After 10 years of living in the Philippines, raising a family and managing staff here, I have learned some key cultural elements which will help you have a successful relationship with your Virtual Assistant. Once you adjust to these differences, you will thrive with your Filipino Virtual Assistants.
- Family First. Above all else – even their job. Your Virtual Assistant is probably the breadwinner for his/her entire family. He or She is also the one who most likely takes charge whenever there is an illness or crisis in the family. These family responsibilities and obligations take him/her away from work.
- Redundancy. Try to avoid having only one person know how to do something especially if you don’t know how to do it either. Cross-train other team members. We always have at least two people on each team, even if it’s only 4 hours per day each.
- Saving face. Filipinos find it hard to say “no” to challenges. They want to please you so much that they will say whatever they think will please you. If you ask “Do you understand?”, their response will always be “yes”. A better way to ask is “Did I show you how to do that well enough? Or “Is there some part I could explain better to you?”.
- Socialize. Filipinos enjoy social time with their workmates. This is one of the many advantages of having an office-based Virtual Assistant. Treat them sometimes to take their workmates out for lunch. They will love to show their colleagues how great their boss is.
- Put everything in writing. Use a project management system such as Asana. They are great at following processes.
- Be clear. Do not just ask them “what do you think?”. Give them specific tasks.
- Incentives. Pay regular bonuses – even small ones. The money helps and you get to show your support. As you grow your team, if they are paid differently, make sure each level of compensation has a different job description. This will keep the harmony – as they do speak to each other about their pay.
- Acknowledge their achievements, however small. Praise in front of their peers but criticize (gently) your Virtual Assistant privately. Always start by telling them something they did well.
The last tip will help you win over your onshore employees that your Virtual Assistants are here to make their life easier.
- · Integrate your Virtual Assistants with your onshore team. Your Virtual Assistants can be doing tasks that you and your onshore staff do not like to do. This frees up time for you and your staff to work on higher-level income-producing projects. Your Virtual Assistant will feel much more valuable if they are working together with you and your onshore staff.
Remember, Global OfficeWorks has an entire management team in place to support you. Whenever we can be of any assistance, please reach out to us at any time.