When employing an offshore team, it is important that they understand your business, culture, as well as your customers and clients.
It is important that they understand Australia, and the it’s culture. A great deal of this can be done through the creation of “lifestyle” videos.
Their terminology will reflect the US, such as sidewalk rather than footpath. If there are any such differences for your business language, it is important to highlight these. Consider making a game or puzzle of these as the Filipinos love to celebrate and have fun. This would make a great team bonding activity.
Which brings us to the next point.
An equally important consideration is understanding the Philippine Culture. How it is similar to and how it differs from your home culture. By taking time to learn the aspects that your employees hold dearest, how they like to spend their time, how they react in various situations and even the foods they eat will enable you to create a learning framework to maximise their time in Australia.
A few considerations
Low cost of living. Wages are used to support family, esp. siblings’ education. Time Off and Family Time are highly valued.
|Humour||Sarcastic, Forthright||Happy, freshness, cheeky|
|Social Language||Swear, Complain, Slang, Open/Public when voicing displeasure||Non-confrontational, Accepting of poor service or rudeness. Voice displeasure only in private. Very polite. Use of Ma’am and Sir is common|
|Living/Lifestyle||High Cost of Living, so need to work long hours to afford|
|Work Style||Dislike Hard Rules or Processes||Love structure, set processes and KPIs|
|Punctuality||Punctual||Often Late, tardy|
|Societal||Immediate Nuclear family unit||Family-oriented, High respect for family|
|General Language Foundation||English – UK with Aussie bias||Multi/Bi-lingual. Tagalog et al and English – US basis|
|Superstitions||Generally considered “nonsensical”||Rituals or avoiding certain actions are held to protect from ghosts, tic-tic bird (that steals unborn babies), unwanted visitors, varicose veins or having the wrong number of people in a photograph.|
|Foods & Diets||Varied, wheat-based. One plate per person.||Rice is paramount. Shared plates are the norm. Salt is sprinkled on anything sweet is sprinkled with salt, including fruit. Most food is eaten with the hands and dipped in a sauce made of kalamansi juice (small lemon) soy sauce, vinegar and chilli pepper|
|In public||Relaxed, sometimes “risqué” clothing||Conservative – swim fully dressed/covered|
|Bonding||Happy to be alone or in a group||Prefer to be in a group, a “batch” is a work group that begins at the same time and is strongly bonded|
|Values||Multi-cultural, generally accepting of all nationalities, but with an Australian bias||Rich Christian values of Europe, pragmatic and democratic values of America, spiritual values of Asia|
|Loyalty||Individuals are often searching for the “next opportunity or promotion”||Commitment to the role is a family decision, not an individual’s|
|Government||Democracy||Strong hand of rule over many years, resulting in a culture of subservience.|
|Social Welfare||Strong social welfare system, including unemployed, single parent, elderly and childcare||No Social Welfare system. The family unit, and the local community, takes responsibility for all members|
|Health & Safety||Strictly defined OH&S practices||Very limited safety procedures|
Acknowledging these cultural similarities and differences allows the employer to explain situations as they arise during the visit. Be very respectful of their religious and family culture. Provide the opportunity to attend church if desired. And provide abundant access to the internet to keep in contact with family.
Provide “spending money” as well as their regular wage. The family relies on the regular wage income. So there will be none spare for the Filipino visitor, even for toiletries. Be sure to include a visit to a zoo as they will have heard of the Australian animals, so this will be a delight.
Flights, transport, food, and all living expenses is the employer’s responsibility.
Be sure to have some rice available at all meals to avoid stomach issues. This can occur with very different foods being eaten.
Same goes with water, so it is also advised to have bottled water available. Even with the sophisticated treatment that we have.
Overall, make the visit an enjoyable experience. This will solidify the employee’s loyalty even more, if that’s possible. Be prepared, though, that the culture is such, that if an employee has been asked to socialise with “the boss”. The characteristic of superiority can emerge. This needs to be managed carefully to ensure that it doesn’t affect the overall team morale.