HR Policy Global

S01E22 - Decoding Germany: An Employee Relations Profile

Welcome to the Wild Side, a podcast that discusses the world of modern employee relations ten minutes at a time. This podcast is a short overview of employee relations in Germany. In this episode, host Alan Wild discusses the historical and cultural factors that influence Germany’s employee relations. Alan is the Global Affairs Director of the HR Policy Association, the leading voice of chief human resources offices today.

The Federal Republic of Germany is split into 16 states and is well-placed for international trade with nine national borders both to the East and to the West. It is considered Europe's industrial powerhouse with 25% of the country's 46 million workers producing about one-third of the GDP. And, two-thirds of Germany’s workforce is covered by collective bargaining agreements. Recent developments have led to deviations and flexibility in previously rigid bargaining agreements. Works Councils and Supervisory Boards are all about establishing and managing constructive relationships. 

Let’s dive into the rarely replicated German employee relations framework.

Key Takeaways:

  • A brief history of Germany’s economy. [3:19] 
  • Why Germany is considered Europe’s industrial powerhouse. [5:33]
  • Understanding Germany’s Works Councils and supervisory boards and why consensus is key. [6:32]
  • Two-thirds of Germany’s workforce is covered by a collective bargaining agreement. [10:07]
  • Identifying Germany’s trade unions. [12:55]