Category Archive Personnel Development

Scapegoat TÜV Rheinland failure culture

How failures can drive innovation

There are failures, which must not happen because the extent of the damage is so monstrous. Exploding steam boilers, unmaintained power plants, or industrial plants endanger human lives. High-risk technology has therefore been regularly tested by the technical monitoring associations for over 100 years. Organizations also have rules, plans, and controlling routines in place to avoid failures or minimize damage. Governments also create legislation that defines correct behavior and the limits within which companies and their stakeholders are allowed to operate. However, this does not always prevent human error. Because people make mistakes. But: mistakes are valuable when causers and their organizations learn from them. However, this requires a culture of failure and learning. This is the only way to prevent repetitions and minimize financial and reputational damage. A culture of error and learning becomes a critical success factor for the introduction of agile corporate structures.

Unlike intentional actions, which may be punishable by law, failures are unintentional deviations from rules and regulations. In most cases, they have little impact. Often it doesn’t even turn out when employees make failures out of scabbiness or stress. The indirect consequences, however, can cause long-term damage. Poor service or recurring staff mistakes can lead to damage to reputation or to customer churn and lost revenue. If such errors happen in a hospital or nursing home, people can die as a result. If a faulty or manipulated software does not affect dozens but millions of customers, this can seriously get a company into trouble. Financial and reputational damage, as well as fines resulting from court rulings, can jeopardize the very existence of groups of companies. Economic history is full of companies that have relegated from the Champions League to the regional league or disappeared in just a few years.

Complexity, uncertainty and acceleration increase with digitalization

In contrast to the pre-digital age, the introduction of computers, the Internet, and algorithms to automate processes has increased speed. Innovation cycles follow at ever shorter intervals, forcing companies to act quickly as a result of global and digitally accelerated competitive pressure. Thinking and clean analysis are replaced by hectic activity. Errors are inevitable in such situations. In a study by Ernst & Young entitled “Error culture in German companies,” the consulting firm interviewed exactly 800 employees and 218 managers from the mechanical engineering, transport and logistics, automotive manufacturer and supplier, banking, and insurance sectors. Approximately 80 percent of managers stated that they had made failures in the last two years. As a result, they disrupted operations, delayed projects, and caused reputational damage. And according to the majority assessment of the employees, failures were also covered up in their companies. Because the employees said that only 45 percent of the managers could admit their errors. 57 percent of employees also believe that flaws in companies are covered up because employees have to fear that they will suffer consequences as messengers of bad news. And only 40 percent in top management talk openly about errors and thus give a positive signal that they deal with errors constructively and productively.

Development teams are more successful with a culture of error

In the reality of German companies, however, the culture and management of errors are rather bleak. Only nine percent of employees experience productive handling of errors in their company. And in only four percent, there is an error culture that promotes open communication across hierarchical levels. This finding is frightening, especially as there is probably a greater willingness at the team level to talk about failures. This is also urgently required because more and more companies are introducing agile project groups beyond IT development, delegating responsibility, and reducing hierarchical levels. As long as agile units achieve their goals, they are celebrated. If they fail and mistakes happen, old patterns of blaming and scapegoating often take hold. There is no systematic analysis to learn from failure. Agile units, however, make mistakes because they usually operate on treacherous terrain with a high degree of complexity and drive the transformation processes in a company forward. Only a systematically established error culture that functions at all levels and fast management of errors can remedy this situation. Companies could learn this from the agile development methods known from IT, such as Scrum, Design Thinking, and DevOps. Because here, productive handling of errors in the development process is part of the system. During the development of these programming methods, cost-benefit-oriented handling of failures has been established. Errors and their rapid elimination are institutionalized as usual. Since not all requirements can be known at the beginning of a complex IT project, since completely new functions prove to be useful in the development process and since feedback with the client also results in completely unexpected challenges, regular review loops are a matter of course. Agile development methods are, therefore, relatively fault-tolerant in the beginning and organize fast feedback loops after each development stage, so-called sprints. Instead of investing in error prevention, agile methods integrate evaluation and rapid test management in incremental processes. This leads to the relaxed handling of failures in project teams. A black Peter game to prove failure to individual team members becomes superfluous. The involvement of the client in the test management increases transparency. And with this error culture, an open approach and a quick correction are created, which in turn increases the pace of development.

