When you look at successful businesses, the one thing they all have in common are great teams where employees are motivated to work and help the company succeed. Motivated employees are the lifeblood of the company. The backbones are the bosses who know how to motivate them.
It is easy to motivate others when you see them every day, but how do you motivate a worker that perhaps you have never seen in person before? Options are limited, considering it would be pretty difficult to give your Filipino worker a literal pat on the back when they live thousands of miles away. So how do you do it? It all begins with understanding how they think. We have been working with Filipinos for years, and have a solid grasp on what motivates them.
What Motivates Filipino Virtual Workers?
Before we can motivate workers, we first have to understand what motivation really is. Motivation, according to Psychology Today, is defined as the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals.
So how can you spark this “inner force” in your employees so they’ll behave in a purposeful manner?
A new theory on employee motivation, called The Four Drive Model, suggests that workers are motivated when their four main emotional needs or “drives” are met in the workplace. This model is explained in detail by the researchers Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria in their 2002 book Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices. To come up with the model, they looked into neuroscience, biology and evolutionary psychology on what drives the brain to make choices and how the brain responds to rewards. The model shows that motivation is driven by :
- The drive to acquire
- The drive to bond
- The drive to comprehend
- The drive to defend
Employees are most motivated to do their best at work when all four of these needs are fulfilled by their jobs.
Filipino workers are driven by the same things, but the way that we use those drives to motivate them is different because of their unique culture.
Let’s investigate these four different drives and how we can be better at fulfilling them as employers.
Motivate Your Filipino Virtual Workers with a Drive To Acquire
Most Filipinos work not only to fulfill their own basic needs, but for the welfare of their loved ones as well. More often than not, strong family ties between Filipinos obligate them to also provide for their less fortunate family members. This motivates them to take advantage of every opportunity that would allow them earn more. Even when they are earning more than enough for themselves, familial obligations force them to look for side jobs to help them earn a little extra money.
Here at Onlinejobs.ph, we discourage our jobseekers to take on more than 1 full-time job because we know that this can affect their work life balance and performance. Occasionally giving them opportunities to earn more helps reduce worker turnover and allows them to feel your appreciation.
Here are just some of the worker benefits you can provide to satisfy their drive to acquire
1) Provide worker benefits like SSS, Philhealth and Pag-Ibig
SSS (social security), PhilHealth (social medical insurance) and Pag-Ibig (social housing fund) are extremely helpful for Filipino workers. In fact, Filipinos often cite these worker benefits as their main motivation for staying employed. The benefits often extend to their immediate family members and they also provide quick, low interest loans. Offering to pay the employers share of their workers benefits (once they’re past their probation status) will go a long way in showing your Filipino VA that you are serious about establishing a long term working relationship.
2) Give 13th month and midyear bonuses
The 13th month is defined as 1/12 of a worker’s basic salary within a calendar year. This was enacted into law 1987. The 13th month bonus was created as a way to help employers budget for regular worker bonuses. Most employers release 13 month bonuses during December. If you have workers with children, you can talk to them about giving half of their 13th month early (June) as a midyear bonus to help pay for school expenses.
3) Performance based salary bonuses, increases or commissions
Giving performance based bonuses allows your workers to see their growth in a tangible manner and gives them something to aspire to every year.
4) Paid leave
Paid leaves for illness and vacation can be provided on a staggered basis, depending on the length of time your VA has worked for you.
If you don’t need your Filipino worker to work during regular and special holidays, this already gives them 17 paid holidays. Once the worker completes his or her first, most Philippine companies provide 12 sick leaves per year, with an additional 1 day leave per year (up to a maximum of 15 leaves.) Depending on your arrangement with your worker, you can choose to have these leaves convertible to cash or transferable to the following year.
5) Overtime pay for work done during holidays
If you need you VA to work during Philippine holidays, you can offer them overtime pay to make the idea of working while everyone else is on vacation a little more pleasant. Fortunately, the Philippine government has this nifty infographic to help you compute how much you need to pay.
6) Calamity leaves/loans
The Philippines get hit by roughly 20 typhoons per year.
It would be best to hire workers from areas that are not regularly hit by strong typhoons. But in the event that your worker is affected by a calamity, allowing them to take a leave, loan, or advance on their salary, goes a long way to securing their loyalty.
7) Internet allowance/subsidy
High speed internet can take up a significant chunk for your Filipino VA’s salary, especially if they need to have more than one internet service provider. Offering to pay for or subsidize for high speed internet can greatly increase your worker’s productivity and encourage them to keep working for you.
8) Other worker benefits
Curious about other benefits Filipino companies give to their workers? Here’s a summary of other benefits you can offer your worker.
Motivate Your Filipino Virtual Worker with a Drive To Bond
Filipinos are very social. They want to belong and feel connected with friends, family, and the people they work with. Even if your VAs work away from each other, you can still make their virtual work environment a “place” that would make working for you a great experience.
