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Don’t stop dreaming! 

Astronaut, professional soccer player, princess: Do you still remember what you once wanted to become? Not all childhood dreams come true. But sometimes the dream job is still only a stone’s throw away. Let yourself be inspired – by success stories around the globe.

Times are changing. Career desires hardly do: For decades, little boys have dreamed of becoming police officers or pilots, girls usually want a professional career as (veterinary) doctors or teachers. However, Sophia was different: She liked to tinker with technology, even at an early age. Pin toys, Lego robots, computers – she wasn’t satisfied until she knew exactly how something worked. Later, she dreamed of running her own IT company. A dream she realized: Together with two friends, Sophia founded her own Start Up. ” To keep my business growing, I have to keep up with the latest technology,” she says. The instructors at TÜV Rheinland Academy are there to help her. They themselves have practical experience and are dedicated to you with innovations and digitization.

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Sophia.

Happiness makes you productive

TÜV Rheinland Academy is specialized in training and further education in technical professions and offers companies, graduates and professionals a wide range of opportunities to develop their personal potential. Mohammed from India has also benefited from it. Initially, he wanted to be a racing driver. Today, he works as a mechatronics engineer for an international automotive group. Not least because with the Vocational Training of TÜV Rheinland Academy he experienced exactly the dual vocational training based on the German model, which is the basis for getting an opportunity for a job interview with global players. He made it, although he came from a modest background and lacked the money for education. “The education was financially supported and was outstanding. That’s why I can live my dream today,” he says. Good for his employer! After all, studies show that happy employees are about 20 percent more productive than their dissatisfied colleagues.

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Mohammed.

There could be more people like Sophia or Mohammed worldwide. According to the Gallup Engagement Index in the USA, just one in three employees (33 percent) still feels emotionally committed to his job. And that is already the world’s top value. In the European Union, only one in ten employees (11 percent) is happy with his or her job, while one in four (25 percent) has already mentally resigned.

Why is that? On the one hand, many companies concentrate exclusively on their day-to-day business and thereby lose sight of employee development. On the other hand, even employees do not pursue their career goals consistently enough. John’s example shows that things can be different: Already as a child, he was very ambitious. Today, he works in his dream job and moves heavy construction frames as a crane operator. It wasn’t always easy to get there. “I started at the bottom, but I always kept an eye on my goal,” John remembers. Then his employer financed his training as a crane operator, and he passed the examination at PersCert TÜV. For him, personnel certification is not just a degree, but a kickoff for a successful international career that offers him many opportunities.

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of John.

Tailor-made e-learning offers for individual careers

So it’s not always the direct route that leads to the dream job, but that’s exactly what you should expect and inform yourself accordingly. Especially the increasing digitalization and automation offers exciting, sometimes undreamed of development possibilities. Today, for example, it is no longer necessary to study computer science to protect companies from hackers, viruses and other threats. Jane can prove this: she decided not to study and instead took tailor-made e-learning courses at TÜV Rheinland Academy. Today, she works as an IT expert and continues to focus on digital training. “Together with TÜV Rheinland Academy, for example, we have developed a customized course on cybersecurity for our company,” she says. “It is working out really well!”

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Jane.

Paul also opted for a training course at TÜV Rheinland Academy as part of his continuing education program and was very enthusiastic about the practice-oriented courses. Without hesitation, he applied to be a trainer. With success. Today, he shares his expertise with young professionals and executives around the world. “I used to be a great electrical engineer at home. Today, I’m creating new ideas worldwide,” he proudly states. “It’s nice that I can share my dream with so many people and pass on my knowledge myself – so that others may also realize their dream.”

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Paul.

We hope you haven’t given up dreaming either! Find out more about how the services offered by TÜV Rheinland Academy have supported Sophia, Mohammed, John, Jane and Paul on their career paths, or find out for yourself what opportunities are available to you worldwide through training and further education at TÜV Rheinland Academy. Find out more on www.tuv.com/academy.

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7 Myths of leadership – that you should forget

In the context of digital transformation, how can and how should managers and executives ensure with qualified leadership that teams and individual employees remain healthy, qualified and motivated – despite the stress brought on them by change and dynamic working conditions? For example, first of all be self-critical: After all, if things don’t run smoothly in the company, productivity and innovation rates fall short of expectations and the company falls steadily behind in the market, this can be caused by the coexistence of traditional and modern management models. Some executives like to cling to outdated models of staff management – and at the same time hope to somehow manage to survive the change. Dr. Sven Grote, who also talked about the TÜV Rheinland dialog “Human and health”, addresses the most important management myths.Read More

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How does the culture of prevention succeed?

