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Internal Communication_TUV_Rheinland

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.

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.

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.