Things to Remember When Managing a Remote Team in the Philippines
While many micro businesses and global companies are used to having satellite teams located in developing countries such as the Philippines, companies that were forced to outsource to remote Filipino workers to elevate the financial stress caused by economic fluctuations during the Covid 19 pandemic had quite a steep learning curve.
Filipinos are generally well-known in the world as great workers who are dedicated and passionate about their job and with a strong desire to help and please. But in order to make a world-class worker out of your remote staff in the Philippines, below are things you need to keep in mind when managing Filipino workers:
Mind their English
English is their second language. This means that Filipinos will not have much of a problem communicating with their Western employers on a daily basis. Compared to other cultures, their English knowledge and tone is straightforward and friendly. One’s understanding of Filipino English will depend on the cultural context of where they came from.
When it comes to their skills, someone who may be good at conversing verbally in English is not necessarily good in writing. You will need to specify the specific skill level that you need during the hiring process to avoid a mismatch.
Filipinos may or may not be shy about their salaries
Shyness is a trait that Filipinos were able to develop under years of foreign rule and colonization. Unfortunately, Filipinos still have this trait so instead of discussing salaries or work conditions with their employer or manager, they tend to keep it to themselves until they find a better offer and leave.
This trait may also affect the way they work and communicate with you. This may also keep them from discussing their achievements or from performing their best. As an employer or manager, you need to encourage them to speak out or talk about their strengths.
It is important to encourage them to be confident about raising concerns or asking any questions.
As shy as Filipinos may seem, they can be vocal if they choose to especially when it comes to things that have been agreed upon. If they get paid late, Filipinos will not hold back from speaking out.
They are warm and welcoming
Filipinos take the extra time and effort to make other people feel welcome especially when meeting someone for the first time. One way they show this hospitality is by engaging you in a conversation that you’d rather have with someone you are more familiar with, like a long-time close friend. Questions about your marital status, your ambitions, your family, and friends might catch you off guard but rest assured Filipinos are not asking these questions with the intention of sticking their noses into your business. For Filipinos, everyone is family and you can be certain that you will be treated as such. Unfortunately, you’ll get the uncomfortable family-level conversations that come with it.
Be familiar with how Filipinos spend their time
There is a huge difference to the way you and your Filipino staff will spend their time including their holidays and days off. Although they will not mind working Australian business hours which may only be a little to no difference, there’s a huge difference in the number of holidays and festivities celebrated by Filipinos.
You’ll also be surprised to know that they’ll ask to take some days off to attend celebrations or to care for a sick family member.
You need to get used to honorifics
Politeness is something you can expect from Filipinos. They are raised to use honorifics at all times which is something most foreigners are not used to.
Don’t be surprised or call them out if they start calling you Sir, Ma’am, or Boss. They are not used to calling people especially their managers by their first name so it might take them a while even if you ask them to do so.