Opening a Business in Switzerland
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Switzerland holds one of the leading positions in the world among the wealthiest countries. The government predicts strong economic recovery after the GDP recession brought about by COVID pestilence in 2019.
25% of the gross domestic product is produced by industry and the rest is generated by the service sector. According to statistics pharmacy and chemicals followed by electronics and machinery and finishing by famous watches present most of the Swiss export.
Almost all Swiss companies are medium and small-sized with personnel of less than 250 workers. About 5% of 580 thousand registered enterprises in the country belong to foreigners. Despite the fact that there is no such notion as a minimum salary in Switzerland we must admit that average wages here are one of the highest among the rest of the countries. This feature causes high prices for living in Switzerland.
Opening a business in Switzerland every entrepreneur should remember that this country is the leader when it comes to innovations and technological advancement. Being the home to some world-known universities allows you to hire very skilled employees as far as medicine, technology, and science are concerned.
The country has four official languages. They are French, German, Romansh, and Italian. Therefore, we may notice some differences in business culture that depend on the area where they are present. At the same time, some features are considered to be truly Swiss and prevailing over the country. For example, Swiss corporate culture is known to be strict and conservative. Hierarchy used to be immanent in Swiss enterprises. The top-down style of the decision-making process was a distinguishing feature of local companies where workers had very low influence. Assiduity, accuracy, tolerance, and attention to details are most appreciated in Switzerland.
Corporate Structure in Switzerland
Hierarchy used to play a great role in most companies. As a result, only the top management of an enterprise was authorized for final decisions. Switzerland is a conservative country with all its benefits and drawbacks. All are supposed to be dressed in formal outfits wearing business attire in offices and avoiding personal issues in conversations while working hours. However, everything depends on the part of the country – German-speaking citizens are more reserved than Italian-speaking and Italian-speaking residents are more reserved than Italians themselves.
Variety of Workforce in Switzerland
Switzerland has become a diverse country including four cultural parts. Until recent times it had been considered that homogeneous staff favors working results and efficiency.
Nowadays such ideas in corporate culture are gradually deteriorating and become more and more tolerant taking into consideration only the skills of a person and not his or her origin. Recently researchers found that employees from abroad are supposed to submit about thirty percent more applications in comparison with native residents for the purpose of being invited to any job interview despite the fact that their skills are more or less equal. In addition, the research concluded that local citizens who had a parent from a country located in the EU were subject to discrimination in the past as well when it came to hiring.
Adoption of Decisions and Business Strategy
In general, all business planning depends upon the management of a company. When we talk about enterprises located in the German part of the country, we may notice that they apply detailed planning extending far into the future with a strict schedule whereas the companies within the Italian and French parts are more relaxed in this term.
Hierarchical tradition in Swiss corporate culture implies that only the top management of a company has the authority to make any final decision. It does not mean that no one else cannot propose any other option but if such an alternative is not supported at least by one of the top officials, it will not be even taken into consideration. Enterprises with a solid international background are more liberal allowing their workers to take a significant part in decision-making matters.
It is worth mentioning that when all 26 cantons must make a unanimous decision for the whole country it is always a sophisticated process since all of them are rivals to each other to some extent.
Negotiations and Business Meetings
All business meetings performed in the country are scheduled to the smallest detail. All appointments are made in advance. Every minute of any meeting is subject to a strict agenda. All members of a meeting are supposed to contribute and arrive at a consensus. Usually, small talks and humor are not relevant on such occasions.
People in Switzerland have a tendency to be alert and accurate. In addition, they are experienced and fair in bargaining. It means that any negotiation with Swiss businessmen may try your patience. All your presentations are welcome when they are brief, clear, and transparent. Be formal and avoid slang. In addition, the most important thing is not to be late.
Social Security in Switzerland
In order to be socially secured you should have several insurances. In the event that you are a paid employee, your employer and you share the expenses for these insurances in equal parts. The only exception is health insurance, which is mandatory to have and must be covered only by yourself. However, when it comes to accident insurance the owner of an enterprise must pay the whole amount if his or her employee works more than 8 hours per week. In case you are a freelancer you must have your own social security.
Unemployment insurance is supposed to cover those employees who fell under unemployment circumstances caused by different reasons. Both employer and his or her worker cover this type of insurance which constitutes about 2% of the worker’s salary.
All women in the country qualify for maternity leave in case they comply with certain requirements. They receive about eighty percent of their salary as a daily subsistence allowance that may reach 200 Swiss francs per day.
All workers, self-employed and unemployed who are older than 20 must take part in casualty insurance until the age of retirement. The employer retrieves a part of the salary to cover such insurance splitting this expense into two equal parts.