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Business in
A Multi-culti
Country

Cultural Differences When Employing Dutch Staff

Your Dutch business is growing and work is piling up. It’s time to get someone on board! How do you go about this and what can you expect from hiring a Dutch employee?

 

We’ve listed some issues to take into account when employing Dutch Staff. Even though the cultural differences might differ slightly between different cultures, the cultural differences mentioned below might be helpful for any foreign entrepreneur.


The Dutch people are generally very accepting of foreign cultures. This is mainly due to The Netherlands housing many different cultures all throughout the country. This does not mean there is no Dutch Culture.

 

The First Encounter in Person

Meeting etiquette is often underestimated when first meeting a foreigner. The Dutch might go about this differently then what might seem ‘normal’ to you. Here’s a shortlist of Dutch business etiquette:

  • They will give you a firm handshake,

  • and will probably look you deeply in the eye.

  • They’ll introduce themselves shortly and hand out business cards if available.

  • They’ll probably get to the point of the meeting quite quickly and will limit the social talk to a minimum.

Cut the ‘Chit Chat’

As mentioned above, from a business perspective The Dutch are very structured and focused on getting the job done. This means we are hard workers and very focused, but this also means they sometimes limit social talks. But don’t worry: it’s not that they don’t like you as a person, they’re just focused to get the job done!

To The Point

The Dutch directness is well-known in many other cultures and sometimes can come as a bit of a shock to some people. The Dutch are quite to the point and are - according to the stereotype - rather upfront about their feelings and opinions. This means they can come across to be less sensitive to other’s people's feelings, however, they most probably don’t mean it like that.

 

When recruiting Dutch staff, there is also a certain amount of directness one can expect. Especially when you are at an advanced stage with an applicant, it’s likely they will pose direct questions and require immediate or fast answers. So be prepared to give some answers or otherwise make sure you tell the applicant when they can expect you to give them! The Dutch will expect you to manage their expectations!
 

Keeping It Simple

Apart from communicating in a very direct way, the Dutch are also known for the simplicity with which they communicate. There is little room for diplomacy or complicated jargon, because that would only complicate things in their eyes which would result in miscommunication. So if you keep it simple and straightforward, they will probably enjoy working with you!

In General Agreement

It is very important to the Dutch to get a consensus on certain matters or in discussions. This means they will often ask for your opinion and will also give you theirs (even if you hadn’t asked for it). A Dutch meeting is usually focused on getting consensus on a certain matter and is successful in their eyes when everyone has given their opinion and a decision on the matter has been made.

 

When hiring someone it is important that you are aware of this and make sure you structure your business meetings like this as well. The way to do this is to first evaluate the matter, then brainstorm for a solution, reach consensus on how to improve it and next get back to work and get the job done!

INCO Business Toolkit

YOUR BUSINESS TOOLKIT

FREE ACCESS TO ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Our experts have combined their knowledge and strengths to create a tool we call the Business Toolkit. 

The Business Toolkit will help you and entrepreneurs from around the globe to truly understand the Dutch market, regulations and laws. And will enable you to take a deep-dive into the topics displayed below. 

This way you will easily get up to speed with our Company formation process, Dutch Tax & Accounting and our corporate services. 

Make sure to check out our handy checklists, explainer video's and extensively written Whitepapers too!