Integrating fault management into corporate culture

Now one cannot compare a medium-sized company or a group of companies with a project group of developers, which perhaps has 15 or 30 employees. But companies can learn from the principles of agile process design. They face three challenges: Error management needs a cultural anchoring, needs clear structures, and has to start with the executives. Cultural anchoring is part of the corporate guidelines. In this, the company should define itself as a learning organization that deals openly with failures, promote constructive criticism internally at all hierarchical levels, and strives for transparent communication in dealing with errors. Structurally, a simple system of mutual evaluation should ensure that failures can be identified and discussed in good time. All those involved must recognize the added value that structural fault management offers. Because with the experience that positive changes result from it, and everyone benefits from it, the willingness and motivation to change also increases. Perhaps the most difficult challenge is to establish an error culture in management at all management levels. For it is not enough to make commitments and make Sunday speeches at works meetings. As role models, their behavior and handling of mistakes are decisive for how an error culture can be put into practice in a company. To encourage managers to adopt an open culture of error, training, and coaching offers as well as analyses of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists (IO-Psych) have proven their worth. Here, occupational psychologists accompany managers and their teams at various levels. With their expertise, individual or group consultations, they can positively promote the process so that error management can be successfully established.

Conclusion

Through failure management, companies can not only limit their financial and reputational damage caused by unavoidable errors. In the long term, the ability of an organization to learn increases. In the minds of managers and employees, a process mindset with joint evaluation emerges as to how teams, departments, and areas can improve their work and also their cooperation with customers, cooperation partners, and suppliers. Through networking, joint reflection, and open communication, companies are becoming more agile overall and can thus better master the challenges of digitalization.

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Digital Workplace: Employees need skills and mindset

Mobility, flexibility and networked cooperation play an essential role in today’s world of work. Companies can better meet these challenges by introducing the Digital Workplace. The Digital Workplace is a central work environment that employees can access from any location and at any time. It comprises all sets of access infrastructures, applications and device platforms required by information or knowledge workers to perform their work and collaborate. All data is in one place and is quickly and easily accessible. At the digital workplace, employees are more self-determined, freer and therefore more efficient. That is the company view. Employees may see things differently. What are the consequences? 

A central working environment that inspires collaboration and teamwork, intelligently links knowledge and know-how and provides integrated data and information in a smart way. What sounds like music to entrepreneurs and process optimizers would be formulated in a completely different way by some employees: “I have to be available at all times” – “I have less free time” – “Sooner or later I will get cut off”. To put it clearly: the skepticism towards the Digital Workplace is prevalent among the working population. In May 2019, the German opinion research portal Civey asked about the expectations of employees regarding the development of the workload due to digitization. 44.2 percent of respondents believe it would increase significantly or rather. Just as many participants said that people were not at the center of the development of digital technologies; only 20.7 percent believed this. After all, many recognized the advantages of a digital workplace. All in all, however, despite all fears, the acceptance of digitization in professional life is increasing. In an online survey conducted by market researchers at EARSandEYES in May 2019, 60 percent regarded digital change as a gain.

24/7 collaboration increases productivity

Concerns about the Digital Workplace as well as hopes of improving work processes are justified. The former are based on the recognition that the Digital Workplace intervenes massively in the work processes of every employee. A digital workplace requires quick reactions, willing sharing of knowledge and also means that in a team, for example, everyone can see whether someone is available online. Mutual control and transparency can also reduce silo thinking, domination and intrigue. In addition, the Digital Workplace makes classic departmental and hierarchical structures obsolete because applications are all on one platform, isolated solutions can be resolved, data management becomes more consistent, collaboration functions support cross-departmental project structures and promote rapid reaction to changing market and customer requirements. Old power and responsibility relationships are a thing of the past.

With mobile access to business applications, time- and location-dependent working time models are lost. This means that employees can be reached around the clock, especially in virtual teams distributed around the globe. Even if this facilitates collaboration with colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners and increases productivity, the real-time flow of communication can become a burden. Dedicated employees, in particular, run the risk of losing their work-life balance if they can be reached at all times and are under constant internal pressure.

Technology also needs a digital cultural change

In addition to the burnout risks, companies should also pick up employees who are skeptical or hostile to new technologies. To ensure that the Digital Workplace actually supports agile work leads to improved collaboration across existing silo structures and increases productivity, users must also adapt their work processes and self-management. The introduction of technology in itself is not yet digitalization, and no employee changes his or her working method by work instructions, becoming more open and accessible for collaborative sharing of knowledge. Nor can a willingness to help or commitment to new challenges in other departments be ordered. Therefore, with the introduction of digital workplaces, companies should also initiate a digital cultural change. The “rules of the game” can help to promote acceptance of the technology and the new work processes and simultaneously prevent a complete dissolution of boundaries between work and private life. A company must be present 24/7, but not its employees. E-mails at night or on weekends should be taboo in a digital culture. Downtime should not be frowned upon but encouraged. In such a culture, employees must also develop their own digital skills. It is helpful, for example, if HR departments offer systematic competency management for employees. The result is to support employees in expanding their learning abilities to expand their competencies through further training follows the content and technical requirements. This is the only way to create a new mindset with which digital processes can be lived successfully, without sending employees from one overload to the next.

