Croatia: Training packet
This packet is to inform employees moving to Croatia and what they are to expect when
moving into an international country. This packet will provide the employee the history of the
culture and will also give a basic understanding of the customs and the values the country holds.
It will also inform the employee how to address the people of Croatia, for example, how to
greet a Croatian and what you should avoid when having conversations with people. It will also
teach employees what kind of currency the country uses and where to get all of these things,
such as where to exchange foreign money and what places you should trust when exchanging
your money. It will also explain different types of business protocols used in the country. This
packet is to help the employee transition to a new country and to give more insight to the
employee and what they should expect entering from the United States to Croatia.
Keywords: greet, currency, business protocols
Brief History of Country
Many people believe, “that the Croats settled in present day Croatia in the sixth century”. The Croatian and Hungarian people have had many conflicts throughout the years. This has caused the Croatia-Hungarian border to shift often, because of the constant shift between the two countries, Hungary’s culture has left an impression in Croatia. Coleman (2013) Although Hungary has a strong present in Croatia, Croatia had “their own local governor, they also had privileged land-owning nobility, and an assembly of nobles”. The Federation of Yugoslavia was formed after the Balkan Wars and World War I, these wars cause Austria-Hungary to fall. There was a great fear that Italy would evade, so the Serbians, Croatian and Slovenian leaders came together to form the federation. “In May of 1992 the Republic of Croatia was recognized by European countries they joined the United Nations and came under its protection”. Coleman (2013)
Key Cultural Values and Customs
In Croatia, Croats are the majority, the minorities include; Serbs, Hungarians, and Gyspsies. Most of the population are Roman Catholic, this religion plays a big role with the Croatian people, other religions include: Christian Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish minorities, these smaller religious population live in the capital of Zagreb. According to (Croatia Guide, n.d)” the Croats are extremely proud of their heritage and culture, which makes them nationalists”. They call their country “Our Beautiful Homeland” also the title of their nation anthem. The Croats have this strong nationalism because they have suffered so much in order to have control of their country. Folklore is a huge way to preserve the culture. Life experiences are translated into different artistic areas. This culture is very family-orientated, the family is the most important part of their social structure. Families remain close to both sides of the family Elderly parents, are taken in their children’s homes and do not put them into nursing homes. Weekends are spent with their families and little to no business is conducted during these times.
The Kuna is the currency that is used in Croatia. Money in Croatia, n.d explains the meaning of name of the currency, “Kuna is a weasel like animal, whose fur was used by the Croats as payments many centuries ago.” Lipa means “lime tree”. Kuna is abbreviated as Kn. Kuna comes in forms of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 as notes and 1,2,5 and 25 in coins. Lipa comes in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50. As the country begins to grow the currency has remained a stable currency. Kuna’s can be obtained prior to leaving to Croatia at foreign exchange stores, one way to purchase your money online and then it can be picked up at the airport before you are to leave to Croatia. A debit/cash card can also be taken in the country, ATMs are available in every area of Croatia. (Money in Croatia, n.d.) A few places you could go to are; banks, supermarkets, airports, and any shopping area. Euros may be accepted, but it is not an official currency and no business or individual is required to accept the euro. If you decide to take your home currency, there should not be any problems. Currency acceptable for easier transaction are the Euros, the UK Pounds, and the U.S. dollars. Hotels should not be used to exchange money, they tend to very poor. It is best to change in a bank or Bureaux de Change. Paying with your debit or credit card may or may not be a problem. Cards are usually accepted in larger shops. Cards are less likely to be accepted in smaller areas, it is best that you keep cash in case you travel to a rural area. (Money in Croatia – Croatian Kuna & using Euros and ATMs. (n.d.).)
Different countries used different kinds of greetings and it important that you learn how to greet people, so they do not feel offended. In Croatia if you fail to greet a person who you are supposed to greet, it could be a sign of bad manners. People will typically stand very close to each other and talk very loudly. In. most countries it is rude to stare at unknown person to you but in Croatia strangers stare openly at one another. Formal language is maintained when people do not know each other very well. (Custom and Etiquette in Croatia, n.d) Strangers nod their heads when passing each other on the streets. In stores, offices and business formal language is kept for greetings and goodbyes. (Croatia Guide, n.d) People who know each other will usually greet with a kiss on both cheeks. Young people are excepted to first greet an older person and women to men.
