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Understanding Vietnam Workforce and Tips to Work with them

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Vietnam.

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Understanding Vietnam Workforce and Tips to Work with them

Post Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:31 pm

Cooperation among different people from different cultures may cause small-to-serious misunderstanding.How are you sure to understand labors from Vietnam? Here specifies some sure-fire tips that foreign employers should know for developing good labor relations with Vietnamese workers.

Saving face: It is very important for Vietnamese to save face. Being criticized in front of others might drive an employee to resign. Similarly, losing your temper or shouting may cause you to lose ‘face’ and is deemed a demonstration of less maturity.

Meaning of ‘yes’: nodding affirmatively, smiling or saying “yes” often means “I have heard you”, but it doesn’t always mean “I understand” or “I agree”. If you are uncertain, politely ask the worker to repeat what they have agreed to do, so there won’t be misunderstanding.

Hesitant to say ‘No’: Like many Asians, the Vietnamese will try to avoid conflicts and direct confrontation. They prefer harmonize personal interactions instead of discarding. A negative answer or direct refusal is regarded impolite, crude. Being reluctant to say ‘No’ often leads the employers to think there’s agreement among their Vietnam workforce. From a Vietnamese perfectible, this isn’t deemed untruthful; it simply refers to maintaining a harmonious relationship and saving face.

Indirectness: For saving mutual face and maintaining harmony, the Vietnamese, instead of hitting to the point, often beat around the bush when it comes to the negative issues. The listener has to perceive the hidden meaning rather than what is directly stated. When employees have complaints, they would rather avoid face-to-face talks with the managers. They tend to confide in team leaders, peers or make written anonymous complaints to management via Suggestion Boxes.

Greeting Culture: The Vietnamese are sincere about the greetings, and will feel slighted when they aren’t greeted. Forms of greetings in Vietnam aside from saying ‘hello’ can be a smile, a nod, a hand shake, or a question ‘Is everything ok?’, ‘where are you going’. The different forms are associated with different levels of intimacy, social position.

In greeting, Vietnamese always says “hello”, smiles and shakes hand

Informal vs. Formal talks: Vietnamese people consider informal talks more important than formal meetings as they tend to develop trust and voice their ideas during the small talks. In the official meetings, no one tends to disagree with their boss.

Frequent communication: Just like cementing good relationship with your friends, family, relationship fostering in Vietnam is largely related to frequent communication. In case of foreign managers, talking frequently to Vietnamese workers will help you see them better, faster and get rid of risks for uncertainty, misunderstanding and suspicion at the working place.

Private questions: The Vietnamese often ask about age, marital status at the first meeting to help understanding the terms of relationship. Meaning of the pronoun ‘you’ is different relying on age, gender, etc.


Re: Understanding Vietnam Workforce and Tips to Work with them

Post Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:30 am

Excellent summary, thanks so much.


Re: Understanding Vietnam Workforce and Tips to Work with th

Post Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:38 pm

You're welcome. I'm glad you find it useful


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