Unveiling Synergies: A Cross-Continental Dialogue with Penbrothers and Mynavi Corporation on HR Innovation and Global Expansion
Nicolas Bivero, Guilherme Faria, and Shota Sakurai
Amidst the vibrant energy of the Philippines' bustling streets, a dynamic company stands out as a trailblazer in the offshoring and remote staffing sector. Penbrothers, founded by Nicolas Bivero and Guilherme Faria, is more than just a business; it's a beacon of hope for the local talent seeking international opportunities. At its core, Penbrothers is dedicated to bridging the gap between global clients and the abundance of untapped potential within the Philippines.
Penbrothers offers a range of services including remote staffing, employee solutions, and team-building support. When foreign businesses, such as Singapore-based companies, face challenges in hiring an account payables person due to local market constraints, high costs, or limited brand recognition, Penbrothers is often engaged.
"We're not just an employment platform; we're a full-fledged HR support system, ensuring a seamless connection between clients and the right talent. Our commitment extends far beyond a mere transaction," said Nicolas Bivero, company CEO and co-founder.
Penbrothers works closely with clients to identify their needs, including role requirements, talent type, working hours, and salary expectations. Following this, their talent acquisition team takes the lead, conducting initial screenings, shortlisting, and interviews in the Philippines. This ensures that only preselected candidates, who are well-suited for the client’s requirements, are presented for the final interview stage.
Upon client approval and selection of a candidate, Penbrothers transitions from talent acquisition to a more encompassing HR support role, essentially becoming an extension of their client's HR teams. This includes the provision of equipment to the employee and ensuring regular HR check-ins to facilitate a smooth collaboration between the client and the new employee. This comprehensive approach ensures that both the client and the employee are well-supported.
Penbrothers extends its services beyond mere staffing, encompassing learning, and team-building support to cater to diverse client needs. This approach enables clients to benefit from having an employee in the Philippines while also receiving comprehensive local support from Penbrothers. Such assistance includes managing health-related issues of employees, providing insurance, and addressing various local challenges.
The clientele of Penbrothers is globally diverse, ranging from small teams of 11 members to larger groups of up to 400 employees. This scale reflects the universal challenge companies face in acquiring the right talent. In today's business environment, where human resources are crucial for product development and market engagement, the persistent question is sourcing the best talent at optimal costs and availability.
The Philippines is highlighted as a strategic location due to its readily available talent pool. Penbrothers recognizes the cost implications of unfilled positions within companies, as these vacancies can lead to operational inefficiencies and increased workload for existing staff. Therefore, the company emphasizes the importance of swiftly filling these gaps to uphold a company's mission and vision.
Penbrothers was founded on the recognition of the abundant talent available in the Philippines, aiming to connect this talent with global opportunities while solving critical staffing challenges for companies worldwide.
Penbrothers co-founder Guilherme Faria adds, "Our mission is to polish the raw talent within the Filipino workforce, enabling them to shine on the international stage. We strive to create opportunities that keep these bright minds rooted in their homeland, minimizing the impact of brain drain that has plagued our country for so long."
What sets Penbrothers apart from its competitors
Their secret sauce, according to Bivero, is their consultative approach. "We have a very consultative approach for our clients," he explains. “This involves partnering closely with clients and potential clients to delve into their specific needs, understand the nuances of their job descriptions, and ascertain the key attributes of the talent they seek,”
Bivero highlights, "It's this consultative approach of being constantly engaging with the clients from the day of recruitment up to the whole client journey to make sure we keep adding value to the client."
Penbrothers' distinction in the market, according to Bivero, lies in its comprehensive service model. "We become the HR extension, the local partner of our clients in the Philippines," This approach goes beyond the functions of typical employment platforms, which are limited to facilitating compliant payroll processes for talent hired by clients. In contrast, Penbrothers involves itself extensively in talent acquisition, training, and problem-solving, ensuring a more holistic and involved relationship with its clients.
Faria echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the company's core values. "What sets us apart is our core values, what we believe in," he says. Faria speaks of Penbrothers' dual focus on employee obsession and going beyond the expected. He elucidates, "We have two sets of clients inside of Penbrothers, which are our actual customers and our employees." By treating employees as customers, Penbrothers ensures a commitment to both its people and clients, striving to understand and meet their needs in a manner that exceeds expectations.
