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Author Topic: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines  (Read 8086 times)

Zandarkoad

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Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« on: February 25, 2017, 12:21:26 AM »
How do you do it?

We are ready, willing, and able to pay 2x to 4x times as much as the going local rate for an in-home helper.  Most helpers here work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but we don't even require them to live in, and we give them a full paid day off each week...

The only requirement is that they actually show up to work when scheduled.  We've been here for more than two years, and it seems like that's an impossible task for 99% of the locals.  I mean, my wife speaks their dialect, and we have really long, slow, drawn out sessions where we ask them to repeat back everything we've explained.  They'll swear up and down that they get it all, that they understand, and they it's good for them.  Then three days later, they just vanish for a day with no notice.  They come to work the fourth day like nothing happened.  LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED.  That crap is catastrophic for our sleep schedules, our daily routines, my work schedule, etc.

I could rant forever on this, but I'm really interested on finding a SOLUTION.

We need 3-4 full time helpers (we have a very large family, and I work 3rd shift).

How do you find (or train) Filippinos to understand the western, monochromatic treatment of time?  I know it's cultural, but look, I don't have any intention of letting my life waste away and getting nothing done.  No disrespect to those who live like that, but I have purposes in life that will be fulfilled.

Any tips on how to get consistent performance out of people who literally have no idea of the concept?  We need people with ambition!

Thanks!

Offline lost_in_samoa

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 08:00:40 AM »
I could rant forever on this, but I'm really interested on finding a SOLUTION.

I have hired and fired more than 20 different people.  For the exact same reason.

We pay more than the going rate,  provide 3 good meals and two merienda's a day.  Let people use our facilities.  As an incentive to reward consistent work. 

When someone is absent, I will sit them down and interview/instruct/warn them.  What I have learned from all of those talks is that most folk's do not think more than 4 or 5 hours in the future.

The most recent firing is a perfect example. 

Had a gentleman come to work for me.  Veteran of the counter-insurgency war down south.  Master Sgt in the reserves.  Taught classes to ROTC students on the weekends. 

When I interviewed and hired him I made sure that it was crystal clear that being AWOL was a reason for termination.  I said this to him in English, Tagalog, and Pangasinan.  He understood it very well.  I paid him 25% more than the going rate.  I gave him easy no-brainer tasks for a start, and spoke with him often about local and national happenings.  You would think that this guy had his head screwed on straight.

Well  things were good for about a month.  Then one day he is missing.  Next day he shows up like nothing is wrong.  He was even surprised when I pulled him off to the side for counselling.  His excuse was a migraine headache.  Ok,  I can accept that.  But did you ever notice how bad Red Horse breath is the morning after.  But to give the benefit of the doubt I let it slide with just a talking to.

Very next week.  AWOL again.  This time he missed work so that he could chop wood for his neighbour and earn "extra income".  I sent word to him that his services were no longer required.  I hope he learned that dropping 1000php while reaching to grab 20 was probably not a good choice.

I am beginning to believe that it is a deeply rooted cultural belief that has evolved as a result of living in the tropics.  I saw similar beliefs/behaviours in Samoa.  I think that originating in a climate that largely static and produces food so easily has caused people to evolve a sense of "timelessness".  Why worry?  Tomorrow will be the same as today.

As opposed to us that have evolved from seasonal environments.  Where there is a set amount of time to produce enough food to survive winter.  Failure to do so equals hardship/starvation/death.  So those seasonal cultures were well motivated to work consistently.

But its just a theory and I may be full of sh_t.

Hope this helps.


« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 08:07:48 AM by lost_in_samoa »

Zandarkoad

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 08:38:18 AM »
It doesn't really help with a solution directly, but it does motivate me to work on a solution collaboratively because I know a good method or idea would be put to use by others.

One thing we recently started doing is holding pay for two weeks.  So if they quit with no notice (or go AWOL to the point of termination) they loose thousands of pesos.  But we haven't hired anyone under those new terms (and we are transitioning our existing worker to it slowly over a few months).

