Danish business cultureThe do’s and don’ts of Danish business culture are straightforward. In this country where quality and modesty are some of the most important values, never brag or oversell yourself, or act as if you are more important than any member of the team.

One of the most important of the Danish business culture do’s and don’ts is “do not make any promise you cannot keep.” Trustworthiness is key to Danish culture and Danish business culture.

Your new hire is rather silent in meetings and seems a little afraid to speak his mind. He seems to wait for instructions instead of jumping into the job and proactively finding ways to add value to the team and move your projects forward. He rarely challenges you, his manager, and seems overly concerned with getting approval for every step of the project.

Did you hire the wrong person?

No, you’ve simply made the #1 mistake Danish managers make working with international talent. You are expecting your newcomer to act like a Dane.

My “How to Work in Denmark” corporate workshops are active and creative. We talk about how to work together better across cultures….and then examine and reinforce those messages with reflection groups and improv exercises.

People interested in coming to Denmark for work often ask, “Do you have to learn Danish to work in Denmark?”

The answer is no – in some cases. If you are an IT specialist or an engineer, finding an all-English speaking environment in Denmark won’t be difficult. Danish companies that specialize in technology, gaming, architecture, or infrastructure generally have customers and employees from all over the world, and they do business in English.

In addition, many of Denmark’s largest employers, like Maersk and Novo Nordisk, have English as their corporate language.

Working in Copenhagen is a dream for many people – the Danish capital is often described as one of the best places in the world to live and work.

Assuming you’ve arranged for a working visa, here are five things to remember if you’re planning to move to Copenhagen for work.

Danes sometimes need to reach out and help international employees understand the unwritten rules of Danish working culture.

Many Danish managers are surprised to discover the unwritten and unspoken rules they have been expecting the newcomers to follow, without really explaining them.

In my book, “How to Work in Denmark: Tips for Finding a Job, Succeeding at Work, and Understanding your Danish Boss,” I explain how international employees can fit into the Danish workplace.

While outsiders sometimes see the three Scandinavian cultures as “pretty much alike”, there are significant differences when it comes to working styles.

Working with a Danish boss can be a shock for Swedes, with their extreme need for consensus and passion for sticking to whatever has been agreed on by the group.

The Danes’ more free-form, flexible approach can take Swedes by surprise, as can the Danes’ directness and sometimes lack of political correctness.

Here are a few tips for Swedes (or anyone else!) working with a Danish boss.

Denmark’s workplace culture reflects the flat hierarchy and egalitarianism Danes value so highly. In practice, this can mean skipping over several layers of management to speak directly to the big boss. This is often not well-received by their counterparts in other business cultures.

Americans and Danes both enjoy a good business deal, but there are significant differences between US business culture vs Danish business culture.

The most significant difference is the importance of trust in Danish culture and business culture.

As a small country where people generally know each other, it’s easy for the Danes to trust each other, and in business terms this means less monitoring and less record-keeping. Lawsuits and litigation is much less common in Denmark than they are in the US, so Danes spend less time documenting their activities in case of a lawsuit.

Many Americans ask if it’s possible to move to Denmark from the USA. The answer is: yes, it’s possible, but it isn’t easy. When it comes to immigration, Denmark favors immigrants who will be able to work, pay taxes, and help maintain the welfare state. If you are over retirement age or unable to work for some other reason, it could be difficult to move to Denmark.