Faria goes further on the employee-centric approach of Penbrothers: "How do we make an employee give their best? We look at it from a personal perspective and then work around that," This approach is geared towards ensuring personal happiness and professional growth for their employees, fostering an environment where both clients and employees are understood and valued. This dual understanding of client and employee needs, Faria asserts, is what ultimately sets Penbrothers apart.
Partnership with Mynavi
Reflecting on the recent investment from Mynavi Corporation, Bivero expressed, "The support from Mynavi is not just financial; it's a stamp of approval and a gateway to further growth. With this backing, we're expanding our marketing and sales teams and investing in data-driven strategies to enhance our services. We're also excited about our future endeavors in the Japanese market, leveraging Mynavi's expertise and network."
"It has been something which we're very proud of for various reasons," Bivero adds. "After living in Japan for 10 years, I worked for a Japanese company for 18 years. Gui also worked in Japan and for Japanese companies."
Faria also shares his deep emotional connection and the sense of fulfillment arising from Mynavi Corporation's investment in the company. "For both of us, there's an emotional effect that comes into a company like Mynavi investing in Penbrothers," he reflects. "As old kids that lived in Japan, there is a personal joy in this because of the significance that it has for us," Faria explains.
The significance of this investment is multifaceted for Penbrothers. According to Bivero, it is not only a personal achievement but also a validation of their business model and vision. "The fact that a Japanese company like Mynavi was interested in investing in us and believes in our product beliefs is something which personally gives me a lot of personal satisfaction and joy," he shares.
Focusing on the strategic implications, Bivero points out the opportunities this partnership opens up, especially in the Japanese market. "There is a lot of opportunity from our end to provide our service to the Japanese market as well," he notes. However, he acknowledges the challenges inherent in penetrating the Japanese market and emphasizes the crucial role of Mynavi as a cornerstone for potential success. "Having a partner like Mynavi is a cornerstone to potential success in the Japanese market," Bivero states, adding, "We wouldn't be able to develop a Japanese market without them."
"We always mentioned that we're not looking for money, we're looking for the right partner," states Faria, highlighting the thoughtful consideration that went into choosing Mynavi as a significant collaborator for Penbrothers.
Shota Sakurai, Chief Representative in the Philippines for Mynavi, describes the company's stature and global strategy. He states, "Mynavi is one of the leading HR services and information media companies in Japan." The company's prominence as a well-known HR entity in Japan is emphasized.
The expansion of Mynavi's global presence is highlighted by Shota, who notes the establishment of their Philippine office in 2019. "There are several branches overseas aside from the Philippines," he mentions, listing countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Poland, India, and the USA. This international expansion underscores Mynavi's commitment to growing its market reach beyond Japan.
Shotai further explains Mynavi's strategic focus on the Southeast Asian market. "However, we are focusing on the market of Southeast Asia," he says, indicating a targeted approach in their expansion strategy. The company's method involves "investing in local companies to increase sales overseas through minor investment and acquisition."
This strategy is part of a larger goal for Mynavi, as Shota outlines. "To transform into a global company by 2030, we are accelerating overseas investment as well," he states. This plan underscores Mynavi's ambition to establish itself as a major global player in the HR and information media sectors by the end of the decade.
Shota also provided insight into the factors that influenced Mynavi’s decision to invest in Penbrothers. "We call this market a remote management solution industry," Sakurai states, acknowledging the significant potential in this sector. He notes the success of similar companies in the industry, such as those from the USA, which have shown impressive growth.
The initial interaction between MyNavi and Penbrothers was facilitated through LinkedIn between Shota and Faira in 2020. "That was our first time meeting and I was interested in their business," Shota recalls. The significant market size, rapid growth, and excellent management of Penbrothers were key factors that drew his interest. "This attracted me so I decided to proceed and strike this deal with them," he says.
Shota highlights the unique approach of Penbrothers towards investment. Unlike other companies that seek investments primarily for financial reasons, Penbrothers desired a deeper relationship. "But Penbrothers didn’t just want the money — they wanted Mynavi to become more than an investor, they wanted us to become a partner," he explains. This aspect of the deal was particularly significant in Sakurai's career as a venture capitalist.