Today, VUCA shapes the modern working world: it is subject to volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, that is what we today call digital transformation and the associated disruption. In times of VUCA, what does that mean for the health of workers and the competitiveness of the company?  This central question goes to Prof. Dr. med. Joachim E. Fischer in an interview with tr-academy.com. The Director of the Mannheim Institute for Public Health at the Medical Faculty Mannheim of the University of Heidelberg sees in the “FreuSinn” – joy at work – a central factor for a healthy and motivating Leadership 4.0. In his opinion, the thesis that prevention is better than cure – is more relevant than ever.

In your opinion, how can one reconcile protecting employee health and the competitiveness of a company?

Traditionally, the culture of prevention has been meant: We protected employee health with technical measures designed to reduce exposure to risk. We have achieved an exemplary high standard in this regard. Today, digitalization has taken over the workplace and has increased the amount of knowledge work employees do. The demand for flexible, individualized solutions is increasing, especially in industrial settings. This is changing the kinds of health protection we need to provide. Averting physical risks is taking a back seat and it’s becoming more important to strengthen employees’ ability to cope with challenges. Adding to the complexity is an increasing unpredictability and uncertainty, often even contradictions, which are not exactly diminished by current political upheavals, whether it’s Brexit or American tariffs.

But people need sufficient security in order to tap their potential. The culture of prevention in the sense of using conventional health campaigns such as veggie day in the staff cafeteria, health awareness days, or healthy back training is far too short-sighted. By taking the opportunity to find out what will help employees develop their potential and thus increase the company’s competitiveness is often good for their overall mental health. The aim here is to find the best possible intersections: this is at the heart of the new “culture of prevention.”

You see having a sense of joy (“FreuSinn”) as a central factor of the culture of prevention in the sense of a healthy and motivating Leadership 4.0. What exactly do you mean by this?

Originally, it was out of pure scientific curiosity that we asked more than 20,000 people whether they look forward to going to work in the morning when they wake up and whether their work helps them see their lives as meaningful. We were quite surprised when those employees who could fully agree with both statements were healthier, even down to biological markers, and described themselves as more effective. We decided to name this phenomenon “FreuSinn.” Obviously it is joy, not fun, and experiencing the job as meaningful is vital to these people. It is close to what others have described as “flow.” And we know from neurobiological research that the frontal lobe of the brain is particularly active when these conditions are active. It is in the frontal lobe where we think, decide, invent, judge, plan. In other words, exactly those things today’s knowledge-based economy and society need.

If a company’s ability to create value increasingly depends on employees’ using the frontal lobes of their brains and not shutting that aspect of their humanity down when they cross the entrance gates, then it is up to managers at all levels of the hierarchy to create the conditions for more joy and meaningfulness at work. This does not necessarily make the management task any easier, because there are no simple formulas to follow. Sometimes it might involve simplifying disruptive processes. It might be allowing certain people to work from home or it might involve firing people that are disrupting the team with their poisonous attitudes. An important task in this regard is to cushion the ubiquitous uncertainty credibly, whether it is uncertainty caused by fixed-term contracts (like we have in research) or the uncertainty caused by turbulent markets. And because many people react more irritably under stress and with increasing exhaustion, taking care of the workplace atmosphere day in, day out becomes all the more important.

We recently evaluated data from a representative study conducted by the German Labor Ministry, which included both an internationally used scale for mental well-being and a scale for measuring enthusiasm, commitment, and passion for work. The results showed that 40% of employees are both committed and engaged in their work and also mentally healthy. So a job that keeps you healthy has long been a real possibility. Empirical data from several studies even agree that people who voluntarily work longer and feel useful have longer lives. Managers must therefore ask themselves how they can increase the sense of joy and meaningfulness at work both today and in the future tomorrow from their own strength without extensive training. Whether it’s city cleaning, nursing care for the elderly, working the assembly line, or in an architecture firm. We know companies in every industry that can do this. They have low absenteeism rates, and they generate great added value with their work. Almost nothing has a more lasting effect than genuine sincere recognition for good performance. And not in the form of a bonus payment at the end of the year, but with a grateful handshake immediately.

We have collected our own data to compare the effects of convention health campaigns with that of creating a sense of joy and meaningfulness at work. While 10% healthier behaviors only contribute 1% to employee health and just over half a percent to productivity, 10% more joy and a sense of meaning bring about 5% more productivity. It’s no wonder why SAP’s Business Health Culture Index, where half the questions measure the quality of leadership and support, has become a significant internal key performance indicator for SAP. PWC calculated on SAP’s behalf that a 1% improvement in the Business Health Culture Index translates into €65-75 million more profit. This is no secret; it has been published online in SAP’s annual report. Anyone who thinks conventional health campaigns will be enough will, in the long run, not be able to exploit the full potential of holistic health management.

