Different cultures place different value on the importance of family in driving their behaviour. In regards to Filipino and Western ideals, the difference is substantial. It is important to acknowledge the cultural norms, in both how Westerners deal with family, as well as the Filipino value system. Understanding this properly will shape how you interact with your offshore workforce in a positive manner.
Family at the heart of personal development
It is well established that a person’s values and ideals drive their actions, behaviour and demeanour. An individual’s closest relationships are often formed form birth and then honed over many years of interaction, collaboration and emotional and psychological development. In a Western environment, it can be said that as an individual grows and develop focus is placed heavily on promoting independence and separation from the family unit. This growth and focus on ‘leaving the nest’ is often signified with children maturing, moving out and severing any financial dependence on their parents. On the other hand, this move to independence also means that offspring are not compelled to support or provide any assistance to their family. This may of course change as family members start to age and require assistance, whether it is slight financial support or a move into a facility.
The above is the complete antithesis to how Filipino’s deal with their family unit. It really is a “unit” as throughout the lifecycle, a family stays completely together. Their complete and utter commitment to their family is at a different stratosphere. In order to articulate it in a simple way, it can be said that the Filipinos embrace and encourage a more centralised approach to family conversely as a Western family matures it becomes far more fragmented, with individuals moving out and severing any links of dependence.
Family above all else
More often than not, family will always be the highest priority to Filipinos. Gatherings are large and loud, including up to 30 people all at once! As mentioned earlier, Filipinos deal with the transition to adulthood in a completely different fashion, whereby Western parents raise their offspring to leave the nest as soon as possible (usually 18) as young Filipinos transition into adults and turn 18, they aren’t expected (forced) to move out and live on their own. They are raised and encouraged to continue to contribute and play an active part in a highly centralised family unit. Consequently, the idea of putting elderly parents in a home or with an external care provider is considered an absurd concept and often frowned upon. As a result of this fierce loyalty and dedication exhibited in regards to the family unit, many Filipinos centre their work efforts and professional development as a means to provide for their families, especially those family members who had to migrate from the provinces and settle in Metro Manila or abroad. Despite inconveniences to them many Filipinos are often willing to go the extra mile if it means being able to provide for their families, even marginally.
Treating everyone like family. Literally
The importance of family is also very prevalent in the everyday language used by Filipinos; this is usually to the point that it’s almost unnoticeable for them. While we would normally use “sir” and “madam” to refer to people we don’t know informally, Filipinos occasionally use “kuya” and “ate” – meaning “older brother” and “older sister” in Filipino – to address them. These can be, but not limited to, their taxi driver, their local barista or even a stranger on the street they want to get the attention of. When amongst people they know personally, Filipinos use “tito” and “tita” when addressing the parents of their friends, and this translates to “uncle” and “aunt.” It may seem unusual for foreigners to hear them refer to people outside of their family as one of their own, but this is second nature to all Filipinos and shows just how deeply rooted familial bonds are in their culture.
Staff should feel like they belong to an extended family
By understanding the importance of family to your Filipino workforce, you will begin to understand an critical facet of Filipino culture and how to properly approach it when it comes to engaging with your staff based in the Philippines. Too often do we hear stories of great employees leaving their companies because of other staff being inconsiderate or unaware of particular cultural differences. When people feel like they don’t belong or are in a closed, unwelcoming and hostile environment, they are more likely to quit rather than stay on for as long as they can. For those that do choose to stick it out, doing so would take a toll on their well-being and can lead more damaging effects.
We’ve discussed how a culture of engagement and belonging in your workplace can help keep staff motivated and driven and in the Filipino context, this can be done by creating an office culture that feels like their second home. By creating an atmosphere that feels like they belong and allowing for proper balance with work-life integration, you will have staff that will stay continuously productive, work to the best of their abilities and remain loyal to you, just like they would with their real families.
The concept of a paperless office has been floating around for a while now. However, it has usually been met with scepticism and roadblocks by businesses who question the cost and degree of difficulty in implementing a truly paperless office. The paperless office concept does not necessarily mean removing all forms of paper from your businesses daily work processes, it is more about better document management and making it easier to store, search and retrieve data, as well as freeing up space and reducing print overheads! On the corporate social responsibility side of things, a paperless office also reflects an organisations commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. The rapid development of cloud based storage, data imaging, email and other document management technology makes it easier for modern workplaces to better manage their organisations document management processes. The above benefits are a few of the more obvious ones in implementing a paperless office, there are many more. However, some of the bigger advantages should not only be considered but put into practice by any company in order to keep up with ever changing trends in the future.
Ease of Information Searching
At its core, a paperless office means utilising the cloud for creating, sorting and sharing content within your workplace and with clients. Managing, tracking and accessing data becomes far easier when it is stored digitally. Each individual file can be stored in a database and is marked with Meta data ensuring easy access for employees and clients alike. This method of storing documents also reduces the risk of important documents being lost.