The act of giving gifts is something the Croatians do not usually do, if you are to give a person a gift be, a small personal gift will be best. Bring flowers to the hostess if you are being invited to their home. Other gifts a hostess might accept would be a box of chocolate or a bottle of wine. The flower chrysanthemums are an item that should not be given to a hostess because this flower is only used for funerals and gravestones. “When giving flowers make sure there is an odd number of stems”. In Croatia if you do bring a gift be aware that the gift will be opened when it is received and they do not hold off on opening them. (Gift Giving Etiquette, nd)
In Croatia it is normal for people to eat and chat during meals so the table manners are casual and not very formal. (Croatia Guide, n.d) It is important that you use your standard set of good behaviors. You must also wait to be shown where to sit by the person who is hosting the party, this can be considered inconsiderate if you pick your own seat in the home of a Croat. While you are eating, the fork is held in the left hand and knife in the right, if you are attending a formal meal the napkin is place on lap. Do not begin eating until the host signals that it is time to eat. Refusing seconds is polite and not looked down on, it is better if you refuse seconds. When you leave a small amount of food on your plate, this indicates that you are done eating and your plate can be picked up.
Greetings/Gestures & body language/Business cards
Business in Croatia is formal and can also be reserved, once a relationship is built the relationship will develop into a more causal business relationship. When you go for a handshake, it is important that you make eye contact and have a smile. Business etiquette. (n.d.) If you are doing business with a woman, you must make sure she extends her hand first. It is proper if you greet the person with the appropriate salutations of the day. In the business setting professional business titles must be used. Business cards are not formally exchanged, the information that is included on the business card are the titles and the professional qualifications of the person. It is not necessary, but having one side of your business card translated in Croatian is very thoughtful. (https://businessculture.org/southern-europe/business-culture-in-croatia/business-etiquette-in-croatia/, 2 paragraph)
Managing meetings/Holidays/Business hours
Business meetings are not normally done in a traditional setting in Croatia, sometimes an agenda is made but it more of a guideline for the discussion. Meeting can go on for hours and there is no time set for a meeting to close. (Business Meeting, n.d) Small talk is usually common before a meeting, this is more important as relationships develop. Never jump straight into business as it comes off as rude, building relationships is more important when getting into business with people of Croatia.
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Holidays include; New Year’s Day, International Labor Day (1 May), Croatian Statehood Day (30, May) Antifascist Uprising Day (22 June), The Day of National Gratitude (5 August) and International Women’s day (8 March) (https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/croatia/index.php, n.d)
Business hours are very different in Croatia than in the United States, Croatians are also known to be early risers. The morning rush begins at 6:30 A.M. businesses work from 7 A.M. to 3 P.M. or 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. Monday through Friday. Stores are usually opened from 8 A.M. to 7 P.M. on weekdays and until 2 P.M. on Saturday, Sunday shopping is only allowed during time when there is a lot of tourism. Restaurants are opened from noon to midnight and many close on Sunday. (Business Hours in Croatia. n.d.)
Business Attire/Gift Giving
When attending a business meeting or going to the office it is common to wear suits. Men will wear suits with a jacket and tie. Women’s business attire is formal and must not be to revealing. Expensive gifts are not recommended to bring to a first meeting. (https://www.commisceo-global.com/resources/country-guides/croatia-guide,n.d)
Conversation Topics (Appropriate/Inappropriate)
Humor is typically limited in a business setting. Religion is not to be discussed in the workplace, businesses do however close on Roman Catholic holidays. Do not openly criticizes Croatian counterparts or their companies, they tend to be very proud and are easily offended. It is best not to mention political or military history of former Yugoslavia.
Decision Making/Developing Relationships
Decisions are usually made at the top of the company. Mangers are using not involved in the decision process, they are required to give the information over to their subordinates. Older employees do not like to make mistakes and often blame outside influences.
In order to have meaningful relationships it may take several business meetings for colleagues to warm up to you. Taking time to develop personal relationships. Croatians are not straight forward and conduct business slowly. (Pier. n.d.)
The first training exercise that will be given to the expat employee is to go over some of the information about the culture and the way of living in the country. The second training exercise is to give the employee a tour of the company, so that the employee feels more secure in the new environment. The third training exercise will be an online tool that will give the employee basic knowledge of what is to be expected working in a foreign country.
- Business etiquette. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://businessculture.org/southern-europe/business-culture-in-croatia/business-etiquette-in-croatia/
- Business Hours in Croatia. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://www.croatiatraveller.com/Practicalities/Hours.html
- Coleman, D. Y. (2013). History. Croatia Country Review (pp. 7–19). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.tamusa.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=87806887&site=ehost-live&scope=site
- [Countries and their Cultures]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Croatia.html.
- Croatia Guide Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://www.commisceo-global.com/resources/country-guides/croatia-guide
- Money in Croatia – Croatian Kuna & using Euros and ATMs. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://www.visit-croatia.co.uk/information-on-croatia/money-in-croatia/
- Pier. (n.d.). Croatian Culture – Business Culture. Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/croatian-culture/business-culture-2c3e21f1-6ebe-4f44-93b8-902573a5a0ed#business-culture-2c3e21f1-6ebe-4f44-93b8-902573a5a0ed