Work Culture of Bolivia: What to Know Before Outsourcing

Bolivia offers many great opportunities for businesses that wish to outsource. Although the infrastructure is different from what is seen in North America, the quality of education and training is excellent. As many benefits as there are, it is important to note the challenges for those who wish to operate in Bolivia. An understanding of Bolivian culture is imperative, to decide if the fit is right.

Bolivian culture is similar to American culture on several different levels. In particular, a majority of the population is Catholic, both cultures sharing similar holidays. Additionally, most media in Bolivia is in English. You are likely to see the same television shows and listen to the same music in both countries. However, there are clear differences that you will want to be aware of.

Although the population is primarily Catholic, there are many indigenous celebrations that are commonly recognized. The festivals that do take place often depend on the region, so days off of work will vary. An example would be Alasitas, which is the Festival of Abundance, and this celebration occurs in different locations at different times of the year. Given the variety of Bolivian celebrations, a company should investigate the region of their outsourcing post, to get a better idea of what is recognized.

A company in Bolivia is incredibly family oriented. Rather than change jobs based on income, people do so in search of different opportunities. Even so, it is difficult for a company when someone who is considered to be family leaves. When you sign up to outsource with a company in Bolivia, they expect you to be in it for the long term.

The workday varies as well. Rather than work the eight–to-five shift with little break in between, most of Bolivian companies offer two hours for lunch. Although some work continues during the lunch break, it is not common for an individual to begin work in the morning and working straight through the day, ending his or her day at five. You need to have the right expectations, knowing that there is no set end to your workday. Which at the end of the day could be convenient for the outsourcing because typically the engineers would work up to 7 pm providing more support for clients in the west cost which are 3 hours ahead of Bolivian time zone.

There is also the challenge of actually getting to Bolivia. Many outsourcing partners wish to visit one or two times a year. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to specific cities within Bolivia. In order to flight to Bolivia from the United States and Canada it’s required to stop in Miami first and board your connection there to Bolivia and depending your final destination it might be required to take other connections. So if you are considering multiple visits throughout the year, this is something to keep in mind. Nonetheless, a bit of travel might be worth Bolivia’s outsourcing capabilities. It is still much closer than other common locations for outsourcing, such as India.

Bolivia also has certain laws that you want to pay attention to. Many businesses may decide to open their own outsourcing location instead of working with a firm that is already established. If you are considering this option, you, as the owner of a business in Bolivia, are required to pay 13 salaries per year, one for each month and two for December, the 13th salary is known as “Aguinaldo”. You must provide employees with medical insurance, a retirement plan as well as benefits if someone quits the company. The government enforces all of these benefits that are targeted to employees directly. For example, if an employee worked for five years, at their departure, TRUEXTEND would pay the equivalent of five salaries. The aforementioned are just a few examples of the complicated government demands. Fortunately for those desiring to outsource, you are partnering with someone who is already established in Bolivia as TRUEXTEND. Although this government policies look complicated they have direct benefits to employees who are typically looking for work on a stable company and develop a career over there. TRUEXTEND offers to their employees working conditions that are far above the average allowing them to have excellent living conditions for them and their families.

One of the most critical aspects of outsourcing is to know and respect the culture you are working with. With a stable government, expanding opportunities and a culture similar to our own, Bolivia is a great location. The Bolivian culture has many unique points, but it is all with the goal of promoting success.