What opportunities do you see in bargaining agreements that can’t be solved by the healthcare system?

The healthcare system is excellent when it comes to treating acute illnesses with clear medical causes and treatment options. However, the healthcare system is not at all equipped to maintain employees’ ability to work and create value. If, for example, employees are so mentally restricted that, although they still function day-to-day and aren’t in need to psychiatric hospitalization, they will no longer be able to work in a way that creates value. We have to define a new culture of prevention. Our healthcare system only offers waiting times and no solutions. So there is a gap between conventional, technical health protection measures and the healthcare system which is yearning for healthcare that includes psycho social aspects. This applies to a wide range of potential offerings aimed at the individual, such as family assistance in problem situations such as caring for relatives, early intervention in cases of pain or psychological complaints, and meaningful attempts at making working hours or locations more flexible.

But this affects especially how we design work, that is, the conditions under which people work. Whereas the focus was once on emissions, noise, dangers, and lighting, it’s the psycho social impact and mental noise that we now need to get under control. What gets forgotten in all these risk assessments is that the mind also benefits from resources that will help it to overcome challenges. So it’s not just a question of reducing burdens and averting dangers. Unlike the technical prevention of risks, the most important thing for the mind is that which strengthens it. You can’t avert the cancer risk from asbestos through your mood. But you can solve a big task together as a team and what remain are the sense of achievement and the certainty and confidence of being able to solve the next problem together again, too.

When I was a child, Esso gas stations used to advertise with the “tiger in the tank.” The “tiger in the tank” for value creation is increasing the experience of joy and meaningfulness at work. The cover story of the current issue of Harvard Business Review is: “When work has meaning: how to turn purpose into performance.”

Professor Fischer, thank you for speaking with us.

Supporting the Development of Chinese Vocational Education

On September 27, 2018, TÜV Rheinland Academy formally released its “Welcoming Industry 4.0 White Paper on the Development of Chinese Vocational Education” (hereafter referred to as the “White Paper”) at the International Summit and Exhibition for Vocational Education held in Guangzhou. Ms. Sherin Lin, Vice President of Academy & Life Care, TÜV Rheinland Greater China, and Carlo Humberg, Expert on the German dual vocational education system from TÜV Rheinland Academy, jointly revealed key parts of the White Paper at the event while also setting out the challenges, opportunities and developments for Chinese vocational education. TÜV Rheinland Academy worked with its equipment partners to introduce advanced vocational education implementations such as VR, Microsoft HoloLens and MR at the exhibition. Visitors were provided with a novel experience on integrated consulting solutions for dual vocational education.

White paper on dual vocational education

Lin said: “Chinese vocational education is now at a crossroads in development. The rise of Industry 4.0 means the upgrading of the manufacturing industry and the popularization of high and new technologies such as artificial intelligence. Conventional manufacturing expertise is now faced with a new round of challenges in professional development and this means tremendous development potential for vocational and technical education in China. TÜV Rheinland Academy analyzed more than one hundred businesses and schools against this current backdrop. The results were used to compile the White Paper that will hopefully serve as a useful guide for vocational education in China. The White Paper can also provide the vocational education industry as well as the reform and development of vocational educational institutions with a reference for their decision-making and help promote the cultivation of professional talent in China. ”

The White Paper is divided into three chapters that analyze the following topics based on research findings: Current status of Chinese vocational education in the lead-up to Industry 4.0 age; New opportunities in Chinese vocational education in the Industry 4.0 age; and Development trends in Chinese vocational education. In Chapter 1, TÜV Rheinland explains the challenges facing Chinese vocational education including the mismatch between the standard of vocational education and industry development, shortage of new talent, and shortfall in new vocational educators. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 dissects the new opportunities for vocational education in the Industry 4.0 age. Highlights include the strengths of the German dual education system and its direction of localization development, as well as an outline of school-business cooperation models, and inter-institution cooperation.

