Ukraine Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

In Ukraine, it is necessary to take into account that business negotiations usually take a long time, and that Ukrainian partners want to get to know their Czech colleagues well before more significant business agreements are concluded. This presupposes work trips to Ukraine and direct negotiations with partners. The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kyiv, the PaulTrade Office in Kyiv, the agricultural expert at the embassy and also the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Lviv provide useful background for Czech entrepreneurs in Ukraine. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Ukraine culture and traditions.

Addressing

In Ukraine, the first name and patronymic are used when addressing people orally (Ukrainian, Russian). In written form, the first name and patronymic are also used, in official written correspondence with representatives of large companies and state administration, it is used when addressing the position (Dear Mr. General Director, etc.).

Business meeting

Business negotiations are negotiated in advance, usually by phone, e-mail, and in some cases by letter. Meetings are organized from 10.00 mostly in the office. Lunch is usually between 13:00 and 14:30 (approx. 1-hours). Afternoon meetings are organized from approx. 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. As part of more important negotiations, Czech partners may be invited to dinner (usually from 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.) with the assumption that formal clothing (suit, dress) is expected for the dinner. Business cards are exchanged during the meeting (often some of the participants do not have them…). With part of the business community in Ukraine, it is necessary to take into account the culture of toasts. Gifts are not given during introductory meetings.

Regarding the timing of meetings, it can be stated that working meetings are organized throughout the year, with the exception of holidays and days in close proximity to them. These are the beginning of the year (between 1 and 8 January), International Women’s Day (8 March), Easter (the date changes every year), the beginning of May (1 and 9 May) and other holidays such as is the Day of the Constitution of Ukraine (June 28), the Independence Day of Ukraine (August 24) and the Defenders of Ukraine Day (October 14). It is more difficult to organize working meetings during the holidays (July and August), when many employees, including company management, are also on vacation.

The negotiations themselves take place similarly to the Czech Republic. The simultaneous use of private e-mail addresses such as ukr.net or gmail.com can be surprising. Communication via Viber is also widespread, less so via WhatsApp.

  • PaulSourcing: Tips and recommendations for doing business with Ukraine. Also includes country basic data and information for entering the its market.

During the first meeting, the Ukrainian partners want to get to know each other. They are rather more reserved, in the case of knowledge of the Czech Republic, they will communicate this fact with the aim of creating a more positive atmosphere (e.g. they were in Karlovy Vary). Personal communication is important to them at all stages of cooperation negotiations, they often have good education and knowledge.

In Ukraine, a delay of about 10-15 minutes in the start of a working meeting is usually tolerated (in Kyiv, you can often encounter delays in the arrival of Ukrainian partners citing traffic jams). The negotiations themselves last approximately 1-hours, technical negotiations can last longer.

Regarding the issue of territorial differences in business negotiations, it can be stated that they are defined by a greater concentration of large enterprises in the east of Ukraine (more formal negotiations, adherence to hierarchy) and a larger number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the western part of Ukraine (greater flexibility and speed of negotiations). During meetings in smaller cities, foreign delegations are given more focused attention, often including an evening program (working dinner, cultural program).

During business meetings, alcohol is offered only as part of the social part of the meeting (usually a working dinner). Here it is necessary to be prepared for the “culture” of toasts.

Formal clothing (suit, dress) is expected at business meetings. This also applies to official working dinners. Regarding the composition of the ideal negotiating team, it can be stated that it always depends on the given working meeting and its focus. A manager with decision-making authority (in the case of smaller companies it is often the owner of the company) and possibly other experts should be present at the initial meeting. The participation of relevant experts and technicians is expected at further technical meetings.

In Ukraine, it is not quite customary to invite a business partner home. However, you can, for example, be invited to a shashlik or fish after the negotiations (especially during negotiations with smaller and medium-sized companies).

Communication

Regarding the language equipment, it can be stated that an interpreter is not needed at the level of standard meetings, company representatives have the ability to communicate in Ukrainian or Russian. As part of the official conclusion of contracts with representatives of large companies, the use of interpretation is possible. Ukrainian businessmen speak Ukrainian and Russian, in some sectors (e.g. IT) English is widespread.

Negotiations with local businessmen are similar to those in the Czech Republic, during business negotiations it is not recommended to discuss some sensitive topics such as Russian-Ukrainian relations, the situation in the east of Ukraine, religious issues, etc.

It is possible to communicate with partners in Ukraine by e-mail, telephone, etc., but it is important to maintain personal contact with Ukrainian partners, i.e. to personally travel to Ukraine for meetings and participate in other relevant events (e.g. fairs).

Recommendation

Entrepreneurs who are planning to visit Ukraine are first recommended to familiarize themselves with the basic documents for the territory (Uniform Territorial Information, Map of Strategic Opportunities, etc.). In the next phase, it is advisable to contact the embassy and also the PaulTrade office (information on the current situation in the territory, the possibility of finding partners, market research, etc.). It is also necessary to make an internal idea in the company about the expected entry into the Ukrainian market (including financial costs, the issue of setting up a representative office, participation in fairs, marketing of the given goods, etc.).

Public Holidays

Public Holidays

January 1: New Year

January 7: Christmas holidays

March 8: International Women’s Day

May 1: Labor Day

April 24: (the date changes every year): Easter

May 9: Victory Day

June 28: Constitution Day of Ukraine

August 24: Independence Day of Ukraine

October 14: Defender of Ukraine Day

Ukraine also has a number of church holidays. As a rule, if one of the holidays falls on a weekend, the time off is usually compensated on the next working day.

Ukraine Culture of Business