Access from anywhere
As well as reducing fixed costs, reducing the amount of space required for storage and ease of locating important documents, a paperless office also empowers employees and clients to work and interact more effectively. Massive developments in cloud base technology, security protocols and cost effective storage solutions have allowed employees and clients alike to access key documents and information online, wherever they are based! A range of cost effective out of the box storage solutions make it extremely easy to execute a paperless office solutions that will improve internal business efficiency as well as the way in which a business can interact with clients.
Employment contracts, invoices, precedents, emails, policies and procedures and files notes are some examples of documents that can still require a physical copy of the document to be maintained. However, by creating and storing a digital version of such key documents you ensure that you can access them anytime as well as providing a secondary back-up in the event of a serious event such as a natural disaster or fire.
We’ve previously discussed the importance of having strong security for your company. In order to prevent important documents from finding their way into the wrong hands, misplaced or even stolen, implementing a cloud storage solution requires the user to have secure credentials. This means that certain documents, depending on their security levels can only be accessed by users with the required clearance level.
We have successfully implemented a paperless approach to doing business. Our Philippines and Brisbane based offices operated in an entirely integrated fashion, all key documents, communications, engagement and collaboration with clients is conducted with efficiency in mind.
Executing a successful offshore staffing solutions requires an innovative approach to document management. The team at Diversify can assist your organisation in implementing a highly efficient, cost effective and accessible offshore team. In addition to increasing your business capacity, capability and efficiency in working but you will enable your locally based team to work smarter!
Well, what a busy few weeks it’s been over at the Diversify Offices. I’ve just returned from a week-long visit to our Makati offices and thought it’d be a great time for an update. As a leading offshoring services provider, we believe that it is important that our management team regularly visit our Philippines based offices. That’s because regular engagement with your offshore team not only betters inter-office relationships, it cultivates a culture of belonging that can result in loyal staff members.
Why you might ask?
Well, it’s the only way to really understand operations; being at the front line, at the coal face.
To really understand offshoring, you need to work with your team during a busy Makati City working week!
Trust me… I know firsthand. I’ve had a few opportunities to immerse myself in the Filipino working environment (most recently having spent two months there with my young family) and Makati is fast becoming my second home. This time around, I only thought it was fair to take along our newest team member, Mark Evans.
Mark has recently joined us as the new Marketing and Business Development Manager for Diversify. I wanted Mark to get to know the services and people that he will be working with and this was a great opportunity. He recently shared some of his experiences during our visit over there and you can check them out here.
Building a culture of engagement and belonging
Our clients care about their offshore employees. As a business that provides quality offshore teams to small, medium and large business, we ensure that our Filipino based workers have access to a rewarding and nurturing work environment.
To achieve this, Diversify places a high level of importance on a strong people and culture strategy underpinned by a strategic events calendar and communications approach.
We want to ensure team members are delivering strong results, and to do this, a strong culture built on teamwork, dedication and hard work is critical.
To promote an inclusive and collaborative culture at the Diversify offices we host a range of fun events and communication activities throughout the year including:
- A Valentine’s Day celebration
- Annual Diversify Sporting Games
- Annual Company Outing
- A Christmas Party
- A Halloween Party
- Monthly team lunches and huddles.
Our approach to people and culture is built upon continuous improvement and we’re always looking for ways to further our engagement offshore employees.
We’re proud of the way we as a business, and our clients, work together to build loyal and committed offshore teams.
Our very high employee retention rates of 98% is a testament that our approach to people and culture is delivering engaged and committed team members.
It’s going to be an exciting 2016 for Diversify
During my trips to our Makati offices, I took the opportunity to present at our monthly ‘huddle’ meeting. Our huddles are focused on providing news, sharing updates, welcoming new starters, celebrating milestones and success, and outlining the Diversify strategic initiatives to our team members.
At this month’s huddle, I provided a business recap of the last 12 months. 2015 was an incredible year for our business with a growth rate of 223%. This was all due in no small part to the dedication and support of our team on the ground in Manila.
As we move through 2016, we are showing no signs of slowing down.
We have a number of exciting new projects on the horizon dedicated to continually improving and innovating the services we provide to our clients. At the same time, our experienced management team is committed to building staff engagement and skills – we truly believe the two go hand in hand.
Our focus on having happy and fulfilled employees ensures they deliver quality results for their employers. And ultimately, that’s what our primary objective is, assisting businesses in accelerating their growth and realising the opportunities that can come with a great offshoring strategy.
Diversify is a leading provider of offshore workforce solutions. With a large talent pool of skilled candidates, we can assist you in designing and implementing a successful offshore strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about Diversify and how offshoring can work for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions you may have!