We all dream about traveling and settling abroad with a new job and family. Well, if you have a similar plan to do business in Cambodia away from your native land, this blog is the right guide for you. As foreigners, a new business culture can be very challenging, especially if there is a complete shift from an American atmosphere to an Asian. It can be the language, the rules, or even the culture. So, to reduce your stress and help you get familiar with Cambodian culture, this blog is filled with all the tips and tricks regarding work culture in Cambodia that will help you slay in your business meetings. If you are interested, let’s get started.
Work In Cambodia
Before we head on to the rules of Cambodian society regarding business culture, let us find out how to apply for a job as a foreigner.
The first and most important thing is that you need to have an E-class visa. It is also called a business visa which has a validity of 30 days. Along with the visa, obtaining a work permit, an employment card, or a business card from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training is also necessary.
Finding work in Cambodia is relatively easy. Especially if you are willing to do jobs with a flexible mind, there are hundreds of opportunities that you can grab with minimum qualifications. Some of the most popular job sitings are camHR, Bong Thom, etc. Even English newspapers have open job offers, and if you are a native English speaker, you can easily find a job there.
Talking about different jobs, some of Cambodia’s most commonly offered positions are Revenue Management Lead, IT Helpdesk and Developer, Legal assistant, Admin officer, Content writer, Support Engineer, and many more. The minimum salary you can earn in Cambodia is around 192 US dollars, which is sufficient. Especially when Cambodia is a cheaper country, you will be good with such a rate.
All in all, Cambodia is a great place to find job opportunities. Foreign experience is highly valued, and with the average qualification, you will find jobs that wouldn’t have been possible at home. Moreover, Cambodia ranked top among the world’s friendliest countries, giving you a good headstart.
Work Culture In Cambodia
Every country has its unique work environment. So, here is a simple yet efficient guide on workplace etiquette and rules of Cambodia that will help you build strong personal relationships and business partnerships.
The regular working hours in Cambodia are usually eight hours a day (8 am to 5 pm) and 48 hours a week. Every employee is expected to work at least the minimum hours every day. If there is a need, employees are sometimes required to work overtime. However, overtime can be at most 10 hours a day. And also, the decision relies on whether the employee wants to work overtime.
It is essential to realize that, unlike American states, most Asian countries have business people working overtime for different reasons on a typical day. There is always a given time, but most people always end up working more hours. So, it is better to be prepared.
There are usually two types of contracts in the Cambodian workplace environment. The first contract is the Fixed Duration Contract (FDC) which is an agreement for a fixed period of up to two years. It is extendable under the arrangement of the employer and the employee. The other contract is the Undetermined Duration Contract (UDC). It does not have a fixed date and depends on the type of work you do and your results. Both contracts have different termination policies depending on the number of months or years of work you have done.
One of the most critical factors about working in Cambodia is the language. Cambodians usually prefer their native language, which is Khmer. Although the people are well acquainted with the English language in the capital, most people use Khmer, the country’s official language, to converse and engage in small talk. So, knowing some essential Khmer words and greeting phrases will help you make relations with the locals. Also, familiarity with the language will help you easily communicate with your business partners as they are most comfortable with the native terms.
Check out the Business vocabulary in Khmer for an efficient guide in the language.
Another essential point you must take note of is the dress code of the Cambodian work society. Usually, the dress code is formal. Men are expected to wear formal suits, and women should wear dresses, pants, and shirts that cover their shoulders and knees. Revealing clothes are highly frowned upon in Cambodia, not just in business culture but even in a normal environment. The country is still conservative in nature, and thus, you should be very careful while wearing clothes. If you want to avoid negative feedback, always cover as much skin as possible. That is the standard rule for women when it comes to clothing.
Always greet people. Cambodians greet each other first thing when they meet as a sign of respect and friendliness. While handshakes are common in the business world, you can also follow their traditional greeting style, where they bow slightly while bringing their palms together in a praying position. Greeting a person paves an easy way for cordiality and also improves your personality impression.
Hierarchy In Cambodian Culture
Cambodians follow a specific hierarchy in their business world. The highest-ranking person is always expected to introduce themselves first. It would help if you introduced people in your group or team following the rank hierarchy. This allows the Cambodian counterpart to make sense of the group’s dynamics and understand the rank differences. Even when it comes to meetings and other discussions, the highest-ranking person will always dictate and argue first, keeping the meeting flow in the line. The duration of a session also lies in the hands of the senior person.
Cambodian business culture holds multiple meetings throughout to discuss different ideas and plans. Every time before meetings, small talk is appreciated, and everyone engages in other conversations to create mutual trust. Meetings tend to follow a flexible schedule. There is no fixed routine or agenda that the meeting is supposed to focus on. They are called for at different times, and an ongoing session ends only when the boss suggests or the attendees feel that all the factors have been discussed and debated.
One of the essential rules is to handle your business card with care. In Cambodia, people believe the way one holds their card reflects how they will treat the giver of the card. So, it is a hallmark of a bonding relationship handled with proper care. Moreover, you should always receive or offer a business card with your right hand or both hands. Never disrespect such rules if you do not want to get kicked out of your cubicle on the first day. These are some essential factors to keep in mind.
Punctuality In Business Culture
If you want to impress your boss and get promotions, you must remember punctuality. Being punctual is very important in Khmer culture. Arriving late shows your indifferent and disrespectful nature towards the person you are meeting with. Punctuality is also believed to show your dedication and hard work towards the work and business development. So, if you arrive late, you will only bring in negative remarks and drop your chances of being promoted to a better position. So, if you have lazy behavior or a messed up sleep schedule, fix it while you still have time.
While you must belong to a free country where you can face your ideas and disagreements without worries, in Cambodia, you must not criticize or embarrass someone and cause yourself to lose face. Always try to preserve your face by avoiding aggressive clashes and demanding approaches. To avoid conflict, you must be aware of this rule. Even if there is disagreement in your mind, try to remain silent and put forth your idea when it is time through the correct method. Be peaceful and calm, as Cambodia is known as a country of smiles and kind souls. Also, try to avoid prolonged eye contact as well. It can cause uneasiness for others.
If you like holidays, Cambodia is the right place for you. It has the highest number of public holidays among all the Asian countries. If you get a holiday for Thursday and Tuesday, you might get lucky and get a holiday for Monday or Friday. Usually, one-day or three-day-long holidays come up every other week or month. So, Cambodia is an exciting city to work in, where you will get the right work atmosphere and a proper vacation.
Over To You!
Cambodia is a country full of kind people who love to share, smile, and love. So, when it comes to settling in Cambodia, there is no doubt you will blend in easily with the locals and experience a wonderful life. However, concerning business and etiquette, the above points are a few things that you must keep in mind to improve relations. Besides that, you will surely enjoy your stay in the beautiful country.
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