Filipinos are known for many things. We’re known for our beautiful islands, our hospitable people, our top-notch workers, and much more. In a country where diverse people and culture exists, there is no lack of workplace culture. Whether you’re an incoming employee, a person who’s planning to hire Filipino workers or establish a business in the Philippines, or are just plain curious what is the Filipino workplace culture, this article is useful for you!
What is Filipino workplace culture?
1. Titles and Nicknames
Titles are the norm in the Philippines. No matter where you are, you’ll hear someone calling another person “ate”, “kuya”, “ma’am”, “sir”, etc. Titles don’t only apply in a casual setting, but also in professional ones. It’s normal for a subordinate to call someone superior to him or her as “Ma’am” or “Sir”. Even when you tell Filipinos not to address you with these titles, they will (most often) do so.
Filipinos also like being called with their nicknames. These nicknames are not just short versions of their name like “Rob” for “Robert” or “Beth” for “Elizabeth”, but can also be “Junior” for someone who has the “Jr.” suffix in their name or others like “Jaja”, “Bebang”, “Bong”, etc.
2. Unique Communication Style
When speaking in Tagalog, within or outside of work, to elders, superiors, managers, colleagues, etc., Filipinos use “po” and “opo” (which is a formal form of “yes”).
Filipinos are also very expressive and highly contextual. What is not said in conversation is said by raising both eyebrows for affirmation and opening of the mouth widely for clarification or repetition. Their “yes” and “no” are not so definite, depending on what the situation is. Their answers could be a “yes, but…”, “no for now”, and “maybe”. Try to look for other clues when speaking to them to better understand what they really mean.
3. Hospitality, Warmth, and Friendliness
The hospitality, warmth, and friendliness of Filipinos don’t stop at home. Majority of workplace cultures in the Philippines have these traits highly embedded. New to town? Don’t worry, you’ll surely have someone who’ll tell you all the places you could go to. New to the company? More often than not, you’ll have someone to tour you or your managers and co-workers will throw a welcome party. In no time, you’ll be at ease in your new environment.
4. Co-Workers as a Family
Strong bond runs through the Filipino workplace due to the long hours that they spend together. It’s common to hear a colleague calling another “Nanay” or “Tatay”, as well as eating lunch together. Got a bonus? Be ready to treat your squad. There are also other activities like summer outings and Christmas parties to celebrate with each other.
Need to finish the work by today? No problem. Many workers don’t mind having to work beyond business hours just to finish their tasks. Although nowadays, people prefer to have proper work-life balance, if needed, there’s no problem for many Filipino employees to extend.
And despite having a lot on their plate, Filipino workers are willing to extend a hand to those in need, as well as let their creativity and resourcefulness shine.
There are many more values that are endemic to Filipinos that they carry to their work not only in the Philippines but also all over the world.