Slovenians consider themselves as professionals, which mean they are trustworthy, determined and straight forward. They are asking the same from their partners. They are very well educated, many of them holding master degrees in prestigious universities abroad. Hey are aware of the benefit of a partnership with a foreign company, but you should convince them about the benefits your proposal brings in.
Corporate social responsibility
The Slovenian Environment Agency is a department of the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning that is responsible for monitoring the environment and enforcing environmental protection and conservation measures. Slovenia has taken a two-phased approach to environmental protection by levying fines and penalties on companies polluting the environment, while providing initiatives to encourage the adoption of new technologies and processes that are more environmentally-friendly. A lot of government funds have been invested to upgrade the public transportation infrastructure, improve the quality of waste and water treatment, and provide recycling points on every street for glass, plastic and metal collection.
Due to legislative and educational changes, people are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of a cleaner environment and more sympathetic to environmental conservation.
Slovenia is now an environmentally-aware country and has signed a number of international agreements for the protection of the environment: Air Pollution, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Hazardous Wastes, Climate Change, Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, etc.
Slovenian businessmen are very punctual and hate waiting for participants to arrive at a meeting. Being late shows a marked lack of respect and complete disinterest in the matters to be discussed. If a potential business partner cannot arrive on time to a meeting, then it is unlikely that a business relationship will be taken seriously.
Generally, it is not common practice to give gifts at a first meeting. However, a little souvenir would be acceptable, such as a country guide, a bottle of wine, or some type of branded corporate gift.
Gifts are usually given at the end of a meeting, as opposed to when you arrive and it is advisable to bring inexpensive presents, so that your host is not put in a difficult position. Most companies have a ceiling on the value of a gift that can be accepted, whereby an expensive present would have to be reported to senior management or refused, due to anti-bribery and corruption policies.
Business dress code
The Slovenian business community considers appearance important and Slovenians tend to spend a lot on designer clothing and jewellery, as the ability to dress well is an expression of social status, affluence and personal success. The way Slovenians dress is also a demonstration of individual style and personal taste.
However, you should choose conservative business attire and avoid bright colours when attending a business meeting, if you want to be taken seriously. For men, a dark coloured suit or jacket and trousers with tie is appropriate business wear, and women should wear something similarly formal and avoid anything that might be considered provocative.
Companies usually have some form of dress code, with larger companies adopting a more formal style and smaller companies preferring their employees to dress in a more business casual style.
Bribery and corruption
Bribery and corruption are present in Slovenia, in both private and public institutions. Both foreign and local business people may sometimes use bribery as a business tool to secure contracts or cut through bureaucratic red tape, when trying to get government contracts or even start a new business.
Slovenia ranks 37th in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2012), which charts levels of corruption in 176 countries, and is therefore one of the least corrupt countries in the world: