When outsourcing is done right, it can yield immense benefits for both parties. That’s why it is important to find effective ways to make the relationship work.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the cultural differences that may exist between Filipino staff and their Western employers.
Although these observations may be considered generalizations, these tips have helped our client base optimize communication with their team members.
1. Filipinos tend to be people pleasers
Filipinos will often say yes to everything. They are generally not inclined toward confrontation and they don’t like letting you down.
Generally, Filipinos may not ask questions or seek clarification on certain instructions out of politeness, even if they don’t fully understand everything. This tendency can lead to mistakes.
To effectively train your offshore team, make sure that every process is properly explained to each team member. Encourage them to ask questions or clarifications on a certain process. Show them. Utilise technology and record the processes so they’re easier to learn. For conversations, use Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting.
TOA Global staff with COO Ben Vickers on Valentine’s Day
2. Filipinos tend to be sensitive
Compared to Western people, Filipinos may take things to heart much more often. This sensitivity can cause problems when communicating something in a manner they consider impolite.
To avoid conflicts between you and your staff, make sure that you talk to them as calmly as possible.
It’s generally advisable to talk to them privately, rather than calling them out in front of others.
3. Filipinos work best if you have set KPIs
Setting a number will make expectations clear, which often leads to increased productivity. Let’s say you are getting bookkeeping work done in the Philippines. We recommend that you work out how many transactions per hour your staff need to accomplish.
Track the number of transactions per hour and increase it by 10 to 20% and then set that as a key performance indicator (KPI). This should help you set sound expectations and make things clear between you and your staff.
Set clear expectations for all team members
4. Filipinos are very social people
You can foster a trusted and friendly working atmosphere when you have a good relationship with your staff. A simple nod or “hello” should start the ball rolling. Corporate culture should not prohibit bosses to have a good and fun working relationship with the staff.
Reach out through simple everyday conversations on Skype. Try adding them on social media. Don’t be surprised if you get personal invites to special occasions because they are wonderfully open.
Creating an open and friendly team culture does take time and effort. We strongly recommend our clients to visit their offshore team at least twice a year. See them in person, build trust, and forge genuine relationships.
5. Filipinos value hierarchy
Filipinos want career growth. Within TOA, we have a very flat management structure but our staff want to grow professionally.
They also tend to value job titles, which is one of the key indicators of success in any work culture. Many of our accountants have titles such as Senior Accountant and Senior Vice President Accountant. These titles matter a lot since these are considered a benchmark of success in the country.
Moreover, they value authority. They regard leaders and other people who hold a high position with respect. The same goes for respect for elders.
Bridging cultural gaps in the workplace should not be too difficult as long as you are genuinely interested in getting to know the people who work with you.
To learn more on the Filipino culture, see one of our keynote presentations, How To Bridge The Cultural Divide.