Download free white paper (Chinese):
“Welcoming Industry 4.0 White Paper on the Development of Chinese Vocational Education”

Pannel discussion on “Educational fusion using digital techniques”

Carlo Humberg, our Expert of the German dual education system and the Senior Project Manager of TÜV Rheinland Academy, also took part in the pannel discussion on “Educational fusion using digital techniques” held at the same time. Humberg mentioned that even though the “Industry 4.0” concept is connected to continued increases in the level of automation in manufacturing techniques, it is the people that ultimately matters in “Industry 4.0.” That is why most of the recent discussions about “Industry 4.0” have revolved around the development of useful and essential skillsets in current and future employees. For vocational education, the main challenge posed by “Industry 4.0” is to the content of technical training courses. Upgrades must be made in response to technological developments and improvements made to organizational processes for a more team-oriented approach. A decision must then be made on what needs to be integrated.

The latest updates made by Germany to its national teaching materials for electrical and mechanical subjects now incorporate new skills with a particular emphasis on digitization. As the oldest and most famous training and education organization in Europe, TÜV Rheinland Academy inherits the spirit of German craftsmanship and has many years of experience with dual vocational education. It strives to promote the exchange and fusion of advanced techniques and educational models from Germany and China in order to drive the development of Chinese industry and education.

Vocational Training at TÜV Rheinland Academy China

TÜV Rheinland Academy has been operating in China for over three decades, bringing with its over 145 years of brand development and technical expertise as well some of the best talents in the industry. Efforts in recent years have focused on the development of a new approach to vocational education in China. Successful partnerships have been set up with a number of vocational schools including Guangzhou Light Industry Senior Technical School, Jiangmen City Technical School, Hainan College of Vocation and Technique, Shenzhen No.3 Vocational School of Technology, and The First vocational school of Tanggu Binhai new area Tianjin. The above partnerships combined the resources of TÜV Rheinland Academy and the vocational schools to provide a demonstration of the “dual system” in action. In the Sino-German Smart Manufacturing Academy for example the partners built an Industry 4.0 simulated factory that used the latest international technical resources and education system to provide an advanced demonstration of the “smart manufacturing” and “German dual” vocational education system in China. The cultivation of highly skilled talents for supporting the development of the smart manufacturing industry will help drive the transformation and upgrade of the entire industry chain.

In addition to strengthening school-business cooperation in Industry 4.0, TÜV Rheinland Academy is also working with vocational schools to set up training and examination centers. The training center will develop course resources based on international standards that will improve faculty standards and quality of teaching. The center will also carry out testing and accreditation of students based on their actual abilities. Recently completed projects include international training and certification of welding expertise with the Jiangmen Technical School, as well as the New Energy Vehicle Intelligent Automotive Training Center in partnership with Shanghai Boshi Motor Repair School.

“The transformation of Chinese vocational education is a matter of great urgency. TÜV Rheinland will lend its support through its own technical strengths and expertise.” concluded Lin.

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Optimize Internal Communication

In a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), everything is volatile, uncertain, complex and full of ambivalence. Many managers allegedly lack time to communicate adequately with their employees. But internal communication is becoming increasingly critical to success, especially in large companies with locations worldwide. How can everyone pull together if most people don’t know to what end and for what purpose? Here are a few tips on how to improve internal communication in your organization.

Tip 1: Use sales tools for employees for intensifying internal communication

Webinars are not only excellent tools for sales to tomorrow’s customers. They are also ideal for regular Q&A with the employees. In contrast to static internal newsletters, regular internal questions & answers are interactive and perfect to ensure that everyone has the same level of knowledge and to detect possible misunderstandings or undesirable developments at an early stage and to counteract them. Make sure that the webinars are part of your internal communication and advertised in time via internal channels such as the employee newsletter, Yammer or Slack. Make it clear in advance how employees can participate in this webinar. Consider in advance what questions might come and ask your team to prepare the answers. Be prepared for unpleasant or unexpected aspects to be addressed. Develop a sovereign strategy for this.

Tip 2: Managing resources intelligently

Don’t work harder, work smarter. Management software and platforms can help you manage resources and projects in real time and significantly improve internal communication. They can better delegate responsibilities, make sure your team stays on schedule and can support you when bottlenecks occur. They bridge the communication between management, employees, customers, and suppliers. Examples for this are platforms such as Bitrix24 or Monday (Dapulse) – with group and video chats, document management, cloud service, integrated calendar, email, CRM, HR tools and much more. Set achievable goals and divide them into manageable sections. Attach files and set due dates. Let the software automatically remind you and the team of overdue tasks – if they still exist at all. Automatically learn when milestones are reached and keep up to date with team success in real time.

