The average working week in Croatia is of 40 hours, spread out over five or six days per week.
Business hours for banks are 8am to 7pm from Monday to Friday and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays. Commercial offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday.
The minimum annual leave in Croatia is of 18 days, people under 18 years old are entitled to 24 days. Traditionally, Croats take long holidays in July and August, although this is changing as more international firms establish branches in Croatia.
Most managers and directors in Croatia are familiar with the Western way of doing business, and young Croats are fluent in English and adapt easily. However, there is still a class of elder managers who learnt their trade during the Communist era.
When introducing yourself, use both first and last name and shake hands. Exchanging business cards is usually the next step. As in Western meetings, you are expected to address senior staff in a formal manner, using last names and titles rather than first names.
Croatians often gesture when they talk, but these signs have little set meanings. You are therefore unlikely to offend anyone by gesticulating.
The dress code is formal as Croatian business people wear suits to meetings. You should dress well, as it shows your counterparts that you value the chance to meet them.
Lunch and dinner meetings are common, but they are used to cement good relations rather than go into fineprint. The person who proposes the meeting is normally expected to pay the bill.
Croatian negotiation styles vary from person to person depending on their age and their international experience.
To be successful in negotiating, you should communicate clearly and carefully. Be sure that the terms you use are understood by everyone. You should always be very well prepared for a first meeting as technicalities and prices are very often discussed right away. You should therefore be ready to talk about the collaboration terms.
Croats tend to avoid giving out information about turnover, competition, or their share of the market, until they meet you in person. Exporters are normally expected to share the costs of promotional campaigns when entering the Croatian market.