Monday, August 29, 2016

German Service Culture: "I'm getting my paycheck anyway"

When you look at German businesses, whether they are private, public or somewhere in between, you notice a disconnection between the staff and the company.

In other countries, I suppose, there is a sense of identification. You know that you're part of the company, that you represent the company, that you ARE the company. In Germany... not so much.

The most common, yet unspoken truth is: "I'm getting my money anyway".

This applies to all workers who simply "do their job" and get paid. The problem is that their work is almost in no way related to the success or failure of the company.

  • The shelves in the grocery are half empty and important items are missing? Not my problem!
  • A bus driver got sick and nobody informed the passengers waiting at the bus stops? Not my problem!
  • Customers are leaving your shop and checking out the competition because they feel treated badly? Not my problem!

The relationship between people and their work is kind of weird. With all the labour laws in favour of employees, it's like you're married to your job, but you're not loving it. At the same time, the employer can't divorce you unless you steal silverware or something. Basically, you're doing what is necessary to stay in the job, to not get fired. Not more.

It's mostly different if the person who is serving you is also the person owning the business. He is the one who has to take responsibility for his actions. He can make tons of money or lose his home. HE CARES. Most of the time... sometimes. But simple employees? They will get their paycheck anyway. They work per hour, not per happy customer, per sold item, per success.

As long as this attitude doesn't change, the german service culture will still be labelled a "service desert".