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Personnel Development In The Digital Age

In the digital age, company employees need new skills: At the same time, however, long-term personnel planning and development is impossible. Therefore, the self-image of many in-house personnel developers must also change.

In addition to organizational structures, the advancing digitalization is also challenging the personnel development concepts of many companies – for the following reasons, among others:


  • Long-term oriented personnel development and planning is hardly possible in the VUCA world (abbreviation of the words Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), partly because of the strategies of companies and their way of solving problems are changing ever more rapidly.
  • The need for change and thus learning is often so great in companies today that it can no longer be recorded centrally, for example, by the personnel departments, and satisfied in the required short time with centrally organized personnel development measures.
  • The qualification needs of employees in the digital world are so diverse – partly due to their different functions in the companies and professional biographies – that they can be satisfied top-down less and less.


Personnel development is changing


From this, many companies drew the following conclusions:


  • The responsibility for personnel development must shift more to the operational level (i.e. the divisional, departmental, and team level).
  • Personnel development must be more strongly oriented towards the individual needs of employees and the challenges they currently face.
  • Employees must show more personal responsibility for ensuring that they have the skills they need in the short, medium, and long term (keyword: employability). And:
  • Managers must support and guide their employees in developing their competence.


Personnel developers become service providers


This also changes the function of the personnel development departments in the companies. In the past, one of its core tasks was to identify the organization’s short-, medium- and long-term qualification need based on the company’s strategic goals and to close the gap between required and available qualifications by means of centrally planned and controlled measures.

In the VUCA world, their function shifts towards being a competence development service provider for managers and employees, supporting them in largely self-planned and self-directed competence development. In addition, their task remains to ensure a certain alignment in competence development so that no uncontrolled growth occurs.


Personnel developers need a new self-image


Many personnel development departments find it difficult to accept this service provider role – also because, in the opinion of some personnel developers, this goes hand in hand with a loss of significance. In addition, this change in function means that HR developers have to go to the shop floor level, i.e., where things happen more than before, and deal with the operational processes at the divisional, departmental, and team level.

This presupposes a new understanding of themselves and their roles by many personnel developers. This needs to be developed.


Lean Management Consulting is a term used to describe an approach to a business strategy that aims for continuous improvement through experimentation and learning from mistakes. This approach emphasizes utilizing technology to increase productivity while minimizing waste by reducing non-value added activities such as time spent on unnecessary meetings or paperwork. Lean Management is often seen as a business model focusing on reducing costs, increasing productivity, and improving quality. Organizations employing the Lean Management approach are usually faster-growing and more agile than their non-Lean counterparts.

Whether you need help with change management or an IT project, Bernard Gagnon Group has the expertise and desire to help you achieve even the most ambitious growth and performance objectives.



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