Conclusion: Digitalization must put people at the center of attention

There is no alternative to accelerated digitization of all areas of work. But dealing with technology and people will probably decide how successful companies will be in global digital competition. In addition to technology, this also requires the commitment of employees.

Human-Centered Workplace: The Digital Workplace is more than the introduction of innovative technology; it must consider the needs and requirements of all employees. Ideally, the Digital Workplace places the employee at the center and examines his or her working methods and processes, while the Digital Workplace becomes the Human-Centered Workplace. Daily recurring processes and complex tasks should be automated in a way that they become really easier for the user. The HR and IT departments ideally work hand in hand in the development and implementation of the Digital Workplace.
Employee development: Changes will hardly be possible without competent employees. They need to be trained in applications, be able to recognize connections and develop awareness for the advantages of the new way of working. Important: IT employees should also be involved here.  Active competence management is based, among other things, on a systematic GAP analysis of employees and compensates for possible weaknesses in the use of tools and new structures.
Promoting employee satisfaction: Freedoms such as flexible, self-determined and locally self-determined work such as home office and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) promote the acceptance of the Digital Workplace, the commitment and satisfaction of employees can increase. However, higher productivity and better performance should not be cannibalized by increased pressure on employees.
Workplace Support: There is no need for information overload. Technology today allows us to provide employees with the information they need to do their jobs, in the right form, at the right time. Every company has to find its way.

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BlendedLearning_TÜVRheinland Academy

Blended Learning: great opportunities for competence development

Blended Learning? Only a few people know what is meant with this term. Yet the hybrid learning concept has long been the order of the day in many places: the hybrid learning concept combines online and face-to-face educational offerings. Experience has shown that this makes it easier to build up operational competence, especially in technical areas. What you should consider when developing your own strategy.

Universities are increasingly supplementing classroom courses with web-based training, companies are using digital solutions to make it easier for new employees to get started or are using e-learning platforms to develop their own staff in a targeted manner. This enables employees to decide for themselves when and where they want to learn – whether at home or on the road. But hybrid learning offers do not only increase the flexibility of knowledge transfer. They also pave the way for lower costs within the company and greater learning success for employees. This is the result of a ten-year meta-analysis conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. No wonder that blended learning is also enjoying growing popularity in the corporate environment: in the USA alone, the proportion of company training hours within the framework of integrated learning concepts almost doubled from 35 percent to 69 percent in 2018. This is not least due to the ongoing digitalization: In the past, blended learning programs were primarily about combining presence and online offerings. Today, however, they also offer companies a wide range of interactive learning tools – and thus completely new learning worlds.

You should consider the following when developing your own blended learning concepts:

  • Get feedback: 360-degree feedback is the be-all and end-all of successful personnel development. Online tools set the right course for this. They enable employees and managers to assess each other at the click of a mouse. On this basis, blended learning offerings can then be developed to fit.
  • Interlocking hybrid learning offers: Integrated learning concepts convey knowledge through a logical combination of different forms of learning. For this to succeed, playful simulations, virtual excursions, and social cooperation must interlock seamlessly. In other words, blended learning is a process. It is not enough to make the offers available. They must also be continuously supervised and further developed.
  • Staying in touch: Interactive learning offers require a lot of self-discipline and personal responsibility on the part of the participants. This makes it all the more important for learners to have a contact person when they have questions. According to studies, interactive discussion opportunities and timely feedback are an important success factor for hybrid continuing education programs.
  • Personalize knowledge transfer: A major advantage of blended learning is that training courses can be tailored to the individual needs of each employee. Instead of consuming superfluous information using the watering can principle, everyone learns only what they really need for their job.
  • Using external content: Internal company learning content should be enriched with external online content. In this way, synergy effects can be exploited and modern learning experiences made possible. With the help of digital tools, suitable content can be identified in the twinkling of an eye.
  • Tread new paths: Frontal knowledge transfer is out. Face-to-face events are ideal for deepening knowledge acquired online through role-plays or discussions. Innovative technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality also enable “learning by doing” in risk-free environments.
  • Eliminate barriers to entry: 75 percent of the skills employees need for their job are acquired in their daily work. Social media tools, chatbots and online discussion forums make knowledge available in the company at the click of a mouse.
  • Check learning success: After continuing education is before continuing education: Blended learning is a continuous process. Accordingly, it is important to check the learning success of employees after completion of appropriate programs – preferably again in the form of an independent competence measurement. This allows potential shortcomings in the interactive learning offering to be identified and closed.

Those who do not have the necessary know-how in-house should rely on external know-how when developing and implementing hybrid learning concepts. Globally active competence developers have experience in the creation of tailor-made learning architectures, which contribute precisely to the goals of the company.