Tip 3: Switch to real-time communication

SMS and e-mail are old school. How much faster could your employees communicate, make decisions, and even make decisions if they were allowed to use a direct messaging app – just as they do in their private lives? Yammer is a collaboration tool that enables teams to share messages, files, documents or updates quickly and without having to take detours. Slack with both private and public channels is now also at the top of the popularity scale of corporate apps. The app supports Direct Messaging, Drag & Drop for file sharing, document feedback, and comments, and centralizes all notifications. The app also has a search function that allows you to search the content for keywords. By the way – project management tools like Monday allow the integration of direct messengers such as Slack.

Tip 4: Dare to take an anonymous employee survey

Have the courage to use anonymous feedback software such as Custom Insights or Survey Monkey to learn what your employees feel you can do to improve your leadership performance and your internal communication too. Under certain circumstances, the results may be devastating initially. Think of it as an opportunity. Only if you know where the problem areas are you can work to change something for the better. Experience shows: You will be repaid for this courage with employee satisfaction and performance. Yet this can only be the case if you change something and don’t just put the results back in the drawer.

Tip 5: Communicate clearly and appreciatively

Internal communication involve respecting the time of others. This applies to meetings as well as to one-on-one conversations. Do not go on and on, but argue clearly and to the point. Let others have their say and catch them should they go beyond the scope and time budget of others in the meeting. And if a conversation needs a decision at the conclusion, then you decide. Stay respectful and appreciative in your language. Empathy today is often regarded as part of social competence as if it were not innate to us. “I can imagine that this makes you proud” or “This certainly upset you” are good examples of how an executive shows empathy. Clear language, clear head.

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Vocational Training with TÜV Rheinland

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Organizations around the globe have increasing demands for qualified employees to meet market expectations that are driven by technology. When management realizes the importance of vocational training or further education of their employees they face the challenge of how to realize it effectively in terms of time, effort and result. Whether you are a private company, a governmental authority or an educational institute, TÜV Rheinland supports you to further educate your employees in line with your local industry demands.

Practical and targeted technical vocational training means better skilled and qualified employees, which in turn leads to improved regional, economic and social development. In such an environment, potential employees find more job opportunities and companies can draw on qualified staff to boost production or provide enhanced services. Companies may even experience cost reductions as it becomes easier to hire locally rather than internationally.

Technical Vocational Education and Training of TÜV Rheinland ensures a simple but high efficient way of qualification for your employees – worldwide. In our concept of vocational training, your employees learn the theory and can on top immediately practice with the didactic training systems. Thus, after the training, your employees are perfectly prepared for their professional responsibilities.

We are strongly rooted in the German dual vocational system and offer customized vocational learning solutions and a broad scope of related consultancy services especially in technical fields, and available across all industries. Choosing us enables you to access a depth of expertise and technical knowledge difficult to find elsewhere. The breadth of our experience in nearly every industry allows us to create workforce development programs to meet your specific needs.

We enable you:

  • to develop skills and competencies of your current and future employees.
  • to close skill gap.
  • to develop your employees´ potential continuously.
  • to increase international mobility of your people.
  • to train your trainers.
Learn more in our video how it works:

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Cooperation between Man and Artificial Intelligence

How can people and artificial intelligence work together in the future?

Artificial intelligence and digitalization produce new headlines every day. The tenor of the report fluctuates between admiration and admonition. How can people and machines work together in the future? Or won’t they work together because machines do the work?

For large parts of the population, the image of artificial intelligence is dominated by boulevard publications and the film industry. If machines learn to defeat the human grandmasters in chess or Go, media satisfaction spreads. Artificial intelligence represents the pinnacle of human inventiveness. In the films The Matrix and Terminator, on the other hand, machines have long since taken control of enslaved humanity. The mood oscillates between fear and admiration. The Handelsblatt, for example, chose the lowest common denominator in a commentary in which AI was described as a curse and a blessing.[1]

AI has come to stay

Highly specialized systems based on machine learning, pattern recognition or robotics are conquering ever larger fields of application. AI systems are used in the insurance industry to uncover cases of fraud or to process claims, they optimize routes and merchandise planning in retail and personalize the way consumers are approached in marketing or create individual dynamic prices. Even in highly specialized areas, AI systems are set to take over people’s tasks. Self-learning systems prepare forecasts and evaluate key figures in controlling.

And the experiences of the first companies to rely on AI are impressively positive. Last year, insurer Zurich caused a sensation when the company reported that it had processed claims in the claims handling area using AI within seconds for which a person needed more than 50 minutes. There is no doubt that artificial intelligence will shape the world of work shortly.