I'm also toying with the idea of putting together a multi-part educational video series complete with written exams.  Then we'll put all of our new hires through the entire program at least twice over a 1-3 month period, with ongoing, continuing education forever.

I just thought of one good key point for the training:  Illness is never an excuse.  Never.  I swear, if you give any kind of illness allowance at all, you'll be giving them an inch and they'll take a mile.  Even a death in the family like a spouse deserves a text or phone call ASAP.  Hell, your employer is going to be one of the best people to support you at that time with anything and everything you need!  They should darn well be one of the first people you call (assuming you are a decent human being at work).

Okay, I'm going to start drafting the outline...  Peace.

Offline Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 09:11:55 AM »
We've lived in the Phipippines since 1998 and we  haven't a clue finding domestic workers/helpers with a consistent work ethic to follow a scheduled work scheme. It's a hit or miss kind of a deal that goes in cycle from one year to the next.  Good luck finding good workers with consistent work ethics.
"Life is what we all make it to be"!
"It's always a matter of money"!
"Do on to others as they would do on to You, but do it first"!
"Different strokes for different folks"!
"Que Sera Sera"!

Offline iamjames

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2017, 09:19:33 AM »

I'm also toying with the idea of putting together a multi-part educational video series complete with written exams.  Then we'll put all of our new hires through the entire program at least twice over a 1-3 month period, with ongoing, continuing education forever.


An excellent idea and I am sure there would be a market for such training seminars! I just wonder is it possible for a leopard to change it's spots?

Zandarkoad

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2017, 10:45:13 AM »
I'm a believer in the impossible!

Talking with my wife today, what all Filipino based businesses do is they double or triple hire.  They literally hire 2x or 3x as many workers as they actually need, because they know that XX% of them won't show up on any given day.

I think we'll do this as well, and train them, and keep cycling through those who don't learn until we can find the jewels among the rough.

No wonder the country is impoverished...  :(

Offline JD

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 12:50:16 PM »
How do you do it?

We are ready, willing, and able to pay 2x to 4x times as much as the going local rate for an in-home helper.  Most helpers here work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but we don't even require them to live in, and we give them a full paid day off each week...

I wish I knew. We just lost our helper to The Mystery about a month or so ago.

In a former life, I was an assistant building engineer for a commercial real estate company. I worked my way up from janitorial services to being responsible for two of Seattle's Central Waterfront piers and nearly a city block of restaurant/office space in downtown. I had done the dirty work for years in my working life and was a bit adverse to having a "maid".

My wife wanted a helper for the new house we built, "...at least for a while." When we arrived in the Philippines, my mother-in-law was waiting with a girl she had basically "rescued" from someone who was taking advantage of her need for a place to stay/work so that she could go to college (it was actually a teacher). She was forced to work all day, etc., etc. I'm sure you've heard that song before.

So, OK. We had a  live-in helper in the rental house. She did anything she was asked and took care of everything fairly well for an 18-year old (I thought). When we moved into the house we'd built, she came with us. She was basically now an extension of the family.

She's part of an indigenous group here on Mindanao and my wife, through a batchmate in whatever government office handles these things, got her into college with financial assistance. So not only was her schooling paid for, she was being paid a fine salary each month, getting three squares and a bed, full access to the TV and the internet, and went on trips with us. She didn't drink, smoke, steal from us, fool around with boys or even go out when she could. She was like a kid sister.

She went "home" a couple of times, always reluctantly and often refusing to go when her mother messaged and asked. She didn't want to leave and her mother wanted her to come home. Just a couple of months ago, she took a last-minute trip home and seemed to vanish.

She didn't call or text or answer our calls and texts and even cut communication with her boyfriend (my wife's nephew). We didn't hear from her for days.

While my wife and I were in Singapore for a few days, she came back to our house, grabbed her stuff and left again. It was something about her mother selling their property and something, something, something else. I call it "The Mystery".

