Work Culture in Vietnam: Insights for Job Seekers and Professionals
Vietnam’s dynamic work culture reflects its rich history and traditional values that are deeply ingrained in their society. By embracing these insights, you can build stronger relationships with your colleagues, your employer, and your clients/customers that will help you achieve success in your career. This will also strengthen your cultural fit qualities, making you more outstanding to hiring managers and headhunter agencies in Vietnam.
1. Respecting hierarchy and adapting to communication styles
Vietnam’s work culture places a strong emphasis on hierarchy and respect for authority. This can be traced back to the Confucian principles that have shaped Vietnamese society for centuries. It is crucial to address superiors with the appropriate titles and show deference in your interactions.
In the Vietnamese professional environment, it is quite common for older managers to prefer being addressed with a pronoun typically associated with younger individuals, regardless of the age difference. Even if a junior employee is significantly younger, possibly spanning a gap of 20 or 30 years, it is customary for them to use the terms “anh” (brother) or “chị” (sister) when referring to their senior manager. This practice is widely accepted across both state-owned and private companies. In a sense, this custom serves to facilitate a closer connection between junior staff and their superiors.
Non-verbal communication also plays a significant role in Vietnamese work culture. People often use facial expressions, body language, and subtle gestures to convey their thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to these non-verbal cues as they can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of a conversation so you can respond appropriately.
2. Fostering teamwork and collaboration
Teamwork is highly valued in Vietnamese work culture. It is common to see colleagues coming together to help each other accomplish tasks and solve problems. The concept of “saving face” is important in Vietnam, meaning that individuals do not want to lose face or appear incompetent in front of their peers. Therefore, they are often willing to assist and collaborate to ensure the success of the team.
Embrace the collaborative nature of Vietnamese work culture. Be open to working closely with your colleagues, and don’t hesitate to offer help or seek assistance when needed. Give feedback privately and in a professional manner. Being a team player is a strong indicator of how you’ll fit well in the company’s culture. This can lead to smoother work processes, increased productivity, and an overall positive working environment.
3. Maintaining work-life balance
Vietnamese professionals have earned a reputation for their unwavering commitment to their work. When the situation requires it, they will extend their working hours to accomplish assignments and fulfill deadlines. The readiness to exceed expectations is deeply esteemed within the framework of Vietnamese work culture. However, they also value balancing their duties between their professional and personal lives.
Set boundaries and communicate your availability clearly to avoid burnout. If your employer offers flexible work schedules, remote work possibilities, or wellness initiatives, take advantage of them. Be respectful and supportive of your colleagues’ downtime as well. Collaborate with them on making work arrangements to ensure that everyone can still meet their responsibilities whilst having the opportunity to enjoy work-life balance.
4. Cultivating relationships with colleagues and superiors
In Vietnamese work culture, building strong relationships with colleagues and superiors is paramount. These relationships are often based on mutual trust and respect. Social gatherings and team-bonding activities outside of work are common ways to strengthen these connections.
Try to engage in social activities with them. Participate in team outings, lunches, or other social events to build rapport and establish trust. Showing genuine interest in your colleagues’ lives outside of work can go a long way in fostering strong relationships. When you receive an invitation to participate in post-work gatherings, it’s advisable not to turn it down but it’s also important to note that you’re not obligated to accept every invitation every time.
5. Being patient and flexible in the workplace
Vietnamese work culture may sometimes appear slow-paced or bureaucratic. Decisions can take time, and unexpected changes are not uncommon. Achieving a consensus is of utmost importance, and that’s why multiple tiers of consultation are involved prior to making any decision, often leading to protracted negotiations. Patience and flexibility are key virtues in such situations.
Cultivate patience and adaptability when working in Vietnam. Understand that processes may not always be as efficient as you are used to. Be prepared to adapt your plans as circumstances change. Patience and a calm demeanour will help you navigate any challenges that arise.
Trust ASW Consulting’s Talent Acquisition Sourcing in Ho Chi Minh
By understanding and adapting the nuances of Vietnam’s work culture, you’ll have a more fulfilling and rewarding experience in your professional journey. If you want to take the next step to level-up your career, reach out to ASW Consulting (formerly The Talent Consultants) for employment opportunities that will maximise your full potential. We are a reliable recruitment agency in Ho Chi Minh City that understands how important it is to align your career goals to our clients’ business objectives and culture.
Explore our job vacancies or send your CV and our talent consultants will assist you with your application. You may also call our phone number +84 28 7309 7991 for more details. Together, we can make your career dreams come true!