AI creates more sales and new jobs

That sounds like a job-killing technology that brings the destruction of livelihoods. The study “Reworking the Revolution” by Accenture comes to a different conclusion. There is no doubt that AI systems will take over people’s tasks. For example, chatbots will communicate with customers directly over the phone without people noticing that they are talking to a computer. But at the end of the day, the authors of the study assume that companies that rely on AI could increase their sales by up to 38 percent by 2022 and even create more net jobs.

But the tasks of the employees will change. Surprised, Accenture found that few companies have recognized that changing the world of work requires different skills from their employees.

The new world of work requires new skills and competencies

AI systems are IT systems. Competences with complex technical systems and the computer will undoubtedly retain their already great importance. But IT knowledge alone will not be enough in the working world of the future to keep employees firmly in the saddle. The assumption of more complex tasks by the machines enables new forms of cooperation. In industry, employees will probably no longer be responsible for a particular machine or manufacturing step. If machines transfer workpieces to each other and the production of another piece can be started with just a few mouse clicks, the employees have a new role to play. You need to keep an eye on processes, perhaps even communicate directly with suppliers or customers. But they must also be equipped with the necessary skills to do so.

Digitization and the introduction of AI in companies can only succeed if employees are involved from the outset and do not become affected. However, inclusion makes it necessary for employees to recognize the benefits of the technologies. It is not possible without knowledge about one’s own company, current developments in the industry as a whole and an understanding of what the actual business model of the employer is.

Create an atmosphere that encourages learning and the fun of training

While in the past one or the other employers may have only considered the demand for “lifelong learning” as just a phrase and invested accordingly cautiously in further training, demand is becoming more urgent than ever. Because AI systems change at a rapid pace. This is why companies need to create an atmosphere that encourages learning and the fun of training.

As far as can already be seen today, AI systems promote interdisciplinary work and corresponding forms of organization. The employee of the future must, therefore, be able to adapt to changing situations and other people. Such social competencies will be just as necessary as incentives for more creativity. In many cases, AI systems will aggregate data, but the necessary conclusions and the verification of valid hypotheses will continue to be the responsibility of human intelligence.

This is why companies will benefit most from AI, which best combines the benefits of electronic systems with the capabilities of people. And this can only be achieved with solid further training and active management of competencies in a company.

Learn more:

[1] https://www.handelsblatt.com/meinung/kommentare/kommentar-kuenstliche-intelligenz-ist-gleichzeitig-fluch-und-segen/21006486.html?ticket=ST-372739-bwhjlDya4cJUNj71Btba-ap3

Competence Management in Times of Digital Transformation

Active competence management: door opener for a successful future

Digital transformation places new and different demands on employees more than ever before. How can companies meet this challenge? Effective competence management is an important instrument that many companies still criminally neglect.

Whether it is the first industrial revolution or digital change: well-trained employees and managers have always been indispensable for companies. What has changed with the fourth industrial revolution is the fact that almost every industry is currently experiencing serious upheavals in an unprecedented dynamic. Artificial intelligence and information retrieval systems provide information within seconds, analyze facts and make forecasts faster than any human being can.

The knowledge-based society involves a change of paradigms. Pure technical and methodological knowledge is no longer sufficient to meet the challenges of the future. What is almost more important is what employees do with their skills, how they tackle problems in practice. Especially in complex situations, in which the known rules, old knowledge and skills are no longer sufficient to solve the problem, employees must be able to solve the unknown challenge themselves. And this is exactly what they need, the appropriate competence in several fields of action. This requires new learning spaces and new learning concepts through further training – and the introduction of systematic competence management.

Competencies are not “skills”

But: What exactly is competence management? Active and strategic competence management is an important tool to deploy employees according to their qualifications, to promote their careers and to pursue the competence requirements of the company which are necessary to achieve the goals they have set themselves.

The basis for competence management is a competence model that lists or respectively groups existing and required competences. A competency model consists of a set of key competences selected in accordance with a company’s business objectives. By way of example, these may include:

  • Professional competence: Specific knowledge, skills or abilities required to carry out professional tasks.
  • Methodological competence: the ability to tackle tasks and problems in a structured and effective manner. Learned working methods or solution strategies must be able to be applied and further developed independently.
  • Social competence: This is becoming increasingly important in the distributed world of work and self-organized work and includes all skills that are effective in relationships with other people.
  • Personality competence: This allows a person to act in a self-organized and reflexive manner. This requires the ability to assess oneself, to develop one’s own talents and to develop creatively.
  • Leadership competence: Developing organizational requirements, initiating change, guiding and enabling employees and teams belong in this area. This also includes reviewing performance and providing constructive feedback.

The last example shows that competence clusters cannot be viewed absolutely separately. Because a portion of social competence is necessary for constructive feedback.

