Do you know what drives your employees? What’s her story? You are the best

According to the University of St. Gallen, there are four different driving forces for employees – called work orientations. It’s definitely a matter of empathy, and knowing a lot about your employees as a manager. If colleagues and teams only deal with each other, it’s not good for the entire company, Sabine Hubner, a marketing expert writes below. And if fear rules the staff, by no means is it.

Don’t you think that’s possible anymore these days? The position is old fashioned and no one has it anymore? Because New Work not only ensures that everyone is familiar with each other, but also makes the company a family. By the way: At least when it’s time to lay off workers (in the first name, of course), everyone — not just those affected — knows the value of slogans.

Second-degree volunteering: Overtime lost

Fear of work and living is no exception. There is tangible evidence of how many people are seriously afraid of layoffs and falling down the social ladder. Year after year, they abandon commitment and performance to employers – the above plan: Every year employees in Germany work a large number of unpaid overtime hours, according to the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research (IAB): every second of the 1.67 billion overtime hours in The year 2020. The German Confederation of Trade Unions calculated a gift for companies in the range of two billion digits. Without any gift tax or social security contributions.

(Photo: C. Todtman)

Employees give up what they normally get for the money. Do you do it enthusiastically and voluntarily? barely. They would probably do overtime because Germans are also particularly conscientious – but giving up generously in return is unreasonable.

Fear of pregnant mothers from the employer

And by the way, it gets worse: today’s newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reports that every second mother is forced to work longer than the permitted 8.5 hours per day – simply because the employer expects this from them. Overtime is the norm – and such violations can cost companies up to 30,000 euros in fines, according to the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). But in the absence of a plaintiff, there is no judge, and according to the PSD, no company should be afraid of supervisory authorities. And because the profession of every second mother was suspended for this reason alone and banned or delayed for two-thirds.

It is clear that young freelancers with no maintenance obligations do not suffer from such fears – they are after all the most wanted and wanted who can play the role of the termination clown at any time. Until one day, they could no longer bear it.

Do you know your employees? What are their motives? Should…

But let’s go back to the motivations that drive employees otherwise—because managers have to know and deal with them. Because with the shortage of skilled workers and massive quitting – the new desire to quit in Germany – after lockdown, they are playing with fire: if the employees think I can be treated badly elsewhere – if I at least get more money there. Then it will be more expensive for companies.

Not only can a company that revolve around its own stories inspire its customers – nor can its teams. What does it take

Marketing expert Sabine Hubner (Photo: PR)

I find the service attitude of companies, more concerned with their own founding myth, with their own prizes, and their own sensitivity than with their clients, stressful and ignorant.

Empathizing with customers is one thing…

Because behind every customer is a story. Empathy in customer communication means that employees want to know and understand – and can empathize with – their peers’ own story. The elderly man is incapacitated when standing at the entrance without an electronic ticket. The customer grieved the insurance hotline, which reports not only the amount of damage, but also the loss of a loved one. The young customer’s delight when the long-awaited very special shirt finally arrived – with a surprise gift as an excuse for a long wait. So far, very clear.

…but each employee’s story is equally relevant

What is less clear to many companies is that there is a story behind every employee. And this story has a decisive impact on what we are now seeing everywhere: Back to the office! If you don’t have anyone at home, you can now look to your team. If you can’t think clearly at home because of all the noise and hustle of the kids, then you need the office as an oasis of calm.

Four typical business orientations

But the story behind each employee is much more than that. Often it is key to personal motivation. At the Institute for Customer Insights at the University of St. Gallen, a multidisciplinary research team has identified four different business trends that you will surely find in your company:

  • Utility-oriented Team members work to support their livelihood. Do you know how many people your employees have (financial) responsibility in the home?
  • mode oriented Team members strive for recognition, titles, and strength. Do you have any idea how many generations in your employee’s family have not had it?
  • contributor Team members want to create value for others. Do you know a topic that is particularly important to your project manager? Do you know the story behind it?
  • community oriented Employees love to work together in a team. Do you know how many of your employees don’t have a contact person at home? Or way too many?

It is time for mutual understanding, empathy and enjoyment among colleagues

We live in a time of crisis where many employees are reorienting themselves – voluntarily or involuntarily. We live in a time when there is a shortage of skilled labour, especially in customer related areas. And we live in a time when many employees are back in the office for the first time since the beginning of 2020. It’s time to come together locally. To live an attitude of service and empathy in the team. Listen to each other, show understanding to each other, and make colleagues at the next table happy. It’s not always about customers. It’s also about getting ourselves in good shape.

Reading tip: When Aldi uses a clumsy household name and Wirecard fires its employees on a first-name basis – one is acceptable, one is not | Management Blog (


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