Switzerland has consistently ranked in the top 30 countries out of 190 when it comes to ease of doing business rankings. Some of the reasons for its high ease of doing business ranking include the fact that electricity is easy to setup, the corporate tax system in the country is easy to navigate, and the process of registering a business is in itself quite simple and straightforward.
Such a high ranking continues to be a great incentive for foreign companies to relocate their businesses to the country. It is imperative that these companies understand the Swiss business culture in order for them to prosper in this new business environment. The following are some of the Swiss business culture elements that foreign businesses are expected to adopt in order for them to flourish.
- Business Language
English is spoken in most parts of the country, but there is a significant number of French, German, and Italian speakers. You will find that most local businesses prefer to use German, Italian, or French rather than English. Obviously, the international companies would prefer to use English in order to be able to communicate with all of its multilingual staff and customers.
It is important to know the language commonly used in the canton that you have registered your business in, and use this language in local business dealings. This is important because it will ease your ability to communicate with local businesses and customers. In addition, more people will be willing to trust you if you speak the same language as they do.
Hence, when executing a Business Relocation to Switzerland, you need to prioritize overcoming language barriers in order to make you more competitive in your new business environment.
- Business Communication
In Switzerland, Business communication tends to be strictly formal whether in writing, or when being conducted in person. It is highly recommended that you keep the small talk to a minimum especially when you are dealing with the German Swiss. Try to be as direct as possible when you are dealing with Swiss customers and fellow businesses. Always maintain eye contact, control your emotions, and refrain from ever asking personal questions while in business situations.
Greetings are also an important aspect of business communication in Switzerland. The general rule of thumb is to shake hands while maintaining eye contact. Always greet business associates using their title and last name. You should only use their first name when you have been instructed to do so.
- Business Attire
Business wear in the country is usually formal and reserved, just like everything else about the Swiss. Keep your dressing as conservative as possible in order to minimise situations where customers or potential business partners find your dressing uncomfortable. Avoid too much jewellery, string scents, and overly bright colours. Keep your dressing as simple as you can whenever you are in a business environment.
This is perhaps one of the most important Swiss business culture aspects that you need to have a handle on when resettling your company in Switzerland. The Swiss place a lot of importance on punctuality, and that is why they are considered some of the most punctual people on the planet.
Arriving late to a meeting is generally viewed as a big sign of disrespect. Hence, it is imperative that you arrive at each meeting on time in order to avoid disrespecting your associates. You should actually strive to arrive at least half an hour earlier than the time the meeting is expected to begin. Arriving earlier will ensure that you have enough time to prepare for the meeting. The Swiss do not take too kindly to people who seem unprepared during business meetings.