Not only that, but Greece is also becoming an international talent hub thanks to the recent introduction of the digital nomad visa, which has transformed it into one of the most attractive digital nomad destinations in Europe.
Understanding Greek culture is important when hiring Greek employees because candidates want to join a company whose values align with theirs.
It can also benefit your business since Greek culture places a strong emphasis on family, community, and tradition. This can translate into qualities such as loyalty, teamwork, a strong work ethic, and a healthy work-life balance.
Let’s take a look at ten uniquely Greek qualities that a Greek team member can bring to your company.
Greece has a rich history of philosophy that stretches back millennia and is regarded as the birthplace of Western philosophy, with famous philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle still influencing philosophical thought to this day.
Moreover, ancient Greek philosophy laid the groundwork for the early development of sciences such as astronomy, mathematics, physics, and biology. For example, Plato considered mathematics an abstract concept, whereas Aristotle considered it a way of viewing the physical world.
While you might not be hiring the next Plato to join your remote team, this rich history of philosophy runs deep in the veins of the Greek people — which may make for some fascinating conversations on Slack!
Greece has a rich artistic and architectural history and is littered with ancient ruins and iconic buildings like the Parthenon on the Acropolis. The enormous temple is widely viewed as the pinnacle of ancient Greek architecture, distinguished by its highly formalized characteristics — think imposing columns, marble statues, and simplistic elegance.
More recent architectural achievements in Greece include the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Athens. These high-profile projects highlight the continued commitment of Greek architects to design innovation that honors their cultural heritage.
Like its philosophy, ancient Greek art — ranging from paintings and sculptures to literature, poetry, and theater, still influences the artists of today.
If you run an architecture firm, Greece could be the place to search for your next talented team member. And even if you don’t, the Greek sensibility for art and architecture can make a great addition to any global team.
Ancient Greece is responsible for giving us democracy. The Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms known as demokratia, or “rule by the people,” in 507 B.C. (from demos, “the people,” and kratos, “power”). The principle became fundamental to Greek civilization and gave us the basis for Western civilization as we know it.
Democracy is, therefore, a fundamental value in modern Greek society — and one that extends to the workplace. Greek team members will likely value participation in decision-making, workplace representation, and initiatives that foster employee empowerment.
In Greek culture, family is of the utmost importance, with strong bonds between relatives and a focus on caring for elderly family members. While caring for family is common in other cultures, the concept of philotimo is unique to Greek culture.
It’s one of those untranslatable words that lacks an exact equivalent in English but loosely translates as “love for the other.” It describes a way of life that shows you respect others and honor them through your actions — a concept that still underpins Greek social relations to this day.
In addition to caring for family, Greeks are known for their warm, welcoming, and hospitable demeanor, and treating guests like family is the norm. This comes from philoxenia, the ancient word at the root of Greek hospitality that literally translates as “friend to a stranger.” If you’ve ever been gifted feta cheese, tomatoes, or olive oil while visiting Greece, you’ve experienced philoxenia.
Bringing Greek talent into your team will, therefore, likely infuse it with the loving, friendly, and hospitable spirit of the Greek people. In return, your Greek employees may expect the company to reciprocate these values.
Greek cuisine is celebrated around the world for its fresh, high-quality ingredients, delicious flavors, and balanced approach to eating. Greek people eat a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, using fresh and local ingredients.
From spinach-filled pastries like spanakopita to the world-famous Greek salad, Greek cuisine has something for everyone and is even vegetarian-friendly. Plus, each region has its own specialties — for example, Cretan cuisine is known for its use of herbs, while the Peloponnese is famous for its hearty stews and soups.
Also, Greece has over 200 indigenous grape varietals. Because it is the only country that uses these grapes, it produces wines that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. When hiring remote workers in Greece, rest assured that they’ll bring the best snacks to your face-to-face meetings.
The Greek language has a rich history and is probably the oldest language still widely spoken today, dating from around 1450 BCE. Greek thought has permeated Western culture through the language, and we still use many Greek-derived words in English today — including alphabet, biology, geography, anatomy, economy, astronomy, and idiom.
Speaking of idioms, we even use idioms derived from Greek antiquity today, including “Achilles’ heel,” “Midas touch,” and the slightly more surprising “crocodile tears.”
Hiring native Greek speakers is a great idea if you do business with Greek companies or hope to expand into the Greek market. Their language skills and local knowledge can help you identify and build relationships with potential partners and clients.
Ancient Greek mythology consisted of stories of the gods of Mount Olympus and their ancient escapades. Like many aspects of Greek culture, stories of the gods and heroes are woven into daily life and art and continue to influence the psyche (another Greek-derived word!) of both Greek and Western culture today.
Nowadays, the Greek Orthodox Church and its religious festivals — of which Easter is the most important — shape much of Greek daily life, and 75% of Greeks believe that being Orthodox is at least somewhat important to being truly Greek.
While many Greeks perceive tensions between their Orthodox values and Western culture, their differing perspectives can provide valuable insights for your business that you might not have otherwise considered.
Greece has rich customs, festivals, celebrations, and traditions that have been passed down through generations and are ingrained in Greek culture. These traditions connect Greek people to their past while strengthening community ties and acting as an outlet for artistic expression.
Examples of Greek folk traditions include pottery, embroidery, weaving, and traditional costumes that are still worn on special occasions, such as weddings and festivals.
While you might not ask your Greek employees to perform a traditional dance at the team meeting, their folk heritage may make them more predisposed to participation, team building, creativity, and innovation.
Plus, if you’re looking to expand your operations in Greece, team members who are familiar with folk traditions may be able to help you understand local customs and build relationships with customers and suppliers.
Greek people have many superstitions and beliefs about good and bad luck that have been passed down through the generations. Many of these beliefs are shared throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia, such as the “Mati,” or evil eye, which is believed to fall on someone when others are jealous of their good fortune.
In Greece, spitting is believed to keep the evil eye at bay — but rather than projecting saliva, they say, “Ftou, ftou, ftou!” The phrase must be repeated three times in order to be effective.
While younger generations do not believe the superstitions as strongly as their elders, they still form an important part of the country’s cultural identity. Insider knowledge of these superstitions can also help prevent you from committing any social faux pas during business trips to Greece.
If you think of a traditional Greek activity, there’s a good chance you picture singing, dancing, and smashing plates. Music and dance are an integral part of Greek culture, and each region has developed its own identity through music, song, and dance.
Traditional dances like the syrtos and zeibekiko are still performed at weddings and other celebrations, as shown in the hit movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Greek traditional music includes a wide range of styles, such as rebetiko, laiko, and dimotiko, each with its own unique sound and history. This music has survived many centuries and dates back to ancient times, when it played an important role in religious rituals, theater, sporting competitions, and war.
Hiring Greek employees will add this rich musical tradition to your company culture, and your Greek team members will probably be the life and soul of the party at the annual retreat!
If you’re looking to hire from the talent pool in Greece, understanding some of the culture and traditions outlined above will help you meet your Greek employees’ expectations.
However, it’s also essential to familiarize yourself with the legal and compliance requirements of hiring local or international talent in Greece.
Remofirst is an Employer of Record (EOR) that helps global businesses hire employees in Greece and over 150 other countries worldwide. An EOR takes care of payroll, benefits, compliance, and more so that you can focus on the work that matters most.
Learn more about hiring remote employees in Greece in our Greece country guide.