‘Statistical deep dive’: Data reveal top motivations of Pinoy workers

SEVENTY-NINE  percent of Filipinos are fueled by a clear purpose or understanding of “why” they are doing a task, according to Fingerprint for Success (F4S), the Australian tech company which conducted a study on the unique motivations of the Filipino work force.

According to the F4S, the Philippines Culture Map provides a “statistical deep-dive” into the Filipino working culture, unveiling the key cultural and motivational differences or affinities that can enable enterprise and government to strategically position the Philippines for global partnerships, innovation, funding and upskilling of entrepreneurial talent.

Data was collected from 1249 persons working in the Philippines’s who completed the Fingerprint For Success workstyle assessment or Inventory of Work Attitude and Motivation (iWAM) between December 2022 and May 2022. Majority of respondents are aged between 25 and 34 years old.

The study has shown that 79 percent of the Filipino respondents chose Concept as their top motivation, meaning they prioritize developing a fuller understanding by starting with a thesis or hypothesis to build a strategy before taking action.

“Filipinos are energized by a clear purpose or understanding of ‘why’ they are doing a task,” the study noted.

Based on a comparative analysis done in the study, the Philippines’ level of preference for developing a conceptual understanding of a project is shared with India (79 percent) and Malaysia (80 percent), both of which are trade partners with the Philippines.

With this, the study laid out tips on how to approach a new project. One is to provide a clear thesis or rationale for one’s project or task; another is to share why this project is important; lastly, to use metaphors or visual flow charts to illustrate the concept for the task or project.

Ranked second in the top 5 motivations of the Philippines working culture, the study shows that Filipinos gain confidence from visual inputs in decision-making.

“Most Filipinos like meeting in person, video calls, presentations, graphs and other visual aids to help them feel confident in decision-making,” the study noted, revealing that 77 percent of the respondents agreed that this motivates them.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of the Filipino respondents have a strong “bias” for focusing in the here and now.  The Philippines shares a bias for the Present with Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and the United States (US).

The study pointed out, “It means Filipinos take a realistic approach, want information that is relevant to right now and not as much of a focus on the future. Filipinos may prefer to work in smaller time frames such as three months rather than over five years.”

In terms of adjusting to change, the Filipino workers are inclined to gradually and incrementally make improvements over time. The study bared many Filipinos will likely stay motivated in a role for 5 to 7 years before requiring or seeking change.

“Filipinos need small improvements, not constant changes to be motivated and successful. When working on a project, it will be important to communicate the stages before making changes and putting time aside to allow for improvements to be made,” the study noted.

On how Filipinos approach rules in the workplace, 71 percent of the respondents said they are compliant, noting that they have a strong preference for understanding and respecting the values or customs of an organization.

The study associated the Filipino workers’ compliance in the workplace to the typical family values and a culture of respect instilled from early childhood, adding cultural acts such as “pagmamano,” which is a sign of respect that Filipinos show to older people.

“Filipinos first and foremost prioritize respect for values and customs. Filipinos have a strong sense of what is believed to be wrong or right and prefer to follow the rules unless there is a clear reason not to,” the study stressed.

As to the preferred communication style, 44 percent voted for Neutral Communication, meaning, Filipinos prioritize the content and words within communication. “Filipinos base how a conversation is progressing on the exact words that are said.”

The study pointed out that this style of communication is especially useful in written form and managing conflict as it helps with “maintaining objectivity”.

Further, it noted, “Filipinos are more literal in communication and place higher importance on the meaning of the words.”

Meanwhile, in terms of pace, the study revealed that Filipinos have almost equal preference for Reflection and Patience (48 percent) by taking their ideas and turning them into action, and Initiation (50 percent), preferring to in some situations pause and reflect before jumping into action.

“For Filipinos, it could feel stressful or draining to operate in fast-paced environments. Filipinos are energized to act on their ideas, however in comparison to other countries they have a higher bias for pausing to generate a thoughtful and considered response,” the study noted.

Meanwhile, 59 percent voted for Breadth, having a preference for looking at the big picture. With this, the study noted, “A higher preference for Breadth is correlated with early-stage start-up success, with successful founders being on average 30+ percent more motivated to look at the big picture than the average population,” the study stated.

Filipinos, the study said, have a preference for working within a Group Environment, having a 45 percent motivation score. “This data tells us that for the most part, the Philippines’ preferred workplace environment is one in which people can easily interact with one another.”

At a recent event launching the F4S findings, Philippine trade representative to Australia, Alma Argayoso, stressed that, “A premise in doing business or promoting business relations between two countries is a basic understanding of each other’s cultures. When we understand each other, we can do business better. This study went beyond basic understanding but dived deeper into the Filipino working culture”.

Argayoso added, “For existing and potential entrepreneurs and investors, this culture map might provide you with a powerful tool to leverage, strategize and better understand new opportunities for the Filipino workforce.” -30-