The advantages of offshoring in business are growing, and I want to share my personal experience to demonstrate that others can discover the opportunity in it, too.
As an owner of high growth businesses, choosing the right people to work with is crucial for success, because my entire business model revolves around them. My team is enthusiastic every day, and it’s that very enthusiasm that has more of an impact than most business leaders appreciate.
This photo shows one of my creative teams, with smiles all around! We’ve worked together for close to 2 years now and although we’ve formed, stormed and normed in that time, I can proudly say the team is now a high performing marketing powerhouse; but high performance doesn’t simply manifest out of thin air. The team is incredibly productive and produces world class work at every opportunity because they learn fast, are fun to work with, are dedicated and focused, and strive to go the extra mile when given the proper mentoring opportunities. When a business learns just how valuable a team like this is, they will discover the true growth potential their organisation can achieve.
Beepo and The Filipino Culture
When I was searching offshore for talent, I was naturally drawn to the Philippines. For more than 10 years, the country has been widely regarded as the #1 global destination for business process outsourcing. The Philippines boasts the world’s third largest English-speaking population and a tertiary education system which graduates approximately 600,000 students every year.
However, what I really uncovered there was far greater than I could have imagined. While the above qualities were definitely key attributes, the real value came from the culture I discovered. Filipino people are very service orientated and have a genuine drive to help others. This is not just a great quality for customer service, but a great quality for leading people and teams.
While most businesses with teams in the Philippines concentrate on process driven roles and simple customer service, there is so much more potential on offer these days. In fact, you can manage and mentor offshore staff into leadership positions as well as highly specialised roles. As with anything, there are challenges: clear explanation must be provided in order to guide learning and development at all stages. Context is also important in the training process, so as to explain both the how and the why. However, these are not insurmountable and will actually help you better understand your own business in the process.
If you want to understand more about cross-cultural management and how this comes into play at work, check out the tools and research by Hofstede. Professor Geert Hofstede conducted perhaps the most comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture.
If you click on the website via the link below, you will find Hofstede’s culture comparison tool. This tool can be used to compare the general values of cultures and provide some insight into how best to lead, manage and conduct business offshore.
What Are My Key Learnings?
Over the last three years, I have discovered that Philippines culture, more or less due to its history, is one of the most westernised cultures in Asia. This likeness to Western culture makes Filipinos great partners in any offshoring strategy. Historically, businesses generally offshored basic, process-driven tasks to the Philippines, however I set out to recruit, train and mentor the right people. When I had the right people and applied strong leadership, my Philippines-based staff embraced the opportunity to take on more advanced, strategic projects.
I’ve found my team have a ‘can-do’ attitude and strong work ethic, which is very similar to the traits I see making Australian businesses successful globally. In fact, some tasks I simply would not consider giving to my Australian team anymore, because I know they will do a substandard job due to the fact they simply do not like doing that particular type of work.
I’ve learnt to challenge the norm and in the Philippines, I see a lot of businesses struggling to find value from offshoring because they are not engaging with their Philippines Team at a high enough level. Like any team, different people have a variety of strengths and weaknesses, and if you wrap this up with leadership, and training and development, you can build a highly productive team for your business.