Understanding the Swiss Business Culture

Switzerland is one of the best countries to conduct business. As a matter of fact, Switzerland ranked number 31 out of 190 countries in the Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey in 2017. With this, Switzerland is a home to reputable international companies. If you are here in Switzerland to conduct business, here are the ten things you should understand about the Swiss business culture:

Greetings

The safest way to greet a colleague or a business associate is through a handshake. Address them using their titles and last names. Wait until they instruct you to address them with their first names.

Language

English is the widely accepted language in Swiss business, especially if you are handling international clients and partners. On the other hand, local businesses use German, French, or Italian in their transactions.

Communication

When you interact with business partners, you should always be direct with your points. Expats should focus on every instruction and shall try to control their emotions. Moreover, avoid starting too many small talks. You should always avoid asking personal questions in the business environment.

Dress

Business attire should always be formal and conservative. Men are advised to wear suits while women should avoid too bright colors in their corporate attire and shall wear light makeup and simple jewelry.

Business Hours

Businesses operate from Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm.

Punctuality

Swiss people are much known in the world to be the most punctual people. Thus, being late in every appointment is a big no-no. Make it a habit to confirm appointments ahead of time, arrive hours ahead of time, and always come prepared so as not to waste each other’s time. Time is gold. If you waste their time, you also waste their money.

Business Structure

Swiss business follows a strict hierarchy. They highly recognize rank, level of education, and achievements. They also follow teamwork. Managers guide their team, while the team cooperates enthusiastically.

Gender Equality

Men and women are given equal career opportunities in Swiss business. However, most senior level positions are occupied by men.

We hope this helps you know more about the Swiss business culture.