What’s the key to successful offshoring? Building a culture of engagement and belonging

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!

Loyalty and staff retention – where the real value can lie

Often, when businesses first consider using an offshore workforce, their primary driver is the considerable savings on labour costs. Whilst there is little argument that this is a significant benefit, an often overlooked additional benefit is the staff loyalty and high staff retention rates which can be achieved with Filipino staff.

Understanding Cultural Differences

Though there are many similarities between Australians and Filipinos, such as their shared love of American culture, western systems of government/education and use of the English language, there are also many cultural differences. One of the biggest differences is the level of importance and degree of influence of family. There is no doubt that in Filipino society, family comes before all else, including work. One example of this is the difference between how we treat our aging family members. In Australia, both aged care facilities and retirement villages are big business. In the Philippines however, the concepts hardly even exist – ageing family members are simply looked after at home by the younger family members. We might think that family is important to us, and no question it is, but Filipinos take this to a whole new level.

It is also common for Filipinos to treat their work colleagues as a second family and value these work relationships almost as importantly as they value relationships with their actual family. This can have both positive and negative repercussions for prospective employers.

On the negative side, when dealing with staff, it is very important to be mindful of the very close relationships that may have developed between co- workers. If you don’t treat a staff member fairly, you may find the consequences extend well beyond that person and impact the morale of your whole team. Likewise, whilst it might be tempting to try out new staff on the basis that if it doesn’t work out you can let them go during their probation period, the indirect consequence of this might be that you also lose staff that you want to keep! When dealing with performance management issues, you also need to be careful and considered in your approach. It isn’t that you can’t deal with under-performance or, if necessary, let someone go. It is just that you need to do it in a carefully considered way to ensure that it is understood and perceived as being fair.

Conversely, if you are prepared to properly engage with your staff by understanding and treating them well, it is possible to develop a culture where there is both high levels of productivity and loyalty by all staff, both to each other and the business. It is, however, not an easy thing to achieve and maintain. It requires a careful balance between maintaining ongoing performance while also avoiding unnecessary or unduly harsh criticisms or disciplinary action.

If you can create a culture among your employees where they truly feel that your workplace is their second family and that they are an indispensable part of it, you will likely have employees who will ride through the tough times with you and stay by your side in circumstances where equivalent Australian employees would have long since left.

The cost, both direct and indirect, of staff turnover is very significant and the benefits which will flow from good staff retention and loyalty are substantial. Unfortunately these days, in Australia, high staff turnover, particularly amongst younger staff, is a fact of life. No more is the norm a “job for life” but it is instead far more common to see staff changing jobs every two years or so often for no reason other than a simple change of scenery.

The opportunity to employ staff in the Philippines who will both assist with the development of the business and, if engaged properly, stay in the long term is a significant benefit often overlooked by employers when considering offshoring.