Three years. I had basically considered her as being like a niece. I often ran interference when she'd screwed up something and softened the complaints my wife had about her work and always made sure she had a cell phone, any favorite foods, and a lot of laughter. Three years.

So now we have one of my wife's sisters here helping out. She's very nice and works hard but she's so incredibly shy around me that I feel like a ghost. This is supposedly temporary and we're supposedly looking for a helper but it doesn't appear that it will happen.

I guess, even loving Filipinos like your own children is no guarantee that they will treat you any better than anyone else.

Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 11:38:11 PM »
Over the years we've hired several kasambahay to help with laundry, cleaning and cooking. We started with a young relative from the province, a niece, who said she wanted to be with her Lola. She lasted less than a month. She found that Lola actually expected her to work. We went through a few laundry helpers, many working only a day or two before leaving. Then, finally, one of my sister in law's friends from the barangay said she would be glad to help, especially since her husband had suffered a a recent heart attack and they needed the money. She lasted almost a year. But one day during the daily routine of cleaning, laundry and cooking my sister in law made a helpful suggestion which was rebuffed, rudely. Sis then pulled her friend aside and had a quiet talk with her. No shouting, no ultimatums, just a talk. The next day she was gone. Several months go by and another friend is hired. Lisa is energetic, knows how, what and when to clean, is a great cook and very friendly. She's pregnant at the time and getting closer to her due date, so we hired her younger sister Emma to do the laundry and some cooking so the older sister wouldn't strain herself during her pregnancy. Each was paid roughly 3000-3500 pisos per month, more than enough considering they split the workload. Work hours were from 6am to roughly 7pm. During our visit last October-November I met both and found them to be charming and very friendly. When we got ready to leave to go back to the US both were in tears. When I asked why they were so sad they said "We will miss you, kuya, because you are always so happy!" I found out that both had asked for an "advance" due to Lisa's pending birth and Christmas coming up soon. Gloria reluctantly agreed. When we left I gave Lisa 250 pisos additional for the baby. A week or two after returning to the US, they were both gone. Failed to show up for work and when questioned said they could not work without pay.
Note: Never give out advance pay
Fast forward a month and sister-in-law is struggling to keep up the house, the cooking, laundry for 5 people and help with running the sari-sari. Gloria mentions a young lady who lived just around the corner who spoke to us every day when we walked up the path to the tricycle stand or to catch a taxi. She was extremely poor and had 3-4 young children who always ran up to greet me with a smile. Gloria suggested to her sister Ester that she give the girl a chance to help out a few hours a day. So far she's done well. The family agreed to pay her 3000 pisos per month. I suggested that she be paid weekly instead of monthly. I figured this would be much easier on the family, versus coughing up a larger chunk of money at the end of the month. It also gives the helper money more frequently, hopefully so that she doesn't have a need to ask for an advance.

I don't know if there is a secret way to get someone long-term. We'll keep plodding along and see how long this newest helper works out. 
Louisville, KY USA - Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, PH

Offline copusmaximus

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2017, 07:13:31 AM »
i had same issues with employees at store i give them evrything and when im there i treat to food yet they still stole money and food had no shows and then we found nice lady . she was good at most things and we promised her long term employ no contract work but after 6 months she decided she was going to suadi to work and wages were a bit higher not much by time she pay her own food and stuff there she would earn way less . but her family pushing her and here you do as family says . so we lose a good worker who seemed happy having to move to diff country just because family says so. also seems to me these people mostly cant do a job for more than 6 months before get bored or get a bit of savings then just quit untill run outa money again no long term thinking here.

