This article is part of our ongoing PA Note series. It reflects the thoughts, experiences, and motivations of Prialto’s Productivity Assistants from the field. In this post, Abby Buentipo of our Manila Service Center tells us about her recent rehire after two years away.
Abby was Prialto’s tenth original hire in our Manila (Philippines) Center back in 2013. However, she had to resign due to school scheduling conflicts after only a year of exemplary service.
During the two years she was away from Prialto, Abby kept in touch with her former Prialto colleagues. How could she not?
“In the Philippines, it is not at all common for an employee to return to their prior company. When you leave a company, you leave. That’s it. But people return to Prialto, because there is something here that other companies don’t have that keeps us coming back.”
Read more about Abby's rehire story below, and glean examples of company culture that keep bringing people back again and again.
“I resigned two years ago! But I’ve kept up with my former colleagues for two years, and they’ve kept up with me.”
During her initial year at Prialto, she formed lasting friendships based on deeply collaborative experiences and fulfilling work that challenged her and her teammates to rely on each other. Those friendships extended outside the office, and continued while Abby finished school and worked remotely as a book designer for a London-based publisher.
Yet, she missed her Prialto team.
She would check in with her former teammates now and then, and they would always tell her that she was welcome back anytime. But she still couldn’t make it work with her schedule. Then three months ago, Abby got a call from one of her former colleagues asking if she wanted to come back. Suddenly, Abby was confronted with a huge decision: should she remain in her current job or go back to her former company, Prialto?
Abby considered all the angles, remembering just how much she had loved her position as a pioneering Productivity Assistant, which is Prialto’s internal title for a virtual executive assistant. In addition to her executive assistant tasks, she had been instrumental with recruiting, training, and various other human resources tasks in those early Manila Center days.
During her decision-making process, Abby realized that she really wanted to return to Prialto. Examples of company culture at Prialto were hard to forget. They had provided her and her colleagues with invaluable support, understanding, personal meaning, and professional direction. She wanted to experience all of that again.
When she went in to interview for the position, something funny happened. Back in 2013, Abby had done most of the interviewing. This time around, some of those early Manila hires she'd been instrumental in bringing onto the Prialto team we’re interviewing her!
“After a few minutes, they were like, ‘This is weird.’ I asked why. They said, ‘Before, you were the interviewer. Now we’re interviewing you!’ ”
Everyone had a good laugh about that. It was pleasantly nostalgic seeing each other again in that environment. But as Abby mentioned, people stay on at Prialto for years and years. So it wasn't really that much of a surprise for her to see so many familiar faces.
You'd think that as a degree-holding multimedia artist working for a London-based publisher, Abby would have had a hard time leaving her position doing what she went to school for in order to be a virtual executive assistant working on process-oriented administrative tasks. But in reality, the decision to return really wasn't that difficult. It was all based on being part of a proactive virtual executive assistant team again, and getting to be involved in challenging tasks that made up Abby's mind. At the end of the day, Abby said "yes" to a re-hire.
The rest is history.
Is it the people? The work? The company culture?
"Both. The work is definitely so much more nuanced now. The company has evolved in amazing ways. There are new processes coming at us all the time from new and current members alike. I love that level of professional challenge. We’ve also moved to a 24/7 service model in the Philippines that allows us to take on even more clients and learn very exciting new processes."
"In terms of company culture, Prialto provides everyone with a work life balance. That's crucial. Because in the Philippines, we are very family-oriented. I’m a very family-oriented person. Every weekend my family goes out together. Since we have a fixed schedule at Prialto, we’re able to spend reliable quality time with our friends and family outside of work. We can count on that time being given to us and to our loved ones, by extension. That is the definition of a good life. In addition, my colleagues are my friends. I come to work, and am happy and content to be with my friends. They support me and each other like family."
What is the best example of company culture?
“We help each other. That’s one thing I love about Prialto. If you’re not available to finish your work, someone will cover for you. If you can’t do something, there is always someone here to assist you. You’re not doing this alone. There’s always a team.”
In the last three months since Abby has joined Prialto's Manila Center once again, she has been awarded both a Commitment and Service COILS.
"It was really flattering and motivating. When you are recognized, it keeps you pushing to grow and succeed. It also gives you more chances of getting challenging tasks and processes from your managers, which goves you more chances to get promoted."
As she thinks of her future with Prialto, Abby is looking forward to more experiences and knowledge, to growing personally and professionally, and becoming more mature.
For her and her team, every day is different. "It’s exciting and challenging!"