Comprehensive Guide to Disappearing Filipinos

A big problem I had when I first started hiring Filipino workers was when they suddenly disappeared.

I didn’t understand why this was happening. Most of my team are hard-working, loyal, and reliable. But occasionally, a new hire would drop out after a few days or weeks of work.

I thought I was the only one who went through this, but then I got emails from other business owners who experienced the same thing. I still get emails about this, until now.

But over the years, I started to understand why some Filipino workers do this, and I figured out ways to prevent it from happening again.

In this guide, I’ll explain why some Filipino workers disappear, what you can do to prevent it, and what you should put in your job post to avoid attracting disappearing Filipinos.

  1. Not getting paid enough

The biggest reason I’ve seen Filipino workers disappearing is when they’re not paid enough. 

Most Filipinos want to make enough money to be comfortable. They want to support themselves and their families. Because of how hard it can be to find work in the Philippines, they usually grab the first job they can get. But when presented with the opportunity to make more, they will. 

Most job posts with a really low starting rate don’t get a lot of applicants. It’s usually the ones really desperate for work who apply for these positions. So it’s no surprise that these workers also leave these jobs as soon as a better offer comes along.

So, if you want to know what a fair wage should be and don’t want to overpay, you can check out our salary guide. We base our guide on what the workers are asking, what most business owners can offer, and the cost of living in the Philippines. So you know you’re paying a living wage at a salary that considers their experience and skills.

I don’t advocate for underpaying your Filipino workers. I don’t like it when job posts put ridiculously low salaries. Filipino salaries are already much lower than the minimum wage in the US. There’s no reason to offer $1 or $2 an hour and expect someone to have at least 3 years of experience.

I do put my new hires on a probationary period, during which I pay them slightly less than their asking price. After a few months, when I see us working together for years to come, I’ll give them a raise to match or get closer to their asking rate.

Let’s say you are giving them a good hourly wage, but you can only afford to hire them part-time or on an as-needed basis. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s a good chance that your OFS wouldn’t be able to support themselves and their family on a part-time salary.

They will start looking for other part-time jobs to supplement their income. If they find a part-time or full-time job that pays more, they’ll focus their time and effort on it. When that job becomes more demanding, they’ll disappear.

So, the first thing you can do to keep them from disappearing is to make sure you’re paying them a fair wage and giving them full-time work when possible. 

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough work for them, trust me, once you see what your OFS can do, you’ll have a bunch of stuff for them to do in no time.

  1. They don’t know what they’re doing

If you assign a task to your OFS without providing any training or guidance, they will feel lost. Even if this is someone experienced, they will want to know what your expectations and your desired results are. 

Training, for your OFS, is not just about them knowing how to do the job. It’s knowing how you want it done and your desired outcome.

So when they feel lost and don’t know what to do, they’ll disappear.

They’re going to disappear because it’s the easiest way for them to save face. They know it won’t be long before you’ll notice nothing is getting done. When that happens, they know you’ll get angry. They’ll want to leave before that happens. 

Training is important. I also know that training is one of the things that may have given you pause from hiring an OFS. You feel like you don’t have the time to teach them and hold their hand through the process. 

But the thing is, it doesn’t take that much time at all. You don’t need to be there to train your OFS. 

I don’t personally train every OFS I hire. 

I usually take a screen recording of what I want them to do and send that screen recording to my OFS. This saves me so much time because videos are often easier to follow than written instructions. They see exactly what they need to do and the expected results. 

If they’re still confused about something, they’ll just email me questions, or sometimes they send me their screen recordings to show where they’re having problems.

I’ve done this so much over the years that I now have a library of training videos. I can send them whenever we need them.

If you don’t have the time to do this, you can get one from and give it to your OFS. 

Just remember, part of training is feedback. Once they know how to do the work, give them feedback so they know they’re doing it the way you want. This doesn’t take a lot of time, and it does not need to be difficult for both you and your worker.

  1. The work is boring and not challenging anymore.

Having an online job and a foreign employer is a source of pride for many Filipinos. Foreign companies don’t just hire anyone. When a Filipino is hired by a foreign company for an online job, it means they’re smart, tech-proficient, and making a lot of money.

The good thing about giving your OFS an easy first task is that it’s a quick way to get stuff off your plate. It’s easy to train them on it, and it’s easy for them to be good at it. 

But that easy task will eventually lose its appeal. They will get bored with it, and once that happens, they’ll start looking for something else to do. If their current job is so easy that they can finish everything in less than half a day, getting another job to make more money sounds tempting.

Once you’ve hired your OFS, explain that you’re starting them off with a few tasks and that they should expect more work in the future. Reassure them that you’ll give them time to get used to the work before giving them more tasks.

If your OFS is getting restless, 

  • ask them to take on more responsibilities, 
  • train them to do more tasks and 
  • ask them what they can do for your business and what they think they can do to help the business. 

You’ll be surprised by the answers and the possibilities.

If you want to learn how we do it in our business, I talk about that here:

  1. They’ve lost motivation.

This usually happens when an OFS has worked for you for a while.