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ABO psychologists AMD TÜV

If the boss is the problem – and how I/O psychologists may help

Poor management, a lack of conflict, error and criticism culture can cost a company dearly. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, demographic developments and digitalization, the demand for services related to mental health at the workplace are increasing more and more. I/O psychologists (Industrial and Organizational Psychology), for example, are valuable support for organizations. But exactly this is their job and what are their strengths?

For a long time, the mental health of employees has received little attention. With the increasing density of work, ever higher demands and increasing burdens due to digital availability, mental health has also been the focus of attention for a few years now. By 2018, German health insurers had reported an ever-increasing number of cases of mental illness. They are now the most common cause of early retirement and occupational disability in Germany and, with 15.2 percent, are still the third most common cause of absenteeism. Poor leadership, a lack of conflict, error and criticism culture are sooner or later a business-critical issue that can endanger the continued existence of the organization. Above all, people can be overloaded to the point of burnout if they are only supposed to function on the factual level during change processes and are not heard. Fears, emotions and internal and external conflicts are still far too rarely discussed.

Looking behind the façade and promoting healthy cooperation

Unlike psychotherapists, I/O psychologists are not clinicians but analyze an organization and its actors at all hierarchical levels from a socio-psychological perspective. They look behind the façade of a company and analyze social relationships and interactions. How do individual people feel when, for example, they constantly experience themselves in change situations as a result of digitalization? To what extent do the demands and reality of a company’s social dealings soften and how does this affect the perception and behavior of employees? How does a manager lead and communicate? Are emotional needs addressed in communication in addition to factual issues, especially in change situations? And how does a company deal with conflicts, mistakes, and fears? Does a manager then also address the relationship levels between conflict parties and works up disturbed relationships in such a way that it can then continue on a healthy working level? I/O psychologists need a pronounced communicative and social competence. They must ask the right questions and above all be able to listen. They must moderate conversations and be emphatic and sympathetic to people of all hierarchies. Above all, they must impart knowledge and methods on how healthy cooperation in companies, departments or teams should and can be successful.

High qualification requirements for I/O psychologists

Ambitious providers recruit only graduates of a diploma or master’s degree course in psychology. In Germany, the subject has a numerus clause of 1.0. Other courses of study in psychology often do not fulfill the specialist and methodological knowledge that is ideally available. One recognizes quality providers by the fact that they submit enterprises no run-of-the-mill-offers, instead these can clarify beforehand, where the pain points are, what the enterprise needs and expects as purposeful solutions. Even though there are only a few legal requirements for I/O psychologists, large providers also attach great importance to the qualification of their colleagues along with the methodological and technical developments in corporate psychology research and practice.

Interdisciplinary cooperation

In 2013, the German legislator also recognized that mental health is a high value in a modern, synchronized and digitalized working world with increasingly older employees. It, therefore, included a guideline in the Occupational Health and Safety Act that all employers, regardless of the size of their company, must regularly carry out a risk analysis of psychological stress at the workplace. However, the guidelines for the implementation of the “Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy” do not stipulate that such risk analysis must be prepared by psychologists. For example, at AMD TÜV it has been agreed that the psychologists will be in charge of the process, will advise on the methodology and will play a key role in supporting communication. Occupational physicians and safety specialists must also be involved. The cooperation in prevention teams with occupational medicine, occupational health and safety, occupational health promotion and occupational integration management is necessary in order to deal with the complex issues relating to occupational health and safety in companies.

TÜV Rheinland Academy Digital Competence

How TÜV Rheinland Academy empowers digital competence

How do I move safely on the net? How do I recognize a fake profile? How do I judge online communication, how do I distinguish real news from fake news? What is a Meme? Where do I reveal too much of my private life and become a potential victim of identity theft? These are all questions of digital literacy to which children and young people should have an answer. This makes them strong and resistant to the dangers of the internet and prepares them for their professional future. So far, however, digital competence is neither a teaching subject nor part of teacher training in Germany. TÜV Rheinland Academy in Germany is changing this – for example as a partner of DigiCamps. The resonance is unprecedented and has in the meantime the format of a movement, better said in the net speech: DigiCamps goes viral. The aim is to enable the specialists and managers of tomorrow to develop safely and healthily and to start here as early as possible: with schools and teachers.

2017 was the start of “DigiCamps – Life in Balance.” Since then, a republic-wide series has emerged that provides students, teachers, and parents with orientation on the World Wide Web. To provide didactically and pedagogically valuable information about the opportunities and risks of using the internet the social enterprise BG 3000 Service GmbH, the health insurance BARMER and TÜV Rheinland Academy Germany developed smart camps, teacher camps, trainee camps, and DigiCamps. Barmer is sponsoring the initiative, TÜV Rheinland Academy is one of the leading competence developers on board as part of the digital transformation. The primary motivation is that the acquisition of digital competence has to start early. Today and even more in the future, it belongs to the essential teaching contents such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Parents and teachers must not be left alone with this task.

