Hiring and managing Filipino staff

Hiring and managing Filipino staff

Michael McRitchie

A proven and highly effective public and private company CEO with 23+ years of international, business transformation, e-commerce, advisory and broad executive management experience.

31/07/2019

It’s our differences rather than our similarities that make us humans interesting; and recent workplace studies show that diversity in the workplace makes an organisation not only more interesting, but more effective, offering different perspectives for problem-solving, and new ideas and energy.
 
You may already know the benefits of outsourcing some of your business processes to the Philippines, but it might be useful to know about some cultural issues you might encounter working with or hiring staff. Here are a few:
 
Most of your job candidates will have experience working with a Western company.
 
Much of the boost to the Philippines’ economy has been attributed to international business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. The flow-on effect of this is that the majority of your candidates will have previous experience working for a Western company, either as part of the company’s branch or shared services or as part of the company’s service providers, such as through an outsourcer, consultancy or agency.
 
While it is more common that candidates have experience working with US- or even UK- based companies than Australian-based companies, the number of Australian companies using this staffing model is growing rapidly. So you can expect to interview candidates that have worked with Australian management in the past in many relevant roles.
 
Many of your employees will enjoy working Australian business hours.
 
Manila is a huge city. The average commute is approximately 90 minutes due to the high volume of traffic and rush hours. So, for this reason, many of the employees you recruit enjoy working Australian business hours, as they can reduce the amount of time spent in traffic.
 
Filipinos are humble, polite and agreeable.
 
Whether you are hiring or have already hired someone, it will help you to know that Filipinos have some cultural traits in the workplace that might be different from Australians. For example, Filipinos are raised to use honorifics at all times, so they often use ‘ma’am’ and ‘sir’, a level of politeness we’re not used to. Humility is held in high esteem; as such, many candidates would be shy to discuss achievements in job interviews and may not even bring them up at all! You might have to encourage them to highlight their expertise.
 
Filipinos also have a strong tendency to please, so this might translate into behaviour such as not asking questions even when they don’t understand something fully, in order to avoid displeasing you. Or they might be too eager to agree to a suggestion, even if they don’t really agree. Either take note of this in your interactions, or encourage them, when necessary, to not be so agreeable.  We would also encourage to ask open questions such as, ‘What are your thoughts on that?’, ‘How could we do this better?’, or ‘Can you repeat back to me what the key message is being delivered?’.
 
Watch your language  ... or at least the language skills of your team.
 
Most of our clients are pleasantly surprised by the quality of English language skills that our candidates have, and most clients find these skills compare well to Australian-based candidates for most roles. It is good to note that some candidates possess a noticeable difference in their written versus spoken English skills – so it should not be assumed that simply because a candidate can write well, that their spoken skills will be at the same standard (and vice versa).
 
So, you’ll need to be clear what you need for the role you are recruiting for: do you need great written English, great spoken English, or both? For example, if you’re recruiting for an IT or Accounting role, you may place a higher priority on written English, and if you’re recruiting for a phone-based Customer Service role you would prioritise spoken English. If you require both, this isn’t an issue given the high quality of English speaking and writing candidates.
 
Filipino job candidates won’t be shy about discussing their salary
 
Job candidates in the Philippines are not shy in discussing salary and will even discuss it among their colleagues, something that doesn’t happen as often in Australia. So, it’s common to discuss salary expectations with the first round of an interview. This shouldn’t be a problem for you; before we begin the recruitment process we’ll determine the right salary bracket for each role, and we’re very transparent about what salary will be paid to successful candidates and will manage this process on your behalf.
 
There is no need to be afraid of offshoring, our team of experts are here to help.
 
Want to know about outsourcing business processes and offshoring to talented and effective Filipino employees? Just get in contact with us and let us answer any or all of your questions info@satelliteoffice.com.au
 
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