If you’re a small business wanting to build an offshore team in the Philippines, you need to consider this…

Posted 05 April 2018

Speaking to Australian SMB owners every day, there’s definitely more of an appetite for building offshore teams in the Philippines now than ever before.  Particularly in the disciplines of Accounting, Design, IT, Web Development, and Administration, the Philippine offering is constantly improving with many highly skilled, highly driven and highly experienced professionals interested in working for Aussie SMBs.  For business owners here in Australia, the potential of delivering high-quality work at a reduced cost is too good to ignore.   Speaking from experience, the Philippines is a great place to build a team – if you do it right.

If you’re looking to build a team in the Philippines, there are many things to consider – how to find the right people, where they will work, what will they do, and the list goes on.  However, I find one of the biggest challenges that is often overlooked relates to culture – how will your new employee adapt to working for an Australian SMB?

While many Aussie SMBs are only now taking the opportunity to build teams in the Philippines, the offshoring sector is still driven predominantly by US and European multinationals servicing larger customer markets.  Due to the size and scope of these organisations, many of their offshored roles are very process driven, requiring little thought, creativity or direction.  Because of this, many Filipino professionals are cutting their teeth in organisations and roles that don’t allow them to express their creativity, problem-solving abilities or passion for innovation.   In many cases, these multinationals are producing robot-like workers who find it hard to deviate from the set process given by Head Office.

Generally, Australian SMBs think differently – their people are their biggest, most valuable resource who are not just there to execute a process.  All the businesses we work with look for employees who can add value and help them grow.   Because of this, it’s become important we find great people who can think differently, be strategic, do what needs to be done to get a great outcome for their employer – it’s a very different mentality to the 9-5 multinational worker.

What we’re increasingly seeing in the market is Aussie SMBs hiring great technical people, but for it to fall apart because this cultural difference was either not seen or not acted on quick enough.  Many times, the problem could have been easily solved with clearer expectations and encouragement to innovate, create and help the business grow – the role of most employees in Australian small businesses.

For any Australian SMBs looking to hire offshore staff in Manila, consider different working cultures when hiring.  Working with a large corporate shouldn’t be a deal breaker when hiring great people, however, set a realistic expectation about how your business works and clearly explain why they need to work differently when in an SMB.  This will be the difference between hiring a great employee or a great robot.