Outsourcing: Crossing the Cultural Divide

You wouldn’t visit a foreign country without familiarising yourself with the local customs and social norms first. Doing business abroad is no different. If you want to form a successful outsourcing partnership, built on mutual respect, it’s crucial that you understand the cultural nuances of your workforce.

Here are some useful tips on how to forge strong working relationships in the Philippines.

Filipinos are obliging

Filipinos are the ultimate ‘can-do’ people, but in their desire to please they can find it difficult to say no, articulate a problem or broach a difficult subject. To overcome this obstacle you must build relationships based on mutual trust, so that they feel like they can tell you anything.

Provide feedback

Feedback is the universal language of good people management. People love to receive positive feedback, and it is an important tool for boosting morale and team engagement. Be mindful of your e-language and always preface any negative or corrective remarks with something positive.

Document business processes

Your team is only as good as the instructions provided to them. When you hire a new employee, it’s crucial that you give them an exact brief on the tasks they are expected to perform and how. Outsourcing is no different. Develop systems and processes with precise step-by-step instructions (training videos are a great option). These can be used as a reference for your entire team to ensure consistency.

Invest in training and development

Your people are your greatest asset. Invest in training and development and enjoy the dividends that come from having a team that is expertly skilled, productive and engaged. I recommend nominating an ‘Outsource Champion’ within your business who is responsible for inducting new employees. They will be the trainee’s first point of contact and will co-ordinate routine training schedules. 

Be social, Be visual

Be yourself and be social. Getting to know each other personally will make a big difference to your long-term working relationship. Share a little about yourself and take the time to chat ‘face to face’ on Skype or via Lync.

Importantly, don’t become a faceless employer who only communicates via email. This is impersonal and will do little to build relationships and trust.

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