If you're planning on establishing a Swiss business it's important to understand the backbone of Swiss culture and the Swiss business culture. It is imperative you understand what is required of you, and your business when communicating with both clients and business partners as well as governments. We have business consultants who can assist you further with how to communicate and fit in with Swiss business culture.
It is always expected that you are punctual especially when meeting your business partners and connecting with new clients.
2. Meet and greet
In Switzerland, the handshake is ubiquitous, and you should shake hands with everybody who is attending the meeting. The last name is what should be used to address and acknowledge those who you have not met, and first names are restricted to friends and family.
3. Less small talk
Generally, the Swiss are private and therefore are unlikely to pleasantly engage in small talk, especially when it is in regards to personal information, especially age or marital status. On top of this, fidgeting is perceived as rude, as are extravagant hand gestures.
Professionalism is expected at all times during business functions or business related conversations. The Swiss expect a high level of responsibility as well as seriousness at all times.
As Switzerland features a number of official languages, German, French, Italian and Romansch, it is important that you understand at least a few phrases or learn the languages to show respect and recognition of those speaking the languages.
A reserved attitude is expected at all times, both inside and outside the workplace. This is expected as it will affect your perceived professionalism around business executives and other work colleagues.
7. Dress code
The Swiss business dress code is rather simple, with black and dark colours being the most suitable. Men will be presumed to feature dark suits and ties, and for women, dark suits or dresses for all business and workplace activities. Any jewellery should also be as minimal and understated as possible.
8. Business dining
Normally business dining is quite unrestricted, and most business meetings outside the workplace can take place in restaurants for lunch meetings or dinners.
9. Offering gifts
The offering of gifts to colleagues or business partners is normally done once business transactions have been completed and gifts should normally feature company logos. Fine wines are also treated as appropriate as business gifts.
10. The importance of business hierarchy
All business hierarchies will depend on the business itself, and thus each company will have a different business culture, although, it is important that you fit in and respect this hierarchy. A level is a respect is not just expected by leading professionals, it is compulsory.
More information on Swiss business types and their employee culture can be found on our website. You should also feel free to contact our business consultants for more information on what is expected of you in the Swiss business environment.