When you look at successful businesses, the one thing they all have in common are great teams. Great teams where employees are motivated to work and help the company succeed.
Motivated employees are the lifeblood of the company. And behind every motivated employee is a boss who knows 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. It’s difficult to give your Filipino worker a literal pat on the back when they live thousands of miles away.
How do you do it? How do you motivate your Filipino online workers? It all begins with understanding how they think. We have been working with Filipinos VAs 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 the Psychology Dictionary, 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 have the drive to achieve their personal and professional goals?
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 :
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 fulfill 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 their loved ones as well. Strong family ties between Filipinos obligate them to provide for their immediate family AND their less fortunate extended family.
This motivates them to take advantage of every opportunity that would allow them to earn more. Even when they are earning more than enough for themselves, familial obligations force them to look for side jobs to make a little extra. It gives them a sense of security that they can provide for everyone.
This is why Filipinos love traditional full-time jobs. These jobs give the impression of stability and security. When they know that the business they’re working for is going to last, they don’t have to worry about the next paycheck.
One way traditional jobs offer this sense of security is through benefits. Your employees will feel like they’re being taken care of when they have something to rely on or look forward to.
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, most Filipinos cite these worker benefits as their main motivation for staying employed. That’s because the benefits provided by these social systems often extend to their immediate family members. It’s also way for them to get quick, low interest loans for emergencies like medical emergencies or when they’re affected by natural calamities.
Offering to pay the employers share of their workers benefits (once they’re past their probation status, of course) will go a long way in showing your Filipino VA that you are serious about establishing a long term working relationship. And the great thing about these benefits is that they don’t really cost that much.
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 and is a common employee benefit in a lot of countries all over the world. This 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 your 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. Rule of thumb is if you’re making them work on a regular/legal holiday, you need to pay them twice their hourly rate. If it’s on a special holiday or on their rest days, you pay 130%.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule though. It depends on your contract or work arrangement with your VA. We talked about that in our blog post about holidays and paid time off.
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 an 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 of 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 to friends, family, and the people they work with. Even if your VAs work from home, you can still make their virtual work environment 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. You can do this by making a daily report part of their task , replying to their messages, and giving regular feedback.
10) Give them a sense of belonging.
A lot of business owners don’t want their clients to know that they outsource. It’s understandable. But if 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. And added benefit: they’re also less likely to look for other jobs when everybody knows they work for you.
11) Praise your VAs when they do a great job.
Motivate your Filipino virtual assistants by recognizing extraordinary efforts. Everybody appreciates a complement. Recognition for a job well done helps create a positive work environment that motivates workers to do more and do better. It can be something as simple as an email or an “e-plaque” that your worker can share on social media.
12) Encourage friendships between your workers.
It’s unavoidable. If your VAs chat with each other regularly, they’ll form friendships. And this is a good thing. 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 each other 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. 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 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 because it gives them direction. They’re more productive because they know where to focus their efforts. It also encourages them to be more participative and proactive in working through challenges in order to achieve their goals.
A lot of these concepts are actually discussed in our new book, the Outsourcing Lever. There, you’ll see how we apply these concepts in real life outsourcing situations.
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 threatening 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 easy. By giving them opportunities to prove their skills, they’re motivated to strive to prove their worth. One of the ways to respond to this drive is through performance evaluations. Below are 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. Within Onlinejobs.ph, we have an Amazon Seller Course and real estate VA training that you can give to your Filipino VAs. 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 long term. Career advancement and job titles provide workers with a source of pride and proof of their professional development.
Creating a career path will also allow you to develop your VAs, enabling and motivating them to take on more complicated tasks and more responsibilities. The more things they can do, the more you can delegate.
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 ways to motivate 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.
Motivating your Filipino workers starts with hiring the right people. You can get started right now by taking our 7 day challenge. With this system, you’ll find out how to find the right VA each and every time.
And if you want to see these motivation methods in action, check out our case studies. Amy Walker has a great one on management and Bodie shares how he used virtual assistants to fill in the gaps in his business that automation just can’t fix.
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.
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