Filipinos love to watch American movies and even tune in to foreign TV shows. They can probably belt out or hum a tune popularized by a Western band or artist. You see, they’ve been influenced by the western culture one way or another. And it’s because of their close affinity to this culture that a lot of foreign companies and businesses choose to work with them. But though they’re known for their hard work and for being friendly, there are some things you still need to understand about them to avoid confusion and miscommunication in the workplace.
To put aside the cultural differences, it helps to know certain things about Filipino employees. Here are some of their common traits and personalities:
Filipinos can be really sensitive.
Though some may hate to admit it, Filipinos can get really emotional. Something you say may be taken too seriously. A change in tone or sometimes a too-forward or direct approach can make them feel that you’re actually upset or mad. It helps to be a bit sensitive and careful when giving feedback. This can be a big deal for them, as they may value your opinion too much. You can always be honest but try to be tactful. Find something positive to talk about before you go ahead and point out what they could have done wrong or differently. As you become more sensitive to their feelings, you can build trust and confidence. Eventually, they may find it easy to talk to you about certain things at work.
Filipinos may try to beat around the bush, so they won’t embarrass others.
Sometimes, it can be hard to get direct answers from them, which can be quite frustrating. They may give you mix signals. They won’t tell you exactly how they think or feel about some things. Instead, they’ll try to sugar coat and beat around the bush, thinking that they might embarrass you for being too forward or honest with their thoughts. Saying no is difficult for many, whereas in other cultures, there seems to be no harm in doing so. Make them feel like it’s okay if they don’t agree or will have to say no to encourage honesty and openness.
Filipinos can be really shy.
Especially during the first few meetings, Filipino employees tend to be really shy. They seem too reserved or perhaps even too quiet, looking afraid to speak to you. And, this can be misinterpreted in a lot of ways. Most of the time, however, they’re just really timid and nervous. They’re embarrassed to ask questions or go directly to you even if they have something in mind. Eventually, they can overcome this if you make them feel comfortable and if you make it easy for them to discuss certain matters with you.
Filipinos hate confrontation.
Filipinos are very easy-going. Because of this, most of them tend to avoid confrontations that can create conflict or tension. You won’t see most of them arguing with their bosses or directly pointing out problems. They may drop subtle hints, and that’s how far some of them can go. Even if it’s nothing personal and it’s all about work, not too many Filipino employees are comfortable or bold enough to point out certain issues that bother them. It may be a bit hard to gauge how they feel about a certain situation or what they think of it. Instead of letting them harbor any ill feeling or vent out behind your back, it’ll be better if you discuss things with them. Be more open to what they think or feel, as long as they remain respectful and don’t go beyond the boundaries.