Don’t worry if your answer is “not much”, since MySkills Academy is here to teach you the most important things about German corporate culture:
1) Company internal data. Distribution of sensitive internal information is contractually prohibited and will lead to your expulsion. Be very careful when posting pictures of yourself taken at the workplace on social media, since they could potentially include internal information in the background.
2) Private use of work time. Try to avoid using your work time for topics related to your private life – German corporate culture is very strict in this case. Personal calls or the use of social media are not well seen. Moreover, if you have mentioned your work place in any of your private social media profiles, remember that you are representative of the company.
3) Low context culture. Germany is a very direct and straight-forward society. Make sure to be transparent when communicating and avoid leaving anything unsaid or “between the lines”. Still, always remember to be respectful towards internal hierarchies.
4) Mistakes are lessons. Embrace mistakes and show that you are capable of learning from them. This is a very important aspect of corporate culture in Germany. Communicate them directly and without fear of punishment to your superior. In most of the German companies, mistakes are used as a basis for process improvement.
5) Feedback culture. Understand direct feedback as something to grow from and not a personal insult or challenge. German employees value the performance of the company as a whole the most – which you are a part of!
6) Deadline. We won’t concentrate too much attention on deadlines, as you might already know about these specifics of corporate culture in Germany. Just remember to follow them and communicate transparently if you will miss them – it happens to all of us.
7) Don’t interrupt your colleagues! Always listen till the end and present your point of view afterwards in a polite and proactive way.
8) Respect your schedule. Skipping working hours is unacceptable, not only in Germany. For sure, if you need to visit a doctor and it’s urgent, nobody won’t keep you from doing so, if they are informed in a timely manner. Offering to catch up on the missed hours on another day is always appreciated.
9) Respect the private space of your colleagues. Don’t touch anything on their tables without permission and try not to “hang on their necks” during working hours.
10) Last but not least – coffee mugs are something holy to German employees. Ask which ones you can use or bring your own. Offering to prepare the coffee for your colleagues every once and a while will earn you warm smiles and gratitude.