Optimizing the digital self and avoiding digital stress

A DigiCamp lasts three days and has a modular structure. It is aimed at students, mainly middle school students, teachers, and parents. In interactive workshops, they learn the safe and above all good use of digital media. The trainer teams consist of media educators, psychologists, nutrition and fitness experts and, above all, well-known social media influencers. Together, the participants deal with all facets of internet use. Questions about the functioning of Snapchat, Instagram, etc. are dealt with. The participants deal with the individual challenge of how to optimize their online self. They learn how to recognize addictive behavior in themselves and others and how to handle digital stress. By dealing with their usage patterns and without moral forefinger, the DigiCamps provide recommendations and orientation. Social media and mobile devices are part of life, but good use of them needs to be learned.

Hackers create “aha” effects

The DigiCamps start with impressive demonstrations that IT security specialists prepare according to age. With live hacking experiments, adults and teenagers will experience how quickly an e-mail account with weak passwords can be hacked. They are amazed when they experience the consequences of a travel ticket posted on Facebook and a thumbs up. A thumb recorded with an ordinary smartphone camera can be used to manipulate the fingerprint sensor on a mobile device. These “aha” effects about an unconsidered posting of personal information have a healing effect. Those who have participated in the DigiCamp will at least question their user behavior and ultimately change it.

Influencers clarify

Educating in the best sense of the word is also done by social media giants at the DigiCamps, who have tens of thousands of subscribers on Instagram or YouTube. For example, Irina Engelke (287,000 followers) and Laura Grosch (132,000 followers) report on their Instagram channels during the DigiCamps. Sebastian Meichsner from Bullshit TV, among others, will talk about their YouTube projects with over 1.8 million followers.

Influencers of this kind, who are still in adolescence themselves, inform their peers about the mechanisms of action of these popular platforms. In the workshops, they appeal to their practical experience to use their minds in dealing with social media. Under their guidance and accompanied by pedagogues, the participants on the second and third day create their videos, create blogs, or other digital formats. They also deal with conditions of production and reception. In this way, children and young people learn playfully and concretely how to deal responsibly with these media.

Great interest in the format also from third parties

By the end of 2019, DigiCamps should have taken place in at least 100 schools. The objective of the project is that the teaching staff will then be able to offer their own teaching formats for digital competence in their schools with the extensive teaching materials of the initiative. In the meantime, word of success has spread, and the unique role played by TÜV Rheinland Academy in the interdisciplinary project has become known. Further organizations in Germany and Switzerland are interested in the realization of DigiCamps at schools and with education providers.

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Skilled Worker of India are going to come to Germany

Skilled workers from all over the world: Recruiting made easy for companies

There is a shortage of skilled workers in Germany. The lack already leads to sales losses in many companies. This is why TÜV Rheinland Academy has developed a practice-oriented model with which it is possible to recruit qualified specialists from all over the world on time. The first automotive mechatronics technicians to work at Hyundai dealers in Germany will be coming from India these days. TÜV Rheinland Academy takes over everything that burdens companies. How does the process work?

Hardly any medium-sized company or group is satisfied with the recruitment of skilled workers in Germany. Depending on the study, up to 450,000 well-trained specialists are lacking each year, mainly in the STEM subjects, i.e., Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Since other countries in the world are much more consistent in their qualification of STEM, international recruiting is a sensible way for industries and companies to cover the shortage of specialists and to match demand and need perfectly. If only it weren’t for the lack of contacts to suitable applicants, the language barriers, and the associated bureaucracy to allow international specialists to enter the country. Just thinking about it might make some HR departments feel overwhelmed. Even though the law on the immigration of skilled workers has lowered some hurdles, specialized know-how is needed to organize the legal prerequisites for the migration of immigrants into the local labor market.

TÜV Rheinland Academy has now developed a model with which companies can meet their demand for skilled workers in a targeted and timely manner – without having to worry about the associated formalities and the sophisticated recruitment and qualification process – to overcome precisely these hurdles. Above all, they can be sure that the new employees actually meet the desired requirement profile.

The Academy is currently running pilot projects with various partners from the motor vehicle sector. The initial pilot project was launched at the beginning of 2019 to meet the demand for automotive mechatronics technicians at Hyundai Motor Deutschland GmbH. By 2022, TÜV Rheinland Academy is to recruit up to 250 specialists in India. The first 100 have already been won and are currently being prepared with their local colleagues for their deployment in Germany. The new employees commit themselves for at least 36 months. If an employee is absent prematurely, TÜV Rheinland Academy will fill the position again.