Your OFS could lose motivation if they feel their work isn’t going anywhere or it doesn’t matter anymore.

Imagine this. Your OFS has worked for you for years. They’ve become indispensable because they have all this experience, they have the skills and they’re great at their job. 

Now imagine them getting together with their high school and college buddies who have regular jobs. These friends talk about their jobs and their lives. They’re now the marketing manager of this, the junior director of that, or the senior supervisor of whatever.

Your OFS, who we know have as much talent, skill, and experience as their peers, when asked what their job is, will reply that they’re virtual assistants.

Doesn’t sound right, doesn’t it?

This is why I’ve moved away from calling my OFS team “virtual assistants”. These people aren’t just doing menial, repetitive tasks. They’re specialists with years of training and experience in their niche.

I also give my team job titles. I want them to feel like they’re doing important work in our business, to be proud of it, and to show off to their friends and family that all that time working online is meaningful. 

Another possible reason for loss of motivation is when your OFS hasn’t had a raise or benefits in a long time. 

I want to clarify that benefits are optional when hiring an OFS. 

Also, if you can’t afford to give your OFS a raise when they’ve been working for you for a year or longer, it’s fine.


If your OFS can see that your business is growing and they know they’ve contributed, it can make them lose their motivation. 

So, if your OFS has been working for you for a while and you can afford it, consider giving them a raise. There’s no standard as to how much or how often. Just look at what you can afford and what’s sustainable for your business. If you need help, we write a guide exactly about this topic:

Giving your OFS regular benefits is another way to show appreciation for their work. Knowing that they’ll receive regular benefits keeps them motivated and loyal. They won’t feel the need to go to part-time gig work when they have a stable full-time job with benefits.

If you want to start giving benefits to your OFS:

  1. They’re afraid of you.

One sure sign you’re not treating your OFS right is if they’re afraid to communicate with you.

Your OFS is always going to start a bit afraid of you. Their livelihood depends on you. 

That’s why it’s important to establish trust in both ways. They’re not the only ones with the obligation to earn your trust. You have to earn their trust, too, if you want them to be loyal and motivated.

I know that we don’t go out to become bad bosses. But I notice that bad bosses expect their OFS to be robots, not people. They forget that their OFS can have off days where they’re not 100% productive because they’re sick or having personal issues. They can make mistakes because they don’t understand instructions.

When they’re afraid of you, they’ll avoid you. They’ll procrastinate dealing with you. They’ll disappear rather than face your wrath if it gets too much. 

If you can’t keep an OFS no matter how big the salary you’re offering, that means you’re not a good boss.

So, what do you do? Where do you start? It starts with trust. To win their trust, you need to communicate with them, give good feedback, and give it regularly. 

Regular feedback and communication make them more comfortable with you. If they trust you, they’re not going to be too afraid to come to you for help when they encounter work problems. They’re more likely to bring up issues that need your attention before they become big problems.

Communication and feedback are work but part of your job as their boss.

I require my OFS team to send me daily reports, and I read all of them. 

I know it’s work. 

I know it would make things easier to just have them email me when there’s a problem. 

If I set things up that way, not getting any updates from my team would mean everything is fine—there is nothing to worry about.

But, if I only hear from them when there’s a problem, it’ll be easier to forget they’re people with lives and problems. I won’t see their super productive days and the days they keep working despite multiple challenges.

When you don’t notice your OFS when things are going well, you’ll only notice when mistakes are made. You’ll end up associating their work only with the mistakes they made.

When we only see the mistakes, it’s easy to get frustrated. Feedback that sounds neutral to us can come across as harsh and angry to your OFS. 

Remember that your OFS just wants to make you happy. The morale goes down when they see that you’re angry, and they don’t know how to fix it. They’ll lose the motivation to do better. 

In the worst-case scenario, they’ll be so afraid they’re losing their jobs that they’ll disappear to save face. Save face from you, save face from getting fired.

Your OFS wants to know that you’re aware that they’re doing their best and that you notice when they’re doing their best, not just when they’re at their worst. So, showing appreciation goes a long way, even if it’s just a thumbs up or a good job email.

Giving constructive feedback and criticism when mistakes are made is important, but there is a right way to do it.  I’ve found the sandwich method to be super effective. This is where you sandwich feedback in between two positive observations about their work:

This method makes constructive feedback easier for your OFS. If they know you notice they’re doing good work, they’ll be motivated to fix their mistakes.

  1. You didn’t find the right person.

Hiring is just as much about personality as it is about skill.

That’s why I always tell employers to do the hiring themselves. You know what kind of person you can work with. You know your company culture and the type of personality that best fits.

That’s why we also have jobseekers take the DISC personality test. Workers are less likely to disappear if they have the right personality for the job.

Lastly, if you want to be sure you’re hiring the right person, I can show you my hiring steps. Over the years, I’ve developed a process that has helped me find, screen, and hire the right people. When you use the steps I outline at the One VA Away challenge (, your OFS is less likely to disappear.

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