Once you have an office space in Cebu, you’ll notice the Filipino work culture. In the West, there is too much emphasis on processes, methodologies, and product quality – the “soft” components of the projects and outsourcing relationships. However, in the Philippines, some of these areas are overlooked, if not completely neglected.
How to Cope with Filipino Work Culture
The cultural divide between the East and the West may affect leadership and management, communication and coordination, change management, and team dynamics, which are essential to the success of a project. Just because one partner has been known as culturally dominant, does not mean that BPOs already know what it’s like to actually work with them.
The success that the Philippines is experiencing in the BPO industry owes so much to their cultural ties with the West, particularly to the US, thanks to political and trading ties, and media
Language proficiency and cultural parallelisms make the Philippines one of the top destinations for BPOs. In the last decade, companies opened doors to other industries, such as IT, human resources, quality assurance, back-office operations, and digital entertainment.
Always take into consideration the cultural aspects that you need to take into consideration to jive well with your Filipino staff. This includes: communication style, approaches to completing tasks, attitudes towards conflicts, and differences in decision-making styles.
Learn How to Communicate with Filipinos
English is the second language of Filipinos and their skill in the language is among the best in the world. However, take note of the Filipinos’ indirectness, which is also common in Asian cultures. Expats who have been staying in the Philippines note that “Yes” could mean “yes, but…” or “yes, however…” or “maybe.” The best way to identify whether “yes” is actually “yes” is to listen and look for body language or gestures. It would also help to clarify, ask or entertain questions from Filipino outsourced workers to make sure that “yes” is not merely “okay.”
Assume Your Role as a Manager and as a Leader
The Philippines ranks high on the power-distance index, which explains the importance workers put on hierarchies. Most decisions fall on the team leaders and managers, and most importantly, to customers. A proof of this working attitude is the tendency to strictly follow rules and regulations or established methodologies and communication line. To make the most out of this attitude, clients should recognize the role that leaders and managers play in working with them and in mobilizing their staff. Cultures where results are more important than the processes taken to arrive at them will initially find it uncomfortable. However, most successful BPO projects are those that have allowed for results, open communication and escalation of issues at the formative stages of the project.
Put into Consideration How Filipinos Put Emphasis on Pleasing Others
Filipinos are hospitable and very service-oriented – there is an innate desire to please clients or customers. Clients should use this to their advantage by providing feedback as much as they can to their staff and spell out their expectations at crucial stages of the project.
Be Aware of “Filipino Time”
Learn how to impose the value of timeliness. This is because of the tendency of Filipinos to hand in their work late. But for clients who are situated in time zones 8-16 hours later than the Philippines, most fast-track work are handed in while the clients are still asleep or getting out of bed.