Good qualification and motivation
With the new model, the client benefits from the expertise of TÜV Rheinland Academy in the area of competence development and from the internationality of TÜV Rheinland Academy in more than 26 countries. Cooperation within the TÜV Rheinland Group begins with a competent local recruitment process and continues through to integration management in Germany.
In the current case, the Indian branch of TÜV Rheinland Academy identifies suitable candidates on the basis of the requirements profile drawn up by the client. In India, for example, there are seven university degrees that are comparable to the occupational profile and competence profile of the local mechatronics technician. The shortlist will include applicants who speak excellent English and have at least two years of practical work experience. Together with the client’s personnel, TÜV Rheinland Academy conducts the first interviews with applicants. Besides, the candidates are thoroughly prepared both linguistically and technically for the future requirements in Germany. Via language schools and in future also by means of virtual language training, they acquire language level A2 with a certificate and take the B1 examination in the first three months after arrival and are further qualified to B2 if required.
If there is a need for further professional training, the specialists to be placed are trained in the contents by TÜV Rheinland Academy with online learning that has been tried and tested over many years. The complete materials of the dual German vocational training as a mechatronics technician form the basis.

Complex procedures for professional recognition and entry
Once the mechatronics engineers have signed their employment contract, the TÜV Rheinland Academy team in India will continue to guide them through the process. Among other things, it prepares them thoroughly for the cultural and labor law conditions in Germany – supported by the team of TÜV Rheinland Academy in Germany. The German colleagues take care of the recognition of the Indian qualification certificates in this case and the residence regulations. TÜV Rheinland Academy has agreed with the Cologne Chamber of Crafts (HWK) on a procedure for the examination of certificates so that formal recognition by the decentralized HWK can take place quickly. Visas and other proofs, according to the recently passed law on the immigration of skilled workers complete the preparation for entry. By the time the plane takes off for Germany, around 30 documents per person will have to be processed, partially translated, and certified. This effort has already been standardized to such an extent that TÜV Rheinland Academy will be able to bring numerous specialists to Germany every month in the future if required.

It is still a pilot project, but it is starting off so promisingly that it will be extended to other countries in the international TÜV Rheinland network as well as other technical professions and sectors. Numerous other companies from medium-sized businesses and industry have already expressed a great deal of interest. Soon we will report on the progress of this project – the best thing is to come back soon.

TÜV Rheinland Academy_from professions_competencies

New Work: From profession to competence

If you’re going to remain competitive in the labor market, you have to develop your competencies. If you want to monetize your workforce, you have to be flexible and willing to learn. Hardly anyone works his whole life in the same profession. This applies to both companies and employees. In the USA, sometimes competencies are already more important than the vocational qualification once acquired. Is that the future?

The ever shorter half-life of once obtained knowledge has been further shortened with the advent of the computer, rationalization, and automation. Since the 1980s,  it has become increasingly clear that lifelong learning is essential in many occupations. The professional idea, which is based on having undergone a clearly defined education and which has since developed further through real on-the-job training, is becoming more and more defensive. Today, the profession is at best an entrance ticket to the foyer of professional life, which after a few years is hardly suitable as a ticket for the next levels of the career ladder.

New Work in the Age of Digitalization

In the developed economies of the West, further development of the professional idea can already be observed in the nineties. In the USA, labor market researchers and labor ministers such as Robert Reich already recognized in the first Clinton Administration since 1993 that the dependent middle class needed access to the labor market even without a university degree. Inspired by the theses of “New Work”, which the Austrian-American social philosopher Frithjof Bergman founded in the 1980s, employment and education programs were developed that no longer addressed the deficits of the rural unemployed, but rather the existing competence that needed to be developed. Starting from the thesis, which has been refuted today, that the job system is at its end, the freedom of action and independence of people beyond gainful employment must be promoted. After the New Work was discussed a dozen times up and down, the term is now experiencing a renaissance with digitalization, but with different signs. Again, the motive is to open access to the labor market to a detached “working class”. Unlike Bergman, however, it is not a question of the emancipation of the former industrial workers in the “Rust Belt”, as the Democrats call them “White Trash”. Rather, it is digitization and the shortage of skilled workers and the associated lack of digital skills in companies that have led to the emergence of new qualification programs in the USA.

TechHire relies on competencies beyond formal qualification

If you can do the job, you should get the job: Since 2015, the social enterprise TechHire has been expanding in the USA, operating over 200 training facilities in 72 municipalities in social partnership with 1,300 employers. The model is similar to a dual training program according to the German model. The experts use online entrance tests to identify competencies and interests. Discussions with potential employers follow this. After a few months of all-day training, the participants complete an internship in a company. A wide variety of local TechHire companies specialize in qualifications in technology industries. Specifically, they have improved matching between job seekers, employers, teachers, policy-makers and local training groups: the online tool “training finder“, developed by LinkedIn’s business network, links relevant information on competence profiles and income opportunities, skills required, training programs and vacancies for different job advertisements.

