Invite Me Into Your Boardroom
My office is on a tropical island, and we don’t have a boardroom. We have a meeting room with a big table and a whiteboard. We call it the conference room, but the heart of my office is the pantry, as its known locally. It’s where my staff have their lunch, where the kiosk PC is for personal use, where the water-cooler conversations happen, and sometimes where we conduct walk-in interviews if the conference room is occupied.
The pantry is such an important component of the employee experience in the Philippines, I proudly tell my new hires that I built the pantry before I even had staff. But no boardroom.
A Whole New World
I’ve been in boardrooms; those sumptuous chairs, the expansive table polished to a high gloss, big TV screen concealed behind timber panelling. I’ve been served by those immaculately dressed staff delivering cappuccinos and tiny biscuits, or platters of fruit and cheese, or sandwiches and pastries with jugs of orange juice. I’ve met with the vendors who come to present in those boardrooms, extolling the benefits of their product or service, the slick Powerpoint presentations and the special pricing just for you.
Invite me into your boardroom and I won’t feel at home, because this is no longer my world, but I won’t be intimidated either. I am now one of those vendors keen to share the benefits of what my company can offer you, and I will tell you about my services and I will tell you about how our pricing model is completely transparent so it’s not special just for you – it’s fair and reasonable.
My company is an outsourcing/offshoring company and I will tell you how easy it is to outsource with Yempo. I have built a model that makes it as easy as possible for you to leverage the benefits of outsourcing regardless of the size of your business. Our model is simple and transparent with no long-term commitments. We have reduced the challenges and risks of outsourcing as much as we can.
My business partner and I have worked at both ends of the outsourcing model – I built the capability, he consumed it – so we have lived and breathed all the associated challenges. I have spent the bulk of the last six years in the Philippines with one year in India. I will tell you about the “gotchas” in transitioning work to staff from different cultures, the things you will find difficult, and the tools and techniques to address them.
I will tell you that you won’t get exactly the same skills, capabilities and behaviours that you will get in your home country, because your employees offshore have a different upbringing, lifestyle and different responses to stress and conflict. Your experience will be different, and this is something you need to accept and embrace. You will encounter resistance within your organisation or within your community and you need to plan for this.
If you ask me how much you can save by utilising offshore staff, I will tell you that it can be as high as 85% but I won’t make promises. My company is committed to ensuring your offshoring experience is positive, so we hire the very best staff and provide the very best benefits to them which won’t provide the million dollar savings, but you will reduce your costs considerably.
Rich and Diverse Culture
When you invite me into your boardroom, I will also tell you that you will experience the richness of dealing with a different culture. Filipinos are warm and hospitable, committed and loyal, humorous and humble. You will learn as much about your own culture as you will about theirs and it will be enriching. If you have an opportunity to visit your employees offshore, you will witness the sophistication of their restaurants and shopping, the heartbreak of the poverty on the streets, and the frustration of the traffic they deal with every day. You might have an opportunity to visit one of the 7107 islands that make up the Philippines, some, like the one on which I have no boardroom, are amongst the most beautiful in the world.
Partner With Us
I will tell you that your other experiences outsourcing or offshoring will be different to how you will work with Yempo. You will consider me to be your Head of Asia or Head of Philippines. We will work together as true partners, collaborating, solving problems, aligned on our shared goals and committed to our mutual objectives.
When you invite me into your boardroom, I won’t inflate how I can help you but I will use just one cliché – I will tell you that a year from now, you will wish you started today.
About the Author: Michelle Fiegehen is the CEO of Yempo, a boutique offshoring company in three locations in the Philippines. Now a permanent resident of the Philippines, she has lived and worked in the Philippines and India since 2009, building offshore capability for clients in Australia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, Dubai, South Africa and Hong Kong.