What Philippine Work Culture is All About

30 Apr 2019

Many businesses that found success with offshoring often cite the quality of the team they work with. More often than not, their team is based somewhere in the Philippines. To them, working with Filipinos and making them part of their team has yielded great results.

This should not come as a surprise. The recent 2019 Tholons report ranked the Philippines among the Top 5 outsourcing destinations in the world. We’ve also speculated that the Philippines is set to become the next outsourcing powerhouse, which can be attributed to the skills and talents of the local workforce. In the same Tholons report, Manila, in particular, ranked as the second best “Super City” as an outsourcing destination.

The culture of work in the Philippines is definitely unique. It is a curious mix of cultural and professional elements that shape what a Filipino workforce is. Becoming familiar with it in different aspects provides a glimpse into what Philippine work culture is all about.

Cultural Influences

History has shown that the Philippines is more than capable of adapting to any cultural influences and changes. Most of these are brought by previous colonizers, mainly from the culture of Spain and the United States. Despite these influences, the main culture of Filipinos has been retained and is practised in their way of life. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of the “hospitality” and “friendliness” that Filipinos show to either their fellow countrymen or visitors. Their every day vernacular uses words that treat people with the utmost respect and at times, close familial bonds (we’ll get into this later).

Working with a team in the Philippines means being aware and familiar with what their culture brings. They are hardworking, disciplined, and dedicated to whatever task they take on. They also believe in saving face and speaking in a passive voice to avoid being misinterpreted as being rude or too serious.

Natural Born Speakers

When it comes to English proficiency, the Philippines consistently ranks in the Top 20 countries in the world. Within Asia, the Philippines ranks as the second country with the highest English proficiency just behind Singapore. When going to the Philippines, visitors are able to communicate with the majority of Filipinos thanks to their innate knowledge of English (but a few Filipino phrases certainly would help too!).

Communicating with a team in the Philippines is a seamless experience for many companies.

There are several reasons for this. One of the effects western culture on the Philippines is that it made Filipinos proficient in the English language. Not only do the majority of Filipinos speak English, they also speak neutral tones that other native English speakers understand. They are able to get their points across without the need for further, deeper clarification.

All in the Family

Most, if not all, Filipinos you will encounter are very family-centered and providing for their family is one of their biggest drivers to work. Filipino families enjoy close kin bonds as they usually choose to live even with their extended families. Many of them believe that each member of the family has duties and responsibilities in meeting the needs of the family and this ensures a healthy relationship and harmony among family members.

We’ve discussed at length previously the importance of family in the Philippines. Not only is family one of the biggest motivators for Filipinos, they often take priority above everything. To that end, Filipinos can be the most productive and driven people on your team as they are consistently motivated to support their families. At the same time, some Filipinos avoid working overtime and extended hours, especially if it means losing time to be with them.

Final Thoughts

Being aware of cultural differences will definitely save you from any misunderstandings in the future and can help build stronger relationships in your team. Companies that understand Philippine culture and how it can mesh with their own are able to find success with them.

The unique culture of the Philippines makes the country a vibrant and exciting place to live and visit.  The Filipino people are very adaptable and hardworking as they strive to make life better for their families. This makes them the most preferred workforce for many companies in the US that are looking to outsource their operations.