Job Security

German Approach

Job security is for Germans the most important motivating factor. Germans strive for stability, predictability, security. Ideally they’ll work for one employer, in one location, over their entire career.


American Approach

Americans know that no job is truly secure. Job security comes only through being valuable to the organisation, continuous skills development, steady career advancement, and constant exposure to new opportunities.


German View

Germans are appalled by the lack of labor laws in the U.S. providing a minimum degree of job security. “Hire and fire” seems to them to be the hallmark of the U.S. economy. Germans wonder how anyone can perform at a high level if they live in constant fear of losing their job.

American View

Germans labor laws are seen by Americans as rigid, bureacratic, anti-innovation, in the end downright socialistic. From their perspective non-performers hold back the performers, thus the entire organisation. “It’s impossible to fire anyone in Germany.”

Advice to Germans

America is not hire and fire, but instead get hired, perhaps get fired, but then get hired by another organization. Americans view job security per labor law as not true security. Yes, poor performers can be fired in the U.S. And that’s seen as both good and just.

But performers can advance. And high performers can advance rapidly. Americans value opportunity more than security. If you want performance from your Americans team-members offering job security won’t work.

Advice to Americans

Don’t underestimate security as a positive motivating factor in Germany. Germans are fearful of being arbeitslos, unemployed. They will gladly sacrifice additional compensation and further advancement in order to get security.

In fact, if you want performance from your German team-members, pay particular attention to what gives them that security. Then give it to them.