Ready for the digital revolution

The digital revolution and a lack of specialist staff pose huge challenges for companies. Strategic personnel development is needed.

The pace of innovation is increasing. Data-based business models are gaining ground. Cus-tomers are better informed thanks to the Internet, are more demanding and often resort to ser-vices only if they are at their wit’s end. Companies must prepare their staff for such changes if they are to come through the digital revolution successfully.

According to a newly published Qualification Practical Guide from the German ITC sector as-sociation Bitkom, the key to this lies in strategic personnel development. After all, the lack of specialist staff and demographic change are increasingly forcing companies to close skills gaps through internal qualification measures or with career changers. At the same time, man-agers must learn to lead “virtual teams” spread across sites using digital media. All of this is easier said than done.

Developing specific skills
On the one hand, successful further training requires a high level of acceptance and a willing-ness to accept change on the part of employees. On the other hand, companies must imple-ment the measures as efficiently as possible because the need for additional qualifications particularly in the digital and technological field is set to increase dramatically. The first thing that needs to be done is to systematically record what skills are already available and what further training is necessary. This is the job of the personnel division – a division which will play a central strategic role in the future. It has to define the personnel development strategy, raise awareness of its goals among managers and staff and ensure that the strategy is imple-mented in an appropriate manner.

Digital formats for individual further training
According to the guide, there are important success factors such as self-organized learning and the setting of individual skill development goals. Such individualized further training also requires new formats. The authors recommend digital tools: apps for smartphones and tablets could help to convey knowledge individually yet flexibly in terms of time and without significant preparations. Integrative learning “on the job” or “on demand” as well as interactive learning games and simulations would reach a much larger group of employees than classic formats.

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