So, we’ve talked about the benefits of outsourcing some of your business’ functions to Filipno workers. Filipinos are indeed known for their strong work ethic, creativity, and if you manage them well, an unwavering loyalty.
Plus, let’s face it. With the Filipinos’ neutral accent and good grasp of the English language, you get more bang for your buck working with us.
However, if it’s your first time to work with a Filipino team, there are some things you need to know. Given key cultural differences, you may need to make certain adjustments to ensure that things run smoothly and to keep the working relationship harmonious.
Thus, here are some strategies you may want to implement in handling your Filipino remote staff:
1. Get used to pre-meetings before meetings.
In other words, don’t be all business. Filipinos are renowned for their warmth, so they will probably engage in a little chit chat before a meeting. It’s quite typical for many Filipinos to ask about each other and to share a little bit about how their day or weekend went, but don’t worry. These catch-up sessions are often brief and Filipinos get down to business once the actual meeting starts.
2. Always provide clear instructions.
This is especially important at the beginning. You’ll be communicating with your staff largely over chats and emails, so don’t leave anything out when assigning tasks. Refrain from using Aussie English a lot at the start too. Most Filipinos speak English well enough but are unfamiliar with Australian slang.
It also helps to encourage your staff to ask questions if they need to clarify things. They might be a little shy at first, but they’ll open up with a bit of patient prodding.
3. Have clear job descriptions – and try to stick to them.
In line with the previous tip, it’ll be easier for your Filipino staff to focus if they know what’s expected of them. Most Filipino remote workers go above and beyond their duties anyway, but you want to avoid the overlapping of tasks within your team.
Furthermore, the best and most experienced remote workers often specialize or niche down. Making them work as a one-person team would thus be counterproductive.
4. Reprimand in private.
East Asians aren’t alone in upholding the concept of “saving face.” Filipinos have their own version of it too.
So, when you need to upbraid someone for a big mistake, best not to do it within the group chat. Instead, message the person privately and discuss what they did wrong and how you would like it addressed. This will spare that person embarrassment or a loss of face (and you from their resentment).
5. Don’t get thrown off by honorifics.
Westerners are used to calling their bosses by their first names. Not so in the Philippines. Here, most workers observe a clear hierarchy in the office and this carries over into the remote workplace.
This is why your workers will likely call you “ma’am” or “sir” despite you insisting otherwise. It’s simply their way of showing you politeness and respect. Just roll with it.
6. Learn some key Filipino phrases.
Speaking of honorifics, Filipinos often attach “po” to their statements, even the ones in English. It’s a Tagalog phrase that doesn’t really mean anything, but is meant to convey deference.
There’s more. “Trabaho,” for instance, means “work” or “job.” “Amo” means “boss,” and “sahod” means “paycheck.”
More on this in a future article.
7. Respect your staff’s agreed-upon working hours.
Yes, Filipinos are hardworking, but they also value family. Hence, they’re not too eager about working overtime. Evenings and weekends are usually reserved for hanging out with children or parents and siblings while many attend church on Sundays.
So, by all means, you can assign plenty of relevant tasks to your team during their working hours. Just don’t expect them to pick up or reply to you outside of them.
8. Read between the lines.
Filipinos have a high context culture. In contrast to a low-context Western culture where things are straightforward, few things can be taken at face value in a high-context culture. For instance, a “yes” might not be an absolute “yes,” but rather, a thinly-veiled attempt to maintain harmony.
How can you tell whether your Filipino remote worker means what they say? If you’re on a video call, pay attention to their body language. Folded arms can mean that they might be on the defensive, smiles that don’t reach their eyes could mean that they’re dealing with something they don’t want to talk about, and so on. Otherwise, a slight change in the pitch of their voice or speed can clue you in on what’s underneath the surface.
Basically, read the room, mate.
9. Be specific when giving feedback.
So long as feedback stays private if it’s mostly negative, of course. (See item no. 4.)
But, yeah. Beginners and experienced Filipino remote workers alike usually find feedback useful. Just be sure to keep things constructive and objective. If you can demonstrate how you want something done, that’ll be great too.
10. Pay your employees on time.
This is a non-negotiable. Being too busy to pay your employees on time is not an excuse, not when they rely on their paychecks to live. The bottomline is, they shouldn’t have to remind you about their salaries as most of them will feel too shy to broach the topic. Rather than bringing it up too frequently, they’ll look around for a client who pays more regularly and then resign when they do, and no one wants that.
For a truly seamless and efficient experience in onboarding Filipino remote workers, why not try Remote Staff? We’ve got several carefully pre-qualified candidates on our roster, and we’re more than willing to help facilitate a great start to yours and your Filipino remote staff’s working relationship.
Visit us today and find out how we can make things easier for you.