Croatia Work Culture

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Work Culture

To succeed in business in Croatia, it is vital for both employers and employees to have a strong understanding of the business culture.

As a global PEO (Professional Employment Organization) it is our goal to be familiar and updated with the business culture in the country we work with and in. By sharing our knowledge about Croatian work culture, we want to support your Global Expansion plans. Therefore, we will address all the aspects of the work culture in Croatia to start your expansion well-informed.

The Republic of Croatia’s developing economy and increasing interaction with European neighbours have obvious attractions for foreign investors – just as its spectacular Adriatic coastline, castles, forests, mountains, and lakes are a major temptation for foreign workers.

Croatia is at the crossroads of eastern and central Europe, a Balkan nation with land borders joining Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia in the east, a short border with Montenegro in the south and maritime borders on the Adriatic with Italy.

The nation’s European footprint is growing. Croatia became a member of the European Union in 2013, is expected to join the Schengen area by the end of 2022 and is on the list of potential members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The United Nations, Council of Europe, NATO, and the World Trade Organization already count Croatia among their ranks.

Croatia is a mix of ethnic groups – close to 20 – but 90% of the population are Croats, with Serbs comprising the largest other nationality at over 4%. The other groups each account for less than one per cent of the population. Despite the Croat majority, it makes sense to be aware of other cultural groups as attitudes and outlooks may vary.

These are among the considerations for employees moving into the country – maybe as part of the Government’s drive to attract foreign workers to compensate for those skilled and highly-educated Croatians who migrate to other European Union countries.

As a result, it is best to expect a variety of nationalities among new colleagues … so there will be a lot to get used to. Ready for the challenge? Now is the time to get down to business. So here are a few tips on taking the best steps and clearing those cultural barriers.

  • Language:  A highly literate nation and at the managerial and business level many Croatians are multi-lingual with English, German and Italian (especially in the Adriatic regions) commonly used. But it is always best to check whether an interpreter is advisable
  • Punctuality:  This is important as it shows respect, and that the relationship is taken seriously
  • Getting Started:  Initial meetings are often a getting-to-know-you session – don’t assume too much hard business will be discussed. The first agenda may serve as guidelines as to how subsequent meetings will be focused
  • Negotiations:  Although Croatians tend to think before they speak – taking time to formulate their questions and responses – they can be animated and quite loud. Don’t be cowered into a flustered reply as it can be seen as a sign of weakness. However, avoid pointing a finger to emphasize an opinion – rude!
  • Greetings:  A firm, brief handshake backed by friendly eye contact. Titles and surnames to begin with, until the hosts suggest moving to first names. Wait to be shown where to sit at the table as a place is likely reserved for you
  • Business Cards:  Exchanged normally without any ritual
  • Dress Codes:  Smart, neat, and tidy
  • Gift Giving:  Not expected, but if given make it something small and thoughtful from the home country. Extravagance could be misinterpreted … bribery alert!
  • Out of Hours:  Lunches and dinners are an opportunity to learn more about each other. Croatians always value personal contact above written communication
  • Avoid:  Comments about the former Yugoslavia – the Balkan conflicts of the 90s are not a subject for conversation

Croatia’s Minimum Wage

The Government set the monthly minimum wage in 2022 at HRK 4,866 (€623.70, US$694) equating to HRK 56,640 (€7,484, US$8,082) based on 12 payments annually. The minimum applies to all Croatian workers, although some foreign employees must be paid above the minimum.

Probation Periods in Croatia

Trial periods are included in the employment contract and cannot exceed six months. Employers must give seven days notice of termination.

Working Hours in Croatia

The Labor Act sets 40 hours a week in eight-hour days as the norm. Flexible or redistributed working hours can be up to 48 in a single week – or in exceptional circumstances 56 – but should not average more than 40 over 12 months.

Overtime in Croatia

Employers’ requests for overtime work must be in writing. Extra hours cannot exceed 10 a week or 180 annually unless collective agreements allow up to an annual maximum of 250. The Labor Act does not set overtime pay rates, which are agreed upon contractually or collectively.