Thus even applicants who do not formally have any qualifications, but who have acquired competencies even in self-study, have a chance to specifically promote them in order to get them into jobs. Autodidacts, for example, who work on computers in their spare time also have a chance to get a job as a software tester with 40,000 dollars after a qualification. TechHire’s competence-oriented approach has already enabled companies to fill 4,000 vacancies that would otherwise remain vacant today.

Conclusion: Competence development creates a vocation

TechHire and its partners have thus managed in an unbureaucratic and, above all, intelligent way to make a contribution to reducing the shortage of skilled workers in companies and to imparting new individual perspectives to people by promoting competencies. A mission to which TÜV Rheinland Academy has committed itself, particularly in the field of technical professions. Digitalization is constantly creating new requirement profiles for which it is necessary to establish appropriate competence models that enable people and organizations to remain capable of action and to actively shape both the present and the future. Artificial intelligence, digitization and automation will create many new jobs that will have to be taken over by today’s “skilled workers”. The way there is competence development on the job, actively supported by companies that have recognized the value of lifelong learning. It is also important to lay the right foundations in the field of initial vocational training for young people and to start thinking about tomorrow’s requirements today. Application cases of TÜV Rheinland Academy, which as a partner supports governments in various countries worldwide in establishing competence development via the dual training system according to the German model, close the technical education gap between state schools and degrees and the requirements of the industry. In this way, people and companies are actively enabled to master the challenges of digital transformation. In individual cases, personnel certifications ensure that competencies are always up to date and ensure a uniform quality level of the employees in the company.

 

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OTSecurityProfessional; TÜV Rheinland

New certification initiative to increase safety of industrial plants

Hackers are increasingly attacking operational technology systems in industrial plants. These systems detect physical effects or control motors, pumps or valves in industrial system. These systems are increasingly connected to the Internet in order to improve efficiency or help gain a competitive edge. These systems or  components may have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber-attacks. As  cybersecurity knowledge and skills in this domain are lacking TÜV Rheinland has developed the “Certified Operational Technology Cybersecurity Professional (TÜV)” certification program, which supports companies in identifying and improving team skills and thus increasing the overall cybersecurity of industrial and operational technology facilities.

The Triton malware attack reported in December 2017 was the first publicly documented cyber-attack on an industrial control infrastructure (ICS) designed to interfere with the operation of a Safety Instrumented System (SIS) used to protect an industrial plant as a fail safe against fire or explosion. According to experts, this incident was an urgent warning that attackers with geopolitical motives are now targeting security-critical systems.

The aim of attacks is usually to obtain intellectual property, trade secrets and technical information but many companies are unaware of the dangers cyber-attacks pose to their plants. In addition, their controls for cybersecurity are usually not tailored to the protection of OT systems. According to the new study “Industrial Security in 2019: A TÜV Rheinland Perspective“, 40 percent of respondents say they have never investigated the risks posed by cyber-attacks on industrial plants. A further 34 percent do not know whether their own company has ever investigated these risks. In addition, only one in five companies has tailored its cybersecurity measures specifically to industrial or OT facilities. This is alarming, as attacks from the network can shut down entire plants. This leads to production losses with high consequential costs and, in the case of critical infrastructures, can also have an impact on the overall security of supply and the smooth operation of modern society.

If production facilities or critical infrastructures – such as those of energy suppliers – are networked, this offers additional targets for cyber-attacks. Almost 70 percent of the respondents to the survey came from the manufacturing industry; in addition, the automotive industry, logistics companies, the oil and gas industry, public institutions as well as the telecommunications, energy and chemical industries were represented. The aim of the study was to better understand how companies detect and take protective measures against cyber-attacks. Because traditional knowledge in the field of cybersecurity is often not sufficient to meet the complex requirements of the industrial, networked world, TÜV Rheinland has developed this new certification for experts in the field of industrial cybersecurity.

More quality for the industry

With the new personal certification, TÜV Rheinland is responding to the increasing demand from specialists. In such a complex area as cybersecurity, a certification program from a neutral third party such as TÜV Rheinland can help to align companies’ expertise with the requirements of industrial cybersecurity and further professionalize industrial companies in this area.