The formalization of Mynavi's investment in Penbrothers, which officially launched this 2023, was a process that took a couple of years to develop from its inception. Sakurai expresses confidence in Penbrothers' future, stating, "I have confidence that Penbrothers will be the leading company in this field in the Philippines." He believes in the alignment of Penbrothers' vision to harness Filipino talent with Mynavi's objectives in the Philippines.
The collaboration has already started bearing fruit, as indicated by Bivero: "I think we have two or three clients already from the introductions from Mynavi." He highlights the network effect of partnering with a company of Mynavi's stature, pointing to their size, scale, and influence as key factors in Penbrothers' expanding client base and market reach.
Addressing the approach Penbrothers takes in understanding and adapting to client needs, Bivero emphasizes their unique strategy. "Our focus is to really understand what the problems of our clients are and then adapt to them," he states. Penbrothers steers clear of mirroring local companies, instead aiming to elevate their service to the top of the employment pyramid. Bivero believes in the equivalence of Filipino talent to that in the developed world, seeing the lack of opportunities as the primary difference. "How do we make sure that we keep elevating the talent from the Philippines?" he asks, signifying the company's commitment to presenting Filipino talent to international businesses at a higher level, focusing on quality over volume.
Faria notes that Japanese companies traditionally hire in the Philippines a significant number of blue-collar seafarers. He observes that many of these roles are part of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) system, necessitating workers to leave the Philippines. "With the help of Mynavi, what we aspire to do is to bring now a different segment of the Philippine workforce to Japanese companies as part of our future," Faria explains. He emphasizes their goal to introduce higher-level white-collar workers to the global labor market, especially to Japanese clients. This aligns with Penbrothers' vision to create opportunities for Filipinos to engage with the global talent pool and work for international companies without leaving their home country.
"There's still so much opportunity to create avenues for Filipinos to work for really exciting foreign companies through the network or the partnership with Mynavi," Faria concludes, highlighting the vast potential for growth and international collaboration.
Shota, for his part, is excited about Mynavi’s plans, particularly regarding its collaboration with Penbrothers and the opportunities it presents in the Japanese market. He highlights Penbrothers' proficiency in the Japanese language and culture, which he believes will facilitate smooth collaboration. "Penbrothers is very fortunate to have great knowledge and understanding of the Japanese language and culture," Sakurai says. This, he feels, will ease their operations in alignment with the Japanese market.
Mynavi plans to use its extensive network, experience, and recognition in Japan to robustly support Penbrothers' expansion into this market. Shota outlines an approach that involves reaching out to Mynavi's numerous businesses and subsidiaries, of which there are over 50, with around 30 subsidiaries currently being explored for potential opportunities.
Furthermore, Shota mentions that Mynavi's clients in Japan, considering entry into the Philippine market, might also hire Filipino talent, presenting another avenue for collaboration.
"There are a lot of opportunities to get Japanese clients for Penbrothers," he notes, indicating the potential for a significant increase in business interactions between the two entities.
Shota reveals that Mynavi itself is contemplating hiring Filipino talent through Penbrothers, further deepening the partnership between the two companies. This move underscores the reciprocal nature of the relationship and the mutual benefits it offers to both organizations.
Nicolas Bivero, is the CEO and Co-Founder of Penbrothers, and Guilherme Faria, the Co-Founder of Penbrothers. Their roles are incredibly important for the company since they are responsible for the planning, development, and management of both the company’s functions and its external partnerships. With fervor and dedication, both Nicolas and Guilherme are passionate about revolutionizing outsourcing, HR management, and hiring here in the Philippines and beyond.
Shota Sakurai is the Chief Representative of the Philippines of Mynavi Corporation. Shota’s role is incredibly important since he is responsible for strategizing market expansion and business development, representing the company in the region, networking, and complying with local and international regulatory affairs among many others. With inspiring passion, Shota is dedicated to truly revolutionizing the HR and recruitment system not only in Japan and the Philippines but the broader Southeast Asia as a whole. Using his experiences and learnings, he is confident that this can be achieved one step at a time.
Visit www.techshake.asia if you would like to know and connect more with Penbrothers and Mynavi.