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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Swiss Business Culture

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Swiss Business Culture

Are you planning on opening a company in Switzerland? Or have you just entered into a new business relationship with a Swiss client or partner? Our company registration specialists in Switzerland can tell you more about the Swiss business culture.

1. Punctuality

Punctuality is important both when meeting business partners and when meeting with clients.

2. Meet and greet

It is common to shake hands when meeting people and to do so with everyone present. The last name is usually used to address individuals and the first name is generally used only for close friends and family.

3. Less small talk

The Swiss tend to be private people so small talk should only include safe topics and not private questions like age or marital status. Also, as opposed to the Italians, Swiss are not big fans of fidgeting and hand gestures.

4. Professionalism

The Swiss will appreciate professionalism, accompanied by a somewhat degree of sobriety and responsibility. This is also reflected in the way they conduct business.

5. Bilingualism 

Switzerland is a country with four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch (although spoken by very few people). Regardless of the area in which you do business or even if you are part of an branch in Switzerland, you can try to learn basic phrases in all of the three most important languages.

6. Reservation

Because the Swiss put an accent of professionalism, it is best to have a reserved attitude even outside the workplace when surrounded by business professionals.

7. Dress code

Conservative also applies to the Swiss dress code. Dark suits and ties for men and suits or dresses for women are usually worn during business meetings. Jewelry should be simple and understated.

8. Business dining

Business entertainment will most likely take place at restaurants and lunch meetings can be common. 

9. Offering gifts

Gifts are offered after the successful conclusion of a business transaction and are usually reciprocal. Gifts containing the company logo or fine wine and other spirits are considered appropriate business gifts.  

10. The importance of business hierarchy

The company culture can depend on the type of company and whether or not it is an international company. While in the latter it is usual to have a less hierarchic structure, the Swiss will generally be very observant of the company structure.

If you want to open a company in Switzerland, our experts can help you understand more about the business environment and requirements for foreign investors.