The certification program actively evaluates candidates through a combination of professional career review, interview and technical review. Participants must have at least ten years’ experience in cybersecurity, including five years in a leadership role. The candidates prepare a case study as part of the examination. After a critical review by TÜV Rheinland experts, they will be invited to an online presentation and technical question and answer session. Experts who meet the standard receive a certificate from TÜV Rheinland and can use the title “Certified Operational Technology Cybersecurity Professional (TÜV)”. Re-certification by TÜV Rheinland is required every three years. Further information on the program can be found at:
www.tuv.com/en/otcybersecurityprofessional.

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Where do most artificial intelligence professionals work?

In general, Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the attempt to reproduce certain human decision-making structures, e.g. by building and programming a computer in such a way that it can work on problems relatively independently. Often, however, this also refers to imitated intelligence, whereby “intelligent behavior” is to be simulated using mostly simple algorithms, for example in computer games. The understanding of the term artificial intelligence often reflects the enlightenment idea of “man as machine”, the imitation of which is aimed at the so-called strong AI: to create an intelligence that is to mechanize human thinking,[1] or to construct and build a machine that reacts intelligently or behaves like a human being. (Source: Wikipedia) But even artificial intelligence cannot get far without humans. According to a survey on LinkedIn, the USA has the highest number of Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts in the world.

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Why personnel certifications are more important than ever today

A highly engineered and networked society requires the actors to continuously acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills. Fewer and fewer people today are still in a position to survey the current key competencies within an industry, let alone across industries. This is a situation that everyone knows who decides to buy a car or a more complex electrical appliance. More and more consumers are turning to the test reports of TÜV or test portals before buying in order to orient themselves and evaluate the differences between manufacturers. In the field of professional training, the certification of individuals plays a similar role. What it can do and what to look out for when selecting providers.

The professional training market is characterized by a hardly manageable diversity of more or less well-known or unknown training providers and certifiers. They all issue certificates about the success of their participants in their advanced training courses, which are called certificates, diploma, attendance certificates, etc.. Independent personnel certification bodies such as PersCert TÜV use standardized and transparent test procedures based on internationally stringent standards to determine whether people possess specific knowledge and skills. If these can be objectively established, the personnel certification body shall issue a final certificate. These final certificates do not have unlimited validity, but are renewed after a recertification procedure. The prerequisite for recertification is that the certified person keeps his or her knowledge up to date.

Why personnel certification is worthwhile for both employees and companies

Various occupational groups can be tested and certified. TÜV Rheinland, for example, offers certified qualifications in the areas of production and technology, quality, sustainability, occupational safety and environmental protection, energy, IT and data protection, health services, security, services and sales. With success: Every year, around 30,000 people make use of the more than 750 certification programs of the independent and accredited certification body PersCert TÜV. For a good reason. Employees benefit in many ways:

  • Opportunities for specialization: Personnel certificates make it possible to specialize in a targeted manner, to design one’s own career path to fit precisely and to get step by step closer to one’s dream job.
  • Door opener for attractive jobs: Personnel certificates are a seal of quality.
  • Improved career prospects: Personnel certificates not only illustrate the skills and competencies that a person possesses, they also demonstrate commitment and thus provide important arguments for the next step on the career ladder.

But it is also worthwhile for companies to invest in the personnel certification of their own employees. For the following reasons, among others:

  • Uniform service and production standards
    Personnel certifications help to establish uniform standards throughout the company. In production as well as in quality management.
  • Improved competitive opportunities
    Personnel certifications contribute to improved competitiveness. Customers and partners know that they can rely on the expertise of the employees.
  • International Recognition
    Personnel certification procedures based on DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024 are recognized worldwide. This makes certificates globally comprehensible and comparable. You can make it clear to business partners and customers that your employees are well trained in terms of their competencies. Because personnel certifications by PersCert TÜV are subject to the quality standards “Made in Germany”.
  • Targeted personnel development
    Personnel certifications are a first-class tool in the fight against the increasing shortage of skilled workers.
  • Motivated employees
    With personnel certificates you enable your employees to sharpen their own professional profile in a targeted manner. This contributes to their motivation and increases employee loyalty.

What should be considered when selecting a personnel certification body?

(1) The status of a participant’s certification should be publicly documented and should be available to interested parties for consultation at any time. In this way, doubts about the authenticity of a certificate or its content can be dispelled at any time. At PersCert TÜV, for example, the personnel certificates are documented and available for inspection at www.certipedia.com.

(2) The personnel certification should be carried out according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024, as is the case with PersCert TÜV. The DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024 standard specifies internationally recognized requirements for a certification body. It is thus the basis for the high recognition of the certificates in business and administration.

Conclusion: In order to master the rapid progress in an ever more complex world, professional competencies are required. It is essential to know what knowledge and skills these qualifications actually comprise. Ultimately, this scope is decisive for the quality of results of services or products that customers of companies and organizations expect from individuals. Personnel certification makes the scope and timeliness of knowledge measurable. Learn more.