So, the first thing after moving your offshore operations in the Philippines, is to have some employees, right? Most likely, you’ll be hiring more local employees as the whole point is to lower your employment cost by moving your offshore operations to the Philippines, isn’t it?
Entering the offshoring game with an open, understanding and flexible mindset, you will find dealing with your offshore workforce extremely rewarding. Learning how to manage differences is the key to a rewarding working relationship with Filipinos.
So, we had come up with this article to help some of you that are new to the country, to understand the local culture a little better! Better to go in prepared, right? –
Filipinos are known to be fun, casual, and hospitable. Despite the fact that the Philippine economy and job market is on a rise these days, considering the Philippines is becoming more enticing for business. Hiring Filipino employees for your team is one of the best bet for the business, they have qualities that are unique from other workers around the world. Still, working with Filipino workers presents its own set of challenges, especially if you are a foreigner who isn’t too familiar with the culture.
Here’s a point to take note before I start –
People of the Philippines are some of the happiest people in the world. Sociable and hospitable is often the first thing that comes to mind when you mention about Filipinos. However, do not misunderstand this as them being extrovert. Filipinos can be the friendliest people around, but at the same time, they are pretty reserved and non-confrontational.
“The divine flame of thought is inextinguishable in the Filipino people, and somehow or other it will shine forth and compel recognition. It is impossible to brutalize the inhabitants of the Philippines!”
The “Asian” Pride
Trust me when I say this, it is a big deal (I am an Asian as well)! Filipino values mutual respect, reputation, and trust in general. It is pretty common in other cultures to put a team member in the spot and let him/her realize the mistake in a harsh way. However, this is a big no-no especially within the Philippines culture as they’d feel disrespected and eventually drift even further from what the actual solution is.
Hence, if you’d like to address some issues with your team members, it is best to do it privately and politely. If you can’t do it alone, find someone to do it together that is closest to the team member’s heart that they trust. Trust me, the outcome this way would be much better.
Bear in mind that what they say, might not be what they meant –
As mentioned in the above’s point, Filipino are generally non-confrontational, some to the extent that they do not feel comfortable in telling you “NO”. While it might be hard to understand for people who are new to this culture, but this is the hard fact that you’d have to accept.
Try to ask more questions, then listen, and do a conversational discussion with your team members when asking for an opinion. From there, most likely that you’d understand if they really meant “Yes”, or “No”.
You’d have the most loyal team member if you managed it well –
Unlike many other cultures that people tend to separate work and personal, the people of the Philippines love it when there is a family structure in the workplace. They genuinely love to spend time with their co-workers, even outside of work – and it would improve office productivity as they’d be driven to achieve better results, AS A TEAM.
Building a friendly, open and respectful environment is crucial in this culture!
They Exude Positivity –
Filipinos seem to be inherently optimistic — a trait that, if you’re exposed too long enough, will eventually rub off on you, too. This ability to see the good amid the bad is admirably natural to the cheerful Filipinos.
The key is to keep a happy, easy-going disposition and a good sense of humor, and they’ll love having you around.
They have a Fantastic Sense of Humour —
Filipinos, being the positive, ever-happy people they are, enjoy a sense of humor that takes delight in almost everything — from sarcasm, to situational comedy, and to the simple mockery of how a word is pronounced.
Understanding how some of these things are funny might be puzzling to some foreigners at first, but surround yourself with this contagious spirit enough and you’ll quickly catch the Pinoy laughing bug.
Language Proficiency —
The Philippines is also home to plenty of multilingual professionals. Filipinos are highly proficient in the English language. They speak in a more neutral tone, which native English speakers find easy to understand.
Communication Barriers –
I just wanted to touch on this briefly, in-case people who haven’t been in the Philippines is reading this article. Most Filipinos that are working within a corporation are college graduates, and it is also the fourth-largest English-speaking country in the world. Hence, no worries that you’d have any issue in communicating with English in the Philippines.
They’ll teach you their language (whether you ask them to or not)
It doesn’t matter if you’ve asked your Filipino friends to teach you Tagalog or not — you’ll unintentionally be picking up words throughout your friendship. Both Filipino and English are official languages in the multilingual archipelago and often both languages are merged and used simultaneously to fill minor gaps in either one.
In conclusion, the Philippines definitely has to be one of the world’s most potential emerging countries due to its workforce, cost-efficient, and the people’s ability to communicate in English. However, every opportunity lies its own challenges, and the Philippines has its very own. Understanding the landscape and people is very key to success here in the Philippines.
One final sentence to comment –
I’ve been hearing many entrepreneurs and managers who say this sentence “I am here to build a business, not a family in my workplace”. All I can say is that you’re most probably in the wrong place to do business. 😊