Season 1 Episode 8

The Hot Seat with Karen Coloso



David interviews Karen Coloso who is the GM of operations for Affordable Staff in the Philippines. Karen holds a masters in Accounting, has almost completed a law degree and shares her previous 10 years working for a not-for-profit before a brief stint in a call centre where she was called an ‘Asian Monkey’ on her first tech support call, the difficulties of working with teams in India, why she thinks it’s better NOT to have an Australian GM full time in our office, how to grow a culture of empowerment so you can go on holiday whenever you want to, and the problem with getting people within the Philippines to understand we’re not a call centre.

Show Notes

2:42 – Karen working 10 years for one employer in HR and management

4:23 – Karen’s first job on O-Desk (which is now UpWork) and working as an call agent in a call centre

6:05 – Karen’s first tech support call

7:23 – How it feels being called an Asian Monkey and working night shift

8:31 – How Karen confuses people in the Philippines with her Albinism

8:00 – How Karen quit working in a call centre because she felt like she wasn’t doing a good job

9:29 – How Karen started working with Affordable Staff and how David thought Karen was using a fake profile to get a job

12:39 – Online Marketing and the challenges working with the established team in the Indian office

19:08 – High standards and associating your name with a product or service

16:53 – The initial problems with employing people in the Philippines and why we established a foundation in Bacolod, Philippines

16:56 – Moving to an office space and early issues like getting health insurance for local staff

18:25 – Continuing to grow and how to manage office renovations from a different country

20:00 – Why we don’t have a full time Australian in our Philippines office and why it’s a better model

19:49 – Empowering your team to perform and bringing visitors to the Philippines office

21:18 – Working in all roles within the business to be able to step back from the business

25:39 – Trying to explain that we are not a call centre to people that live in the Philippines

26:41 – The importance of stretch breaks and how it fits into our overall culture

28:25 – The challenge of competition in the marketplace and slow growth vs fast growth

29:54 – Why automation won’t be a problem for outsourcing and why the human element is critical

31:56 –  What technology changes would you like to see in the Philippines and how Karen would love people in the Philippines to better understand what our business is

35:16 – What does Karen see as her future in the business

35:33 – How do people in the Philippines perceive Australians

37:42 – Favourite holiday location/s and travelling across multiple countries in one trip

40:34 – Final advice to people considering outsourcing