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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

70-20-10 Learning model

70-20-10? What still applies to personnel developers after 30 years – and what does not.

70-20-10: Over three decades these have been the dream measures for personnel developers: 70 percent we learn in the job, 20 percent in social interaction with one another and 10 percent in the context of formal further training. 30 years have passed since Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger first published this insight in their book “The Career Architect Development Planner”, based on studies by the US Center for Creative Leadership, a global provider of executive education. Many found this so convincing that the 70-20-10 model is still in use in many companies throughout the world today.

But – how useful can such a model still be today? A lot has changed in the last three decades in the working world, and digitization in companies, in particular, is progressing highly dynamically.

What’s important here: previously, the model referred primarily to the development of managers. This does not mean that it is completely irrelevant for lower or middle management employees. Today’s studies, however, would take into account the entire company structure and the entire workforce. With the keyword of digitization in mind, this means that an update of learning models and personnel development is needed. Fortunately, that already exists.

The Update

In 2017, Training Industry Inc, an information portal for the continuing education industry in the USA, conducted a study with around 960 employees. Colleagues also wanted to know where employees learn the most today: at work, in the social sector or in in-service training? The result: With the current test persons from the USA they came up with the 55-25-20 formula.
To find out whether this result would also be internationally valid, the research team added further professionals from the USA, UK, India, Singapore and Australia in 2018. Subsequently, the researchers came to an average of 45-27-28, values that also deviate from 55-25-20, but clearly no longer point in the direction of 70-20-10. Thus, 55-25-20 is an average value.
According to their findings, there are significant factors that influence the result:

In particular, people learn on the job

  • when the company is very large.
  • employees have a high average age.
  • team building is very small.

In this instance, social interaction mainly provides for an improved learning experience

  • if the team building is very good.
  • employees have a low average age.

Formal training is then accepted above all,

  • if the companies are smaller.

What can we learn from this? Personnel developers must determine for themselves which formula is right for their own company – or obtain external support from experts.
The good news: the original assumption of the 70-20-10 model can still be seen as the basis for the new findings. What has changed is the proportion of learning sources and how they interact with each other. Much of the learning takes place in the workplace or through social interaction. This is nothing new and also no reason to concentrate exclusively on these two sources of learning, especially not at the expense of formal training. Thus, the study also comes to the conclusion that in-service training is the key to maximizing learning outcomes from the other two sources – especially in times when knowledge is growing faster but also devaluing faster than ever before.

And: Effective further training for the working world of tomorrow has long been more than just classroom learning. Digitization and the current state of the art enable many exciting interactive formats today, from e-learning to blended learning web-based training to serious games, audiocast and dialogue simulation. Such solutions encourage curiosity, because in this instance, the user can learn in a relaxed way without the consequences of mistakes. At the same time, he receives immediate feedback on his actions, which leads to self-impacting successes – and in the end is perhaps not so dissimilar to the feedback he receives in interacting with colleagues in the workplace.