JWay TechTalks Ep 2: Staying Up With HR Innovation and Hiring Tech Professionals in the Philippines with Mara Quivedo

Welcome to JWAY Tech Talks, where we talk about everything from tech news and trends to anything people in tech companies should be learning about. Featuring guests from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds to share stories of great successes, including the hard lessons they learned along the way.

Euluvye: Hi everyone, I am your host Euluvye Pollack. Today is our second episode, and we have our special guest, JWay Senior technical recruiter Mara Quivedo to talk about how to stay up with HR innovations and hiring technical professionals in the Philippines.

Euluvye: Hi Mara

Mara: Hello

Euluvye: Thank you so much for being here today.

Mara: Sure

Euluvye: so, can you share with us your experience?

Mara: yeah, so currently I am the lead for the recruitment of JWay and in terms of my experience I have more than roughly 10 years now in the tech industry doing tactical work equipment. So, I work with a lot of start-ups and technical organizations in the past, and yeah so mostly I deal with technical talents across the globe.

Euluvye: hmm, ok so what are the most important factors to consider when recruiting remote workers in the Philippines for you?

Mara:  uhm actually there are a lot of factors to consider, and it depends on your target market and the needs uhm for your organization. But uhm I can share 5 or let’s say 5 things to consider or you can consider. So first will be technical skills. So one of the most important factors to consider is that you have to make sure you will able to access your candidate’s proficiency in the required technology that you need for him and you may also need to do research if the technical skills you are looking for is you know have a lot of possible leads or profiles to go through because there are some technical skills that are you know quite rare still in the country you know. So next to that will be of course communication skills. So though English is wildly spoken in the Philippines you should still evaluate the candidate’s English proficiency and their ability to communicate or let’s email, chat, or video conference like Zoom especially if it’s remote, and third will be a cultural fit right? So even though we are very diverse but it’s a unique culture there are different ways how a candidate can you know communicate to you directly there are some workers who are already in diverse teams of let’s say environments but there are still a few who may need extra adjustment in terms of the environments especially if you have a global team. And of course, availability. so, a timezone difference. So you may want to consider that lastly experience with the remote environment so it’s not necessary but it can be beneficial to someone who has previous experience already for working remotely.

Euluvye: Since you evaluated already the candidates for remote work positions. How will you ensure effective communications and collaborations with remote workers?

Mara: So for that of course you can use, communication tools like for example, you can use Slack, Google Chat or Microsoft Teams, and so on. So you can ensure you can communicate easily and effectively with your remote workers no matter where they are located in the Philippines. You can also, in terms of collaborations for projects you may also op to use project management tools like Asana, Trello, and so on. And you also have to set expectations with your remote team members in terms of their responsibilities, deliverables, and communication and lastly, you have to encourage feedback. So encourage your remote team members to provide feedback on their own project communication and collaboration process.

Euluvye: I am very curious, are there any cultural considerations or language barriers to be aware of when working with remote workers in the Philippines, especially in our company JWay?

Mara: yeah there are a few, I think the number 1 would be cultural consideration so of course the Philippines has a unique culture-like influence or let’s say blend of Asian, European, and American cultures. But however, we may be less direct in communication and tend to value personal relationships and interactions. So it is important to be aware of these cultural differences there might be different types of candidates that have experience already working with other nationalities but there are still a few who still need an extra adjustment second would be the English communication skills so even though it is widely spoken and understood in the Philippines but there may still be some language barriers to overcome like it is important to speak clearly and avoid using idioms or slang I think that is very common in terms of other nationalities they use idioms or you know slang language that might be unfamiliar with other remote workers and of course lastly religious holidays so, of course, the Philippines is a predominantly catholic country so there are many religious holidays of the year that may impact the schedules so you need to be aware of that as well.

Euluvye: so how will you ensure that remote workers in the Philippines are meeting your expectations and goals?

Mara: so for expectations and goals you have to ensure your remote workers in the country are meeting your expectations and goals it requires clear communication collaboration and monitoring and evaluation so as I mention earlier you have to set expectations you have to clearly define the expectations and goals for each worker and ensure that they understand what is expected of them and you can also use measurable goals like track their progress and evaluate their performance these will include the use of metrics like the number of tasks completed, quality of work or the number of tickets done and so on and of course, you have to recognize such events very important for remote setting right so you have to recognize their achievements and contributions to the projects.

Euluvye: how will you handle payroll, taxes, and administrative tasks related to hiring remote workers in the Philippines? This is a nice question

Mara: actually, yeah this is quite the first problem to solve before you go to auditing here in the Philippines.

Euluvye: yeah

Mara: it can be really complicated at times, but technically or basically you have two options right?

So either number 1 you have to register your business locally here in the Philippines, or second, you may partner with a company like of course JWay to help you get everything set up from scratch. So you have two options for that, either you set it up on your own or get a company like JWay to get you set up. So there are a lot of things to consider in handling payroll taxes and other tasks like of course dealing with local government agencies like SSS, PhilHealth, BIR, and so on, you also need to determine the compensation and benefits like you need to provide health insurance, retirement benefit, and other benefits required by local laws. You also have to deduct taxes and contributions calculated or offer overtime pay and other benefits.  So it can be really complicated, it’s easy to say but in terms of the processes, it’s quite complicated so depending on your setup or goals right you can choose from the 2 options I mentioned.

Euluvye: I am pretty sure that every employee is curious about payroll tax and other administrative tasks related to hiring remote workers. What tools and technologies will you use to manage and track the work of remote workers?

Mara: so let’s see for project management tools you can use Asana, Trello, or Jira to track project progress, assign tasks or set deadlines. This will also allow your workers to stay on top of their tasks and provide real-time updates and progresses as well. Then in terms of communication tools, you can use Zoom, Skype, or Slack when able real time communicate with your remote workers as well. You can also use time track software if you need that like Toggle, Bracket Time, or Time Doctor to monitor the amount of time your remote workers spend on specific tasks of course file sharing and collaboration tools you can use google drive, dropbox, or One drive to share files, collaborate the documents, And manage workloads as well and you may also need VPN if you have like sensitive data to process you may also use the VPN to ensure secure communication and data transfer between your team and remote workers in the Philippines.

Euluvye: how will you create a positive company culture and foster employee engagement for remote workers?

Mara: well I can speak on behalf of JWay, so here in JWay the way we do it is of course we promote work-life balance. So we encourage remote workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance for example flexible employees to take breaks and timeouts when necessary or whenever they need and we also promote communication and collaboration inside so we create opportunities for our employees to communicate and collaborate with each other. Like we do virtual meetings, brainstorming sessions, and social activities to foster a sense of you know community inside the workplace and we also foster a positive work environment, we encourage our remote workers to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback openly and of course to create a safe space for discussion.

Euluvye: do you have any message or advice for Filipinos looking for a remote job and how can they apply for it?

Mara: so for tips of course number 1 work on your communication skills this is number 1 in the remote setting, so either the way you communicate it how you say it, and how you talk is really important and in terms of course the opportunities there are a lot of opportunities out there that is offering a remote job of course one of them is our company JWay we have a lot of technical talents that we are offering in a work from home bases. So there, there are a lot of opportunities out there, especially on the internet we can see different opportunities to go through but of course number 1 communication skills and how you deliver yourself to your potential client. So yeah

Euluvye: thank you for the opportunity to be our guest and thank you very much for the knowledge regarding this topic. We hope to have you again as our guest next time.

Mara: Sure, sure thank you so much

Euluvye: Thank you, Mara