The top five misconceptions about sending work to the Philippines.
- Poor work quality.
This is the most common reason small business owners or executives are reluctant to send work to the Philippines. There is good reason for this. Many Australian executives’ experience is limited to dealing with a junior call centre agent. Thus, they incorrectly put all Filipino talent in the same box. The irony is that if a small business owner spoke to an Australian customer service agent and had a poor service experience, they would not automatically assume that all Australian talent is the same because they know better.
The harsh truth is that many Australian brands and large-scale Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers hire thousands upon thousands of Filipino juniors (with little or no work experience) to support Australian customers. By compassion, at the other end of the talent spectrum, you have highly skilled and experienced Filipinos who deliver work to an Australian standard and do it more efficiently. Repeatedly, we hear clients share their happiness with their Filipino team and the quality of their work.
However, there is one caveat to that. The work sent to the Philippines must be “fit for purpose” for remote work and Filipino talent. Any work that requires strategic thinking, significant problem-solving, intellectual property (IP) creation, and innovation still needs to be done in Australia. On the other hand, anything that is business as usual (BAU) is a perfect fit to be sent to the Philippines.
- My customers will not want to deal with people from overseas.
Again, based on business owners’ poor service experience with junior call centre agents, they put all Filipino talent in the same box. You need a different talent strategy from the mega-outsourcing companies. Thus, rather than hiring juniors, recruit folks with a few years of experience working for Australian customers with little communication or cultural gap. We often get feedback from our client’s customers that they are delighted with the support they get from the Philippines.
- Building a team in the Philippines will harm my business culture.
Small business owners or senior executives who take immense pride in their business culture often feel that sending work to the Philippines will harm their culture. However, once they take the time to understand that you can build a team in the Philippines that adopts their business practices and culture, they become more open to the idea.
This is also born from the idea that you must physically bring people together to develop and sustain a business culture. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, after experiencing the benefits of working from home during the pandemic and beyond, some executives still advocate for office-based work. However, more progressive employers embrace at least a hybrid work model and are thus well-versed in managing people remotely. In this case, your employees sit in Greater Metro Manila, Philippines, rather than Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
- My offshore staff must come into an office to maximise our employee engagement and create the culture we want.
You might be surprised to hear that despite all we know and have experienced with remote work over the past few years, some small business owners still like having their offshore team come into an office to develop and sustain their business culture. Small business owners are often blissfully unaware that asking their Filipino team to work from an office can add three to four hours of travel time daily. Filipinos have experienced all the benefits of working from home, and asking someone to commute twenty hours per week is not time well spent. And, if your team members reluctantly agree to attend the office to secure a good job, the moment they find a 100% work-from-home employer, they will leave you quicker than you can say, “I thought you valued our business culture”!
- My customer and company data and IP will be safer in Australia.
With the increasing high-profile customer data leaks, it is no surprise that senior executives are becoming more focused on data and IP protection. If you have an internal technical team or use a third-party provider, they should be able to give you sound advice on protecting your data further and improving your security posture. We have all been working remotely for years, and the cybersecurity industry has developed clever strategies to address the new way of working.
Thus, we can adopt our clients’ security posture requirements, but we also have robust business practices to manage these risks.