Typical challenges, hurdles or errors in the introduction of a competency model are:

  • Identification of too many competences without comparison with the company goals.
  • Lack of or difficult identification of business-critical competences.
  • Confusion of specialist knowledge with competences or a one-dimensional focus on specialist competences.
  • No account is taken of competences that are not currently part of the job description or work organization, but will play an important role in the future.
  • Collecting competences without the participation of employees. They should know through their daily activities what competence they currently need for their tasks or what they are lacking.
  • No involvement of managers in the survey of the required competences.

Effective competence management: success factors

In fact, competence management reflects the corporate strategy. It is therefore essential that the company has a clear plan of what business goals it pursues, how it can achieve these goals and what competences it needs to achieve them.

Therefore, the analysis and definition of areas of competence and the definition of the concrete characteristics for tasks, activities and job profiles derived from them are indispensable. It is also important that the competences of employees are determined independently, comparably and reproducibly. In addition to the development of relevant competence profiles, it is important to install an independent competency assessment and assessment of the employees and to counter the results of the competence gap analysis with the development of programs that are suitable for closing these competence gaps. Those who do not have the necessary know-how in-house are well advised to call in external support.

Advantages of effective competence management

Conclusion: Effective competence management determines the current situation and a forward-looking inventory of the skills of all employees. By defining job roles and their associated competences, executives are able to identify strengths and skill gaps more quickly and thereby actively turn their attention on the employees’ performance drive. To this end, the company is actively counteracting the risk of a reduction in performance and reduced value added.

It makes sense to set up a competence management system as a strategic staff unit within the company. It can provide information on targeted learning opportunities for skills development with the aim of improving individual and organizational performance in order to achieve better business results. Training without added value for the company is a thing of the past, critical skills gaps are identified more quickly and actively closed. And: Experience has shown that effective competence management also increases satisfaction among employees and managers, which benefits the corporate climate, team motivation and thus productivity.

Modern Learning Types and Strategies

Overwhelmed, distracted, restless: Regain your employees’ attention!

Insufficient participation, low commitment, lack of satisfaction: When it comes to in-house training, companies today can find it difficult to motivate their employees to obtain a qualification. Why is that? According to a U.S. Bersin by Deloitte study, the main reason for this is that companies themselves, their employees, and trainees are experiencing rapid changes. This primarily has to do with digital development. Employees worldwide are constantly available, continuously exposed to a flood of information, and often overwhelmed by separating the relevant from the irrelevant. Many personnel development departments have recognized this, but cannot keep up with the corresponding prepared offers. They usually lack a starting point, a clear definition of employee development.

The study aims to clarify who it is that companies are dealing with today. Who are today’s employees? And what do they need to stay up-to-date in their jobs? According to Bersin, five types can be identified.

1. Overwhelmed type

Between receiving and sending countless emails per day – not to mention meetings, telephone conferences, and the irrepressible burden of information overload – there is increasingly less time for “real” work. This leaves many people very little time for formal training and development – on average, only 1 percent of a typical week. What does it look like in your area?

2. Distracted type

Since everyone is connected virtually, employees are now interrupted every 5 minutes – ironically, often with collaboration tools such as emails and instant messages meant to facilitate cooperation with each other. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Many people check their smartphones up to nine times per hour. Such digital “snacking” can lead to superficial information rather than more valuable activities and insights. How often do you look at your smartphone in an hour?

3. Impatient types

Maintaining the attention of adults for more than a quarter of an hour has always been a challenge. Now, however, attention spans and patience are measured in minutes and seconds – especially on laptops, tablets and smartphones. More than 70 percent of trainees turn to search engines to find out immediately what they need to do for their work. How long can you concentrate and when did you have your last flow?

4. Collaborative types

People also want to learn from their colleagues and share what they know. According to the Bersin by Deloitte study, 80 percent of all workplace learning takes place through business interactions with peers, teammates, and managers – often without involved HR developers. The distribution of knowledge is correspondingly uncoordinated and inconsistent. In the best case, this leads to an at least rudimentary applicable half-knowledge. In the worst case, there are blatant gaps that lead to disorientation and lack of productivity. Because if I do not know how to do it right, I would rather not do it at all to avoid making a mistake. Are you familiar with this phenomenon? Are the training groups also gathered around your coffee machine in the break room rather than coordinated in a workshop?

