There are significant differences when it comes to the Human Resources organizations in the US versus companies in Germany, and many other countries in the EU.
Anyone who has worked in the US understands that managers and HR have a lot of discretion over who to hire and who and when to terminate. Sometimes these kinds of decisions can be made in a few days or weeks. In Germany, specifically, these types of decisions are months if not years long, with serious infractions needing to have taken place. Germany has a co-determination practice. Co-determination is a practice whereby the employees have a role in the management of a company. The word is a literal translation from the German word Mitbestimmung.. In some countries, like the USA, the workers have virtually no role in corporate management; and in others, like Germany, their role is more important.
In the US, many studies show that white collar workers can make as much as 20 times that of blue collar workers in the same company. This is drastically different than in Germany. Germany is known for its balanced remuneration system. The average white-collar worker’s wage is only 20% over the average blue collar worker`s wage. In addition, companies are not allowed to hire skilled workers from other companies by offering higher salaries.
Here too, the perception differs. In the US, workers are generally always in search of something new or better, and there is very little company loyalty. In Germany, employees feel a much greater sense of loyalty to their companies and, general, will not leave. They will look for opportunities within their current company or subsidiaries and the company will work hard to provide those.
While the US is typically a very individualistic society, making quick decisions and reversing them if necessary, Germany, in stark contrast, tends to work like a democracy in their companies. It is important the whole team has a say and the whole team is bought into the decision. While this can seem appealing, the trade off is time. Decision making will take much longer with a group of employees when everyone needs to be in agreement.
Both cultures have their pros and cons and neither is necessarily best. The US, acting as an impulsive, decisive, all knowing teenager and Germany as the wise parent, moving slowly with certain purpose.