According to Philip Kooijman, founder and chief executive of Salmat Microsourcing, the key to employing overseas staffers is understanding the cultural differences between the homeland staff and those employed elsewhere.
“We focus on the Philippines, and culturally they are different to Australians in that they are a little shyer, and less assertive,” he said. “This means it’s harder to get negative feedback on a particular job or task”
Salmat Microsourcing employs 2000 staff in the Philippines servicing 130 medium and large enterprises. Kooijman said the skill set is very comparable to western nations, and the company employs staff across a range of professions, from legal and accounting to graphic design.
The key to getting the most out of these arrangements, which can save a business a significant amount in staffing costs, is for clients to be very hands-on and engaged with the Filipino staff, rather than just assuming the outsourcing will take care of itself.
“The Filipino staff do work differently,” said Kooijman. “They like large open plan offices, and they are very strong with family and the family unit. They are also very keen on celebrations and events, and so we make an effort to recognise those times.”
The trend toward outsourcing has traditionally been focussed at the big end of town. That’s changing, however, with the emergence of new businesses aimed at bringing the strength of outsourcing to medium sized enterprise. So what do HR pros need to know about staffing up overseas?