Encourage your workers’ drive to bond:
9) Communicate with your workers often.
It’s not just about keeping tabs on your workers. It’s making your “presence” known in the workplace. Encouraging regular communication makes it more comfortable for your Filipino VAs to work with you
10) Give them a sense of belonging.
A lot of business owners don’t want their clients to know that they outsource.
Whenever possible, allow your workers to identify themselves as workers under your business. Filipinos WANT to belong, it’s a badge of pride for them to be able to say that they work for a foreign company.
11) Praise your VAs when they do a great job.
Motivate your Filipino virtual assistants by recognizing extraordinary efforts. Cash is a good motivator but praise helps create a positive work environment that motivates workers to do more and do better. It can be something as a simple as an email or an “e-plaque” that your worker can print out or share on social media.
12) Encourage friendships between your workers.
It’s not just about improving teamwork. According to study from the Yale Business School and Evolv Industries, workplace friendships have a positive effect on worker productivity. They saw that the more involved a worker is with an organization (in the form of friendships) the easier it is for them to adapt to challenges. They are more likely to perform better when they are socially invested in helping the organization succeed.
13) Support and encourage collaboration between your workers.
Encouraging your Filipino VAs to turn to another for help with work can reap a boat-load of benefits. A study from Stanford University shows that when worker collaboration is encouraged (not forced), not only are employees more motivated to work, they achieve goals faster, and there is less stress and better engagement.
Motivate Your Filipino Virtual Worker with a
Drive To Comprehend
Filipinos take a lot of pride in their work. They like to feel important and know how they contribute to an organization. Responding to a worker’s drive to comprehend motivates them because it it defines their role within an organization.
14) Set clear job descriptions.
Job descriptions don’t just help with recruiting workers. Detailed and clear job descriptions help increase productivity because it helps workers understand what they should focus on. It also improves morale and employee retention by creating realistic work expectations and defined parameters for employee performance evaluations.
15) Set regular goals/milestones for your worker to reach.
Setting goals or milestones motivates workers and improves their productivity because it gives them direction on where they should target most of their efforts. It also encourages them to be more participative and proactive in working through challenges in order to achieve their goals.
Motivate Your Filipino Virtual Worker with a
Drive To Defend
The drive to defend is our natural instinct to defend ourselves, our property, and our position. This doesn’t mean that you threaten to fire your worker to motivate them. It means that every once in a while you need to give your workers challenges to prove their worth.
Filipino workers understand that nothing worthwhile is completely easy. By giving them opportunities to prove their skills, they’re motivated to strive in order to prove their worth within the company. One of the ways to respond to this drive is through performance evaluations. Below are other methods you can implement that have been proven to work well with Filipino workers:
16) Provide training for your Filipino workers.
Filipino workers welcome the opportunity to do more for their company, but you have to help by providing the tools they need to do this. Providing training for your VA gives them the confidence to take on more complicated tasks and motivates them to do more. The more skills they acquire, the more valuable they feel, and the more motivated they are to showcase their skills to help you in your business.
17) Create a career advancement system/career path.
Filipino workers want to know what their future will be like if they decide to work for you in the long term. Career advancement and job titles provide workers with a source of pride and proof of their development as workers.
Creating a career path for your workers will also allow you to develop your VAs, enabling and motivating them to take on more complicated tasks and more responsibilities within the business.
18) Give your deserving Filipino workers leadership roles.
Use your own Filipino VA to motivate your other Filipino workers by giving your most experienced and most reliable workers leadership roles. Also, by giving your Filipino VAs leadership roles, you’ll be able to share or delegate management and training responsibilities to them.
The Perfect Motivation Mix For Filipino Virtual Workers
There are many methods and theories to motive workers. Ultimately, the best mix of methods depends on you, your management style, and your workers. Get to know them and understand how they flourish best. The key is to be consistent. Let your workers know what they can expect from you and make it their responsibility to meet your expectations.
Moderation is also an important factor. Too many perks can make your workers lazy while too many challenges will make your workers leave. Find what’s right for you as an employer. Ask your workers what they feel is fair and work on a compromise that is fair for all.
In the end, you have to remember that although it’s your customers that bring in the profits, your Filipino VAs are the lifeblood of your business. By keeping your workers motivated and happy, you keep your business running in peak condition, bringing in more customers, and ultimately driving you to success.
What have you found works best for your Filipino virtual employees? You can also check out how successful entrepreneurs like Kimberley and Ross motivate their Filipino VAs to help grow their business.
About Julia Jasmine M. Sta Romana
Julia has been working for OnlineJobs.ph since 2012, first as a writer and now as its social media manager and content development specialist. She also founded the Davao Virtual Assistants Association, the biggest VA association in Davao City
She’s a full-time wife and mom and volunteers her time as an internet rights advocate.