Eileen Borromeo of Payoneer – Effective people management amid COVID-19
Derek Gallimore interviews Eileen Borromeo, head of marketing for Payoneer South East Asia, a brand strategist, and creative entrepreneur. Amid the ongoing pandemic, Payoneer continues to help businesses get back up on their feet by giving advice and insights on continuing their business.
One of the dilemmas that businesses face currently is managing their people. Most of them have forced to either lay off their employees or put them on remote work. Having experience in managing people, Eileen shares a few pieces of advice and insights on how businesses can manage and motivate their workforce, remote or outsourced.
In this episode, Derek interviews Eileen Borromeo. She is the head of marketing for Payoneer South East Asia, a brand strategist, and a creative entrepreneur.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the digitisation of companies. It has helped to put their employees on remote work, cut unnecessary costs, and rethink strategies in running their companies more efficiently. Business process outsourcing companies in the Philippines and India have not been safe from this restructuring.
One of the dilemmas that businesses face deals with their workforce. Most have difficulties managing and motivating their people since they have been deployed to their homes. Having experience managing people for a decade and a half, Eileen shares tips and advice on the importance of managing and upskilling the workforce during a downturn.
How Payoneer and other businesses are doing amidst the pandemic
Payoneer operates as usual, with most of its employees working from home. Eileen mentioned the company’s need to operate despite the pandemic.
As the lockdown continues, businesses are forced to operate under work from home arrangements even though they have resisted it in the past. They also need to do essential work like sending and receiving payments from their clients locally and internationally.
Unlike Payoneer which operates well with having a distributed workforce, their clients struggle to operate the way they have operated in an office setting. The lessened chances for them to do work and financial transactions personally give them more difficulty in fulfilling their duties. Companies have been forced to digitise like never before.
With this, Payoneer continues to ease the way international payments are made to help their clients continue with their businesses.
What businesses should be doing during the downturn
When asked what tips can she give in helping a business get back up on its feet, Eileen cited a few aspects to consider nurturing.
Marketing and brand strategy
Eileen was saddened by the trends she saw on the internet. Entrepreneurs and individuals hoard essentials such as masks and alcohol then overpriced it for profit. She mentioned that this is not what businesses should do.
Rather, they should also be human and have compassion about the crisis. Instead of thinking about sales or profiteering, businesses should focus more on thinking about how society will get back up on its feet. According to her, this is what means to be a business in the current times, especially when people look up to them more.
For instance, mall owners waiving rent for their tenants, business experts providing mentorship without leeching off from registration fees, etc.
Managing and upskilling people
Eileen highlighted the importance of the workforce and their productivity in running a business. “Without the people, (the) business won’t run.” She gave a few insights on how they can manage their people effectively:
- Delegating responsibilities. It is important for employers to delegate tasks that are doable and suitable for their employee’s workload. It helps to set up a task force that can oversee their employees’ work in progress and motivate them to do their best while working remotely.
- Setting the tone. As Eileen mentioned, the leaders set the tone for their employees’ productivity. With this, communication is an important foundation in setting their employees to remote work, knowing that they care about them as well.
- Providing the technical needs of the team. The technical requirements, meanwhile, can be worked upon by having arrangements with the suppliers for different aspects. For instance, they can talk with their telecom company on increasing connection speed for their teams, letting their employees take their desktops home, or providing laptops for their work.
Eileen’s insights on the pros and cons of working from home in Manila
Eileen stressed that working from home in Manila still depends on the nature of the company and what it requires. She mentioned some pros and cons of working from home in Manila such as:
- Travel time. According to the TomTom Traffic Index 2019, Manila has the second-worst traffic in the world, next to Bengaluru in India. Telecommuting helps employees avoid spending extra hours on the road instead of starting their work on-time.
- Engagement. Working from home, however, affects the overall engagement of a team. Employees might get away with the distraction of having coffee outside, but they’ll miss the engagement in brainstorming activities done at the office.
- Online tools. The way people work constantly changes over time, especially with COVID-19 and the past pandemics that have shaped the workplace today. Nowadays, with online tools, working from home and anywhere in the world will be much easier.
Dealing with outsourced teams
Payoneer also believes in outsourcing as a way of hiring and managing remote teams more effectively. Aside from the cost efficiency the industry brings, outsourcing also ensures the best talent for their client’s operations.
However, as Eileen stressed, managing people is one of the hardest parts in running a business, especially when dealing with an outsourced team for the first time. With this, the company advises its clients to learn how to overcome the language and cultural barriers alongside it. Businesses should get to know the location of their service provider, their culture, and the time zone difference.
Whether managing big or small teams, effective communication is still important. Clients should get to know each member of their team and spend time with them at least often to establish trust, bond, and teamwork between them and their team.
How Eileen sees the future of e-commerce and Payoneer’s role in this
Eileen sees the trend of companies veering away from China for their product manufacturing. Japan, a recent example, even promised incentives to companies who will reshore their operations. This may give rise to countries like Vietnam and Thailand as an alternative.
For e-commerce companies, meanwhile, a mixed outlook on international sourcing is the future. Despite the need for technology in globalisation to keep up with the current demand, most companies will still have doubts about the industry while many will test the waters.
As for Payoneer, they still try to go business as usual to continuously serve businesses around the globe and share tips and insights in growing their businesses.