Working Culture in Vietnam That Foreign Business Should Know?

Understanding the local working culture is essential before you start a business in another country. Especially in a rich culture country like Vietnam, getting to know the workplace tradition is worth prioritizing. So, what significant features that you should note?


In general, Vietnamese dress more casually than Western people. Wearing a suit with a tie is not very common. Only on a formal occasion, the boss or the important one will wear a suit. In certain industries such as hospitality, real estate, education, etc, all the staff is required to wear uniforms.

Normally, smart casual is the most common style in the workplace. In addition, recently developed companies tend to encourage their staff to wear anything they want as long as it is inoffensive. They believe that it’s a good way to stimulate creativity and relaxing.

Annual leave and public holidays

According to Vietnamese labor laws, employees must have at least 12 days of annual leave. It can take up to 15 or 20 days depending on the company policy. Normally, Vietnamese employees spend their day off on short vacations instead of a long vacation.

Public holidays in Vietnam are regulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newly amended Labour Code of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Even though Vietnam officially recognizes 17 public holidays and 10 local or regional observances, employees are only entitled to 9 paid holidays a year.

According to Vietnamese labor laws, if a recognized public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, workers will have an extra day off which is observed as a paid holiday. There are several local and regional observances that are not officially recognized as paid holidays including the Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party, the Birthday of President Ho Chi Minh and Christmas Day.


Do you know? Napping after lunchtime is a cultural norm in Vietnam. It improves working productivity, allowing staff to return to work refreshed and refocused.

Chatting or sharing a snack with colleagues is a common habit in office life. Vietnamese people tend to build trust and express opinions during small talks. Formal meetings are more rituals that no one tends to disagree with their boss.

Gender discrimination is usually not popular in the workplace. However, it is a fact that there are far fewer female workers than male workers in many industries, especially in the software and the IT field.

Vietnamese employees prefer to build personal trust outside of the workplace in order to increase their teamwork and collaboration. This is the reason why companies in Vietnam usually have a budget for team activities. It can be mentioned dinner, drinking or sponsor for other outdoor entertainment. In business, a contract is more likely to be signed by inviting the business partner to dinner, drinking, and other entertainment activities.

Working hours

working culture in vietnam

Official working business begins at 8 am to 5 pm, from Monday to Friday. Some business require their staff to work on Saturday or Sunday (especially businesses in the hospitality and culinary industry)

Vietnamese employees are not really punctual, even in business meetings. 5-10 minutes late is also normally acceptable in Vietnamese working culture.


Buddhism and Christianity are the most popular religions in Vietnam. However, the majority of the population does not follow any religion, they just worship their ancestors which is affected by Confucianism thought and tradition. Therefore, this spirit is also affected in business. For example, some people decor feng furniture on their desk which brings luck and health. Or they will choose to sit in the lucky feng shui direction. Recently, this belief has faded significantly, especially in the young generation. However, it still remains in some cases.

In addition, it is quite common that most Vietnamese employees think that they have the obligation to respect people who have a higher position or are older than them.

Managing a team

Getting to know your team as much as possible is the initial thing in any organization. As we mentioned above, creating a semi-professional to connect the team will be effective. While the male normally is willing to go for beers, the female coworkers generally prefer not to. It could be a good idea to go to cafes or for dinners after working hours.

In general, the Vietnamese won’t express themselves clearly in the first meeting. One way to quickly break the ice is to talk to the team humorously and positively. Through the going-out days, you will be able to observe and understand the team’s habits, characteristics, attitudes, and preferences. With that insight, it is much easier to get through to the team. Encourage your team to take action, give them a sense of responsibility and complimenting them are other ways of forming a successful work relationship. In an interview on Vietnam news, foreign managers have commented that they found their Vietnamese teams to be hardworking, show interest in their work and pay attention to their duties.

How can HR4C help?

You probably need more local insight beyond all the mentioned cultures if you want to make your business thrive in Vietnam. When you first expand your business here, many human conflicts can occur because of cultural differences.

HR4C can solve this problem from the initial steps since your corporate needs to build a team. In particular, we will assist you to select the most matching candidate and retain the relationship beyond the hiring process.

With the long-term support from HR4C, you can get rid of job-hopping or human conflict because of unnecessary reasons.

Ready to build the strongest team?

Let’s work together!

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