Offline FMSINC

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 07:48:02 AM »
After Reading this article

I had the office girl look up how long our current employees had beed working for us at our Rice Mill

Rice Mill Operators
16 Years 5 People
  7 years 3 People
  3 years 1 Person

Day Laborers that load and unload trucks / Paid Daily On number of 50 Kilo bags loaded and loaded average pay per day 750- 1000 Piso also get SS and Phil Health after 6 months Employment

 7 Years  12
 4 Years    4
 2 years    6
 1 year    10

House Help
9 Years 1

Driver
10 Years 1
  5 Years 1

Office Staff
8 years 1
5 years 2
3 years 1

We pay most by the hour pay is determined by their experience top wage is 75 Piso per hour includes SS, Phil Health, 13 Month and Retirement Contribution

They are paid weekly every Monday, we do advance pay for emergencies but it is taken out from 13 month pay, they also receive 50 Kilos of rice per month

If they need time off they are required to notify at least 2 days in advance

The govt is now giving family assistance payments it is very hard now to find a field worker willing to chop sugar for 150- 250 dollars a day 

I try to pay my employees a fair wage so far it seems to be working


Offline Hestecrefter

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2017, 09:50:13 AM »
The govt is now giving family assistance payments it is very hard now to find a field worker willing to chop sugar for 150- 250 dollars a day 

I might be willing to have a go at it for $250/day.  P12,500  per day ain't bad.

Offline FMSINC

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2017, 11:55:49 AM »
Oh Man that was a typo 250 Piso a day not dollars messed that up for sure

Tom

Offline midaut

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2017, 02:45:35 PM »

We pay most by the hour pay is determined by their experience top wage is 75 Piso per hour includes SS, Phil Health, 13 Month and Retirement Contribution



Hi Tom, thank you for the useful post. I have a question regarding 'Retirement Contribution' which you mentioned, is it SSS or different kind?

Zandarkoad

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2017, 09:13:18 PM »
After Reading this article

I had the office girl look up how long our current employees had beed working for us at our Rice Mill

Rice Mill Operators
16 Years 5 People
  7 years 3 People
  3 years 1 Person

Day Laborers that load and unload trucks / Paid Daily On number of 50 Kilo bags loaded and loaded average pay per day 750- 1000 Piso also get SS and Phil Health after 6 months Employment

 7 Years  12
 4 Years    4
 2 years    6
 1 year    10

House Help
9 Years 1

Driver
10 Years 1
  5 Years 1

Office Staff
8 years 1
5 years 2
3 years 1

We pay most by the hour pay is determined by their experience top wage is 75 Piso per hour includes SS, Phil Health, 13 Month and Retirement Contribution

They are paid weekly every Monday, we do advance pay for emergencies but it is taken out from 13 month pay, they also receive 50 Kilos of rice per month

If they need time off they are required to notify at least 2 days in advance

The govt is now giving family assistance payments it is very hard now to find a field worker willing to chop sugar for 150- 250 dollars a day 

I try to pay my employees a fair wage so far it seems to be working

Lies, all lies!  lol, just kidding.  Where are you located in the PH?

Do you guys have a corporate presence or brand that is well known in the community?  I'm thinking that may be something that is important to Filipinos - that all of their friends and family think highly of them because of their position at a well known, respectable corporation.  Pride.

I'd love to have the track record you mention.  I'd happily pay 75 pesos a day plus benefits to get that kind of loyalty.  But it's not working for us (we've tried).  So I'm still left looking for something else that I'm missing...

Offline Gray Wolf

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Re: Hiring Consistent People in the Philippines
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2017, 12:00:46 AM »

Do you guys have a ... brand that is well known in the community?


My brother in law owns the most successful Sari-Sari in the barangay. He's now been in business for over 15 years. When he started up, his was the only operation and he quickly made a name for himself. But it wasn't too long before Sari-Saris were popping up on every other corner. For a few years it was a struggle to maintain a decent customer base and manage to score a profit. But his skills and business acumen are higher than the others and most of them have now gone under. Only a few still remain open but offer specialty items, such as street foods, mini-bakery, etc instead of general merchandise. It helps that he works from home and doesn't have to maintain a separate business location. As such he's open from 5am until 11pm most nights. Some weekends he will stay open until 12 midnight. Certain holidays he's open 24 hours. His work ethics are top notch, plus he has no vices (doesn't smoke, drink excessively, gamble or cheat on his wife). In short, he's a good man, and my best friend.
Louisville, KY USA - Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, PH