towards in-house or DIY recruitment. By handling the recruitment process directly, organizations gain the ability to set their criteria, align the hiring process with their unique company culture, and ensure a tailored approach to candidate selection. This shift empowers businesses to make strategic decisions that align with their long-term goals, fostering a more comprehensive and customized approach to talent acquisition.

The DIY approach does come with its own set of pitfalls:

DIY recruitment can be time consuming.
Most small to medium organisations don’t have the technology and resources to scour hundreds of applications efficiently and effectively.
These pitfalls can be mitigated by working with a Labour Hire Agency or “LHA”.

The LHA can handle the more complicated tasks such as:

  • Sourcing candidates
  • Screening candidates
  • Negotiating pay rates
  • Handling payroll

All of this can be done free of charge because the LHA actually manages their fees with the team member. Working with LHAs can be far cheaper and a much better long term solution than working with a VA Agency.

Overcoming the Fear: Common Obstacles to Ditching VA Agencies

While the benefits of transitioning away from VA agencies are clear, common fears and obstacles may impede businesses from making this shift. Concerns often revolve around the perceived complexity of managing recruitment in-house, uncertainties about the adaptability of existing processes, and fears of potential disruptions.

Some common fears we hear:

How do I find candidates?
You don’t need to. Working with an organisation such as a labour hire agency solves this problem by doing all the legwork for you.

How do I make sure the team members are productive?
The reality is, the VA agency you were working with probably wasn’t paying very close attention to your team member anyway. By using project management tools and screenshot monitoring software, you can do the job of an agency.

How do I meet the local laws and regulations?
Once again, you don’t need to. If you work through an organisation such as a labour hire agency, then you are simply engaging a contractor. The engagement and rules around this are like any other supplier/purchaser arrangement.

Conclusion: Embracing a Future Without Illusions

In conclusion, the illusions surrounding VA agencies are being dispelled as businesses increasingly recognise the need for more agile and efficient talent acquisition strategies. By embracing innovative alternatives, leveraging technology, and prioritizing direct connections with talent, organizations can navigate the evolving landscape of recruitment with confidence. It’s time for businesses to break free from the illusion of expertise offered by traditional VA agencies and chart a course toward a future where recruitment aligns seamlessly with their goals and aspirations.

Here are the realities of choosing to work with team members through a vehicle such as a Labour Hire Agency vs a VA Agency:

  • You will save money
    • No monthly service fee
    • No long term contracts
    • No inflated hourly rates
  • Team members will be paid better and be more likely to stay and be motivated while they are working
  • There will be less layers between you and the team member meaning everyone’s interests are aligned to your goals