“A very good morning to you!” – this friendly greeting makes for a good start to any day. Being respectful towards colleagues is part of a healthy corporate culture, although this notion is not new to OSRAM, as our treasure from the archive reveals. In 1986, the company went as far as creating a working group to address this matter. Its mission: rules for greeting others. What was a pilot project at the time now almost feels like satire.
A fundamental distinction must be made between the right to be greeted by someone and the duty to greet someone. Supervisors enjoy the right to be greeted by their employees, women to be greeted by men, and older employees by younger employees. People who hold the right to be greeted may decide whether or not to exercise it. In contrast, people who are obligated to greet others must do so as a matter of principle.Greetings will change depending on the time of day:
If the weather is appropriate – on bright, sunny days, for example – then colleagues should feel free to greet others by saying “A very good morning/day/evening to you!” It goes without saying that holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s and Easter come with their own rules for greeting others. Greetings must also be made as usual when encountering someone in the bathroom. However, please refrain in such instances from wishing somebody a nice lunch at midday. There is an exception to these rules: The person who enjoys the right to be greeted by others can tell the person who must greet him or her that a greeting is unnecessary, for example if they have run into each other three times that day. In all other cases, people who have a duty to greet others may only be released from this obligation by a doctor’s note.
Whether or not employees followed these rules has been forgotten over time. The only thing that is certain is how fortunate it is that these guidelines never made it out of the pilot phase. After all, we at OSRAM now know that culture cannot be imposed. It is practiced by each one of us.