Building a flexible and inclusive culture in Vibrant City

Vicky, what do you think makes PartnerHero different from other Manila BPOs?

Even though the BPO industry has been active in Manila for over 30 years, PartnerHero is a very different employer than what you will find here. The focus on employees and partners is just not common and that difference is something that shows up across everything that we do. The traditional top-down BPO culture is pretty entrenched in Manila and PartnerHero’s approach turns that on its head. 

Just last week I had a new employee go to her boss, terrified because she was two minutes late from break. She was certain she would be “written up” for it. She’s done great work since she joined PartnerHero and the partner that she works with has been thrilled with her performance. Of course we weren’t going to write her up! That story says a lot. The traditional BPO industry in Manila trains people to be afraid and assume you don’t trust them - that’s what makes PartnerHero so different. We are human and, unfortunately, that isn’t common. 

Why should someone choose to work at PartnerHero?

There are obvious reasons like competitive compensation and benefits. But there’s so much more. Beyond the basics, people should come to PartnerHero because we treat employees with respect, kindness and interest in their development, interests and future. Another thing that makes PartnerHero stand out is the fact that we cover HMO benefits for same-sex partners. This benefit is practically unheard of here in Manila. Even though it significantly increased our health insurance costs we didn’t bat an eye. It is the right thing to do and it speaks volumes about our commitment to building an inclusive culture because actions speak louder than words. Partnerhero is committed to supporting our associates, whatever background or community they come from. 

Tell us about the office

Since COVID hit we’ve been working from home for the most part. As the city begins to reopen we have decided to take a different approach to keep our employees safe and sane. Manila is famous for having truly horrendous commute times and before COVID, our employees were no exception. It was common to hear of commutes as long as up to three hours each way (read more here). One silver lining of the pandemic has been seeing the impact of eliminating commute times on employee happiness: more time with their family, more time to do things like exercise and self-care. 

As we think about reopening we are taking a different approach. We’ve partnered with KMC, a company that leases space in top notch buildings to create extremely secure, beautiful coworking spaces (with phenomenal coffee to boot!). They have offices all over the Manila Metropolitan Area, and farther afield as well so our employees can work out of offices that are close to them. KMC has done a great job not only with office security but also with COVID protocols including taking everyone’s temperature upon entrance and, in the event that a COVID case is reported, in-depth contact tracing. As much as we can’t wait for the pandemic to end, multi-hour commute times is not something we hope to bring back. We’ll see how things progress, we may need to expand our own office footprint again but also want to balance that with giving employees sanity around their commute.  

What are some fun traditions in PartnerHero Manila?

Every other week we have something called “Mindful in Manila” which is a 45-minute guided meditation session. We all really look forward to it. We also have an annual award that is given to associates who best embody the PartnerHero values. We also like to take things outside the office and get involved in the community. When COVID struck there were nurses who were working week-long shifts. We provided a lot of meals to frontline workers. 

People just want to be here, want to hang out with each other. We’ve had associates come in on their day off to welcome new employees to the team. No one asks them to do it but they just want to, because it's fun! There is an excitement, a vibrancy on our team, you really feel it. People want to work here, people want to excel, people want to bring all of what they have and contribute it as a person, as a professional, as a human. 

Are there any stories that stand out to you from your time at PartnerHero?

We had a terrible typhoon in the fall of 2020, Typhoon Ulysses. Some of our employees had major flooding and we really showed up for them. When we told folks the extent of our support they couldn’t believe it. They literally had tears in their eyes. One person was without power for a week. When we sent them a second backup power station we also sent them a care package with food. Again, this person was completely floored but that’s the type of company PartnerHero is. Through action, PartnerHero has shown their belief that thriving employees are the foundation for a thriving company. Just to be clear, this is not about me at all, this is about the company and the culture. These are not things that PartnerHero does for marketing purposes, it is truly the type of company that we are.