5. Empowered types

Increasingly fewer people have the time, patience, or inclination to learn on a “just in case” basis. They want to know whether what they have to know is really being used in their daily lives. Only then do they have the necessary motivation to really absorb the knowledge. If this is not the case, many skills have a half-life of less than five years. Nothing is permanent, everyone has to keep on learning without knowing where to get “quickly” secured information. A greater number of people are looking for opportunities for themselves for further education. At least 50 percent of the approximately 10 million people enrolling in open online courses are adults who volunteer for further qualification.

What does this mean for the adaptation of learning strategies?

Companies seeking effective training for tomorrow’s work environment should identify the composition of their workforce, learning strategies, and opportunities accordingly. Entertaining and appealing formats that compensate for reduced attention rates are important.

It is obvious that workplace learning is poisonous for types 1 and 2 and will hardly produce any results: both the overwhelmed and the distracted types are not masters in discipline and self-management. You need guidelines and fixed free-time that are reserved exclusively for learning and do not allow excuses, preferably in the form of face-to-face seminars outside the workplace and, if necessary, even a cell phone ban during class time. Attention and concentration can thus be more effectively focused and distractions avoided.
Sending the impatient and empowered types to a moderated external face-to-face seminar with a fixed daily schedule could prove to be a failure. Short, targeted and, above all, self-determined learning units are much better – e.g. in the form of web-based training, training on demand or dialogue simulations with timely user feedback – “which lead to much higher self-effective success with these target groups than analogue half-day formats.
For the collaborative types, interactive webinars and serious games (gamification) are ideal formats; aligning to fixed dates is no problem for them. Webinars usually have live chats, which allows them to make contact and benchmark themselves against others. The social factor is a big plus, especially in serious games: the participants can connect with others, compete against each other, or simply work together and exchange ideas.

Personnel development that wants to keep up with the times should at least know some modern, innovative working and learning methods. It is best if they also apply these to themselves and set a good example. At this level, they achieve more coherent, continuous learning experiences that better meet trainees’ needs and ultimately help their organizations perform better.

So, who actually works for you? And which type are you?

More information is available at: https://akademie.tuv.com/

Inspire and Empower People

How the “Inspire and Empower People” challenge succeeds

Be honest: Why do you get up every morning and go to work? If you have an answer to this, then you can confidently regard yourself as “inspired”, as personnel managers and managers have recently been calling it. Researchers have found that companies that consistently pursue their thoughts and actions according to a mission statement with a clear value orientation and are able to communicate the concept to their employees in a comprehensible manner are demonstrably more successful in the market than others and generate greater social and economic added value. This value-oriented approach, which encompasses ecology, economy and humanity, is referred to as “purpose-led”. As a guiding principle, “purpose” requires an ethical assessment of all consequences of one’s own actions within and outside the company.

What does this mean for individuals who are increasingly asking about the meaning of their work and who will be in the foreground much more than before in the future and who represent the most important long-term investment from a company perspective? What are the effects of digitisation on their present and future workplace? How should the future of work be shaped when companies have to react quickly and need agile employees? The answer: More responsibility for employees and more freedom – towards self-organization, also referred to as “empowering”. In the future, if self-organization is to be understood as an entrepreneurial design principle and people are increasingly acting in a self-organized manner and also across divisions in order to promote creativity, dynamism and innovation, then people in such organizations must also be empowered to do so. Thus, empowering also means: lifelong learning, e. g. through targeted competence management in the company.

Reduce fears of job loss – through empowering

A good example of the necessity of “inspiring” and “empowering” is the field of production. What demands does digitization place on the professional development of production employees? Does dynamic technological progress turn employees into a small gear and are robots competing with their colleagues or do they still have to do what artificial intelligence cannot? A balanced and adapted personnel development is important. In production, further training does not mean mastering Word and Excel as it does for colleagues at their desks. Rather, the aim is to convey the opportunities of digitization in production and to increase the competence in the safe application of new technologies. Above all, managers in production, i.e. foremen and group leaders, play a special role here, e.g. by reducing fears of job loss through inspiration and empowerment.

Pure technical and methodological knowledge is no longer sufficient

For organizations, it is essential to recognize competence needs in good time and to promote lifelong learning with good competence management as well as dedication, curiosity, enthusiasm or willingness to change. In my opinion, this is more important than ever for companies in the context of digital transformation.

Today, pure technical and methodological knowledge is no longer sufficient to deal with these challenges. Competences take the place of technical and methodological knowledge. In addition to content-related skills, competence includes the ability to act in open situations in a self-organized, responsible and creative manner, to solve problems and to apply knowledge consistently. The purpose is an important framework and also influences the definition of competence requirements. Competencies must be able to develop and grow constantly, and above all they should be allowed to be used and applied.

Read more here: www.tuv.com/innovationstagung