The Philippines is one of Asia’s most diversified countries, famed for its beautiful islands, friendly people, talented professions, and much more. Because of these, the nation has become one of the top locations for investors and businesses from all over the world looking to establish themselves. As a workforce, the Filipino spirit has enormous potential. Therefore, understanding the Filipino workplace culture is important.
The Workplace Culture in the Philippines
Before anything else: What is workplace culture? This refers to the set of behaviors and beliefs held by employees and people within the business. It is defined by the company’s values, visions, beliefs, and assumptions. An organization’s work environment can have a profound impact on its employees, affecting not only their job satisfaction but also their overall well-being. Hence, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of different cultures to create a positive and productive workplace.
As mentioned at the onset, while the country boasts of its natural beauty, the Filipinos are equally known for their character. And in a country with such diversity, there is no shortage of positive Filipino workplace culture.
For example, Filipinos are known for being welcoming and accommodating, even at the workplace. Their typically sunny disposition and inherent helpfulness are integral components that help break down the barrier of shyness. Dealing with Filipino employees can also make you feel comfortable in your surroundings because they are easy to get along with. They are always ready to help, will help you relax when times are difficult, and will always encourage you to reach your fullest potential.
There are many more Filipino values that they bring to their job not only in the Philippines but all across the world. Below is a short video detailing some of the qualities they possess that help a company espousing a Filipino workplace culture to thrive:
Benefits of Having a Healthy Filipino Workplace Culture
1. Reduced Absenteeism and Turnover Rates
A healthy workplace culture can increase employee happiness, engagement, and productivity. This means they are less inclined to miss work or resign. For business owners, it’s a must to build a strong, healthy work environment if you want to save money in the long run and lower turnover rates.
2. Optimized Productivity
Positive organizational culture fosters an environment where workers can be more productive. When Filipinos, who are known to have a sense of belonging, feel more empowered, their production levels rise. Filipino workers who are invested in the company are more willing to go the extra mile.
3. Increased Customer Satisfaction
When productivity rises, so does the quality of the products and services that are provided to clients. This, in turn, results in increased customer satisfaction. And as customer satisfaction rises, so does your company’s profit. Customers are more likely to remain loyal to a company with a positive culture and employees who are satisfied with their employment.
Differences Between the American and Filipino Work Culture
Although Filipino workers recognize and relate to many American and Western references, they are nonetheless strongly ingrained in their own work culture. They have values, habits, and beliefs that differ slightly from the others.
Here’s what you need to know about the Philippines’ business culture and how it differs from that of the United States:
On Being Straightforward
Majority of Americans prefer direct communication. They say exactly what they mean and get right to the point. Filipinos, on the other hand, are hesitant to reveal their actual feelings when asked for feedback. Most Filipinos find directness unpleasant, unfriendly, or even disrespectful.
Filipinos have unique communication styles and are also emotive and contextual. What is not said in conversation is expressed by facial gestures or body language. Their “yes” and “no” are not as firm, depending on the situation. Henceforth, open disagreement, heated discussions, criticizing someone’s work, and expressing strong viewpoints are not their cup of tea.
Hierarchy and Honorifics
Hierarchy is important in the Philippines, and employing honorifics is part of the Filipino workplace culture. In the United States, it is completely appropriate to address your boss by their first name, but doing so to your Filipino boss will land you in hot waters.
Instead, Filipino workers in general simply say “Ma’am” or “Sir,” or the other person’s professional title such as “Chairman,” “President,” “Attorney,” or “Doctor.” They never call their superior by their first name.
Another difference involves the constant use of ‘po’ and ‘opo’ as the Filipinos’ manner of expressing respect in all situations. These words have been part of Filipino culture for years and will never be forgotten because they are just a handful of the thousands of ways Filipinos can demonstrate respect when speaking with senior colleagues or elders.
This year, there are 19 Philippine holidays—both regular and special non-working—to celebrate, whereas Americans only have 11 federal holidays. The phrase “Americans live to work” captures the attitude of the American work culture. Although the standard workday in the United States is from 9AM to 5PM, most Americans work far longer hours.
In addition, instances of employees arriving early and staying late are not uncommon; this work ethic is sometimes recognized as hard work and dedication. However, there are a handful of holidays that both the Philippines and the US celebrate, such as office Christmas parties.
Americans are significantly less likely than folks from other countries to mingle with their coworkers outside of work. In American workplaces, you are expected to complete your given task on your own. They may provide short and varied training, and your manager may expect you to complete it on your own.
In a Filipino workplace culture, on the other hand, Filipino employees would frequently share lunch and coffee breaks, hold potlucks to mark special occasions, go on karaoke dates after shift, and plan out-of-town vacations for fun.
All these speak of Filipinos’ high regard for camaraderie. So, in addition to everyday interactions and occasional meals out, they facilitate team-building activities. This usually includes the entire team or department traveling out of town (at the company’s expense) and engaging in various activities aimed to strengthen to bond of the group.
Meetings, phone calls, and other duties dominate most Americans’ work days. Individuals are quite busy; thus it is expected that you arrive on time or even a few minutes early for meetings. Being late might be perceived as impolite, so it’s critical to be on time. If you’re going to be late, it is normal practice to write an email informing your manager or coworkers of your impending absence.
Conversely, Filipinos have a laidback attitude toward timekeeping and punctuality. Being late and starting things late has long been part of the Philippine culture. Many Filipinos appear to practice or accept it, so much so that they have a term for it: “Filipino Time.”
How Can Filipino Work Culture Affect Businesses?
The importance of workplace culture in modern business cannot be emphasized. As mentioned above, Eastern and Western communication techniques are vastly different. Understanding Filipino workplace culture bridges the gap and enables you to communicate successfully without the risk of misinterpretation or misunderstanding. It influences how workers work, how customers interact with the company, and how the organization runs internally.
A workplace culture that fosters productivity and innovation will thrive. There are far too many benefits to having a good company culture to list them all, but the most important one is likely the most visible—employees. People who are satisfied with their jobs are more likely to stay, which implies they are more involved and productive. And when staff are pleased, consumers are satisfied.
Experience a Healthy Filipino Workplace Culture at FilWeb Asia
It is undeniable that Filipinos distinguish themselves in the global job market by carrying traits that are distinctly Filipino and bring out the best in their performance. If you want to work in such a setting, FilWeb Asia is the place to be! Here at FilWeb Asia, we express our admiration for our staff by providing innovative technologies to make their jobs easier. We also promote work-life balance and professional advancement.
If you want to see what it’s like to be active, look into our career opportunities and join our community today. Check our website for more details.