Poor communication, inconsistencies make working for Vietnamese employer a pain

November 22, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
Poor communication, inconsistencies make working for Vietnamese employer a pain
Workers inside an office in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Jimmy Tran
What are the biggest challenges of working for a Vietnamese company? VnExpress International readers provide some insights.

"For me it's the lack of direct feedback. Vietnamese people don't tend to give feedback directly, they communicate indirectly. So if you're from culture where people are saying exactly what they mean, the communication of Vietnamese people can be misunderstood by you.

For example, once my client told me something like: ‘Everything is good, but maybe it would be just better if...’ For me, for a person from Czech Republic, it's just a friendly suggestion, nothing too important. But he actually meant: ‘Do it like that.’ It wasn't a friendly suggestion, it was more like an order.

This is related to so called high-context and low-context cultures. People from low-context culture communicate directly (USA, big part of Europe), people from high-context culture indirectly (Vietnam, Japan, etc) and you need to be aware of the context of the situation to really understand what someone means. When they talk together, it can cause misunderstandings."
Matěj Malý

"One common challenge is defining clear boundaries of when working hours are and expectations of commitment to the company.

A lot of foreigners are accustomed to set work hours, planning far ahead, and being allocated suitable time to meet quality objectives for projects and events.

Working at a Vietnamese company, there's this expectation that employees should be willing to compromise their time outside of work if the boss demands it."
Erin Michelle Greener

"The biggest challenges of working for a Vietnamese company is miscommunication. They often say something then change it last minute. I come from a culture where if you were told to do something, you do it with purpose and in the most effective way. But, working here, that has been a big challenge and transition because I am called to be flexible in every aspect.

The adjustment process is still difficult even though I’ve been here for 5 years. Culture differences make it so hard to adapt when your goal as a person is to work with efficiency and give value to everything that you do.

One thing that is a game-changer for me is that Vietnamese companies like to run their companies a certain way. They ask for people’s (experts’) opinion, but if it doesn’t go with their culture or it goes against what they believe, even though the suggestion is based on facts and actual research, they don’t take it. Worst, they let people go if they don’t agree with you.

I think the bottom line is that one thing that is a common challenge is the way they communicate things that usually leads to disagreements and employees not trusting the company and leaves."
Daughter of the King

"The disorganization, complete lack of professionalism and how the law never seems to protect the employees, especially westerners."
Toby Pullen

"Very traditional ways of working like clothes, very strong routine, check by finger when you start and finish work at specific time, very strong hierarchy.

In big Vietnamese companies, bosses are very manly and like to have hot girls around them some even hire based on physical aspect only. Lots of dramas, a lot of them. All that for pretty low salaries, at least not that high.

To sum up, I think it’s pretty boring and it is not good for people who want to try things and learn new things along their job. That’s why I see pretty high turn-over in Vietnam."
Lucas Lenoir

"Lack of coordination, procrastination, inability to voice out concerns in fear of being terminated, doesn’t provide proper benefits, and the ideology of IGNORE IT UNTIL IT GOES AWAY (basically dismissing any valid points because people don’t want to admit they are wrong - full of pride)."
Mark Mendoza

"One frustrating aspect is what I perceive as a real lack of implementation strategies. Decisions are made very quickly, people are told what the new direction is and we start tomorrow. Training is often a simple "telling". No real process to bring about the desired change. I have seen this repeatedly over 5-6 years.

Another is simply being foreign. We can look at and talk about the same event or topic, even use the same words to describe it, but we see it from totally different perspectives. Sometimes this is interesting, sometimes frustrating.

I am also used to a very direct culture when it comes to communication. Sometimes I need to almost beg for a straight forward answer... Or ask enough questions around the topic to deduce the answer myself."

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
go to top