The Future of Personnel Management

Experts have long recognized a global competition for networked leadership in the future. How do executives meet the new generations of employees? And how do they at the same time meet the challenges of the complex change created by digitalization and society?

Leadership in a Digital World of Work

As classic business models, processes and systems are increasingly being questioned, a new management culture is needed that succeeds in creating new digital and future-oriented customer solutions. The aim is to promote, as far as possible, value-based, environmentally friendly thinking that continues to lead to profit-oriented models. Today, we have to define the rules and the guardrails differently than in the past.

Management is thus confronted with a leadership culture that promotes agile freedom, internal collaboration, attitude and trust in employee ability. Traditional companies often have a disadvantage compared to technology-driven innovative start-ups.

Thus, in order to meet the demands of the future, executives must be able to

  • think and act in a multidimensional way,
  • act with each other and supportively and continuously promote their employees,
  • transform an “I” into a “WE” culture,
  • realize digital processes faster and more meaningfully within the organization,
  • create flat hierarchies in companies, and
  • work to a digital master plan.

Selection of Employees

The selection of personalities, i.e. candidates suited for challenging tasks and positions, should not always be based on standard company prototypes, but also on value-based requirements.

The company should be aware of its expectations in terms of leadership style, team building, values, promotion and advancement in order to match these with the candidate’s expectations.

Potential new executives often have to engage in various conversations with their future team leads during the application process. Here, too, the focus is on the extent to which he is able to create a supportive and promotive team culture in the eyes of employees.

Leading in Agile Structures

Working in agile, interactive structures requires flexibility and trust in the leadership style. Here it is important to allow room for maneuver, to promote visions and ideas and to create a working environment that is free of distraction and thus enables productive and intelligent work.

This requires managers and employees who are willing to share their work, knowledge, and skills. We are talking about a collaborative leadership culture. The executive himself becomes a networker and supporter.

Of course, this has a positive effect on work results and fluctuation. This makes it much easier to master transformational challenges.

Leadership and Communication

 If company leaders have the courage to reflect on their impact on employees and on their communication behavior, and to identify weaknesses, they will be able to further develop their leadership style. Requesting feedback and acquiring a positive attitude in communication with people favors cooperation and promotes the team or company culture.

Here, the well-known theories, such as the “three-part-I-messages” or Rosenberg’s principle of non-violent communication (NVC), are common forms that executives should also adopt.

Leading and Promoting

To achieve positive results, company leaders need real resonance among employees and their acceptance of targets or critical goals.

In order to design successful projects or achieve company results, the expectations communicated by management must be accepted by the employees. In the future, leadership can no longer be based on a hierarchy or a solidified power structure. It must justify itself by the making space for innovations, ideas and energy. By leading others to success by providing support, a culture of trust is created in which work is fun.

In startups, the support principle is an essential success factor. It increases self-esteem and increases the willingness of employees to continuously raise their performance standards. The added value gain arises from the fact that employees and leadership catapult themselves onto a new learning curve.

Leadership and Updated Incentives

The days when salary and other material incentives (extrinsic incentives) were the key arguments for a future employer are over. Today, employees in knowledge-based areas want to contribute their thinking, help shape their disciplines and look outside the box. Intrinsic incentives such as appreciation and self-determination have binding, long-term potential effects. Only strong leaders who can meet the challenges of the times will be able to motivate these employees.

In knowledge-based activities, employee autonomy and social competence are strengthened. This leads to the honest disclosure of their own shortcomings and ultimately eliminates them.

For all those involved in the Eco-System (customers, consumers and employees), the ideas, lifestyles and needs that one wants to realize will change in the future. (see New Work).

Personal responsibility and freedom of decision thus determine the degree of employee commitment to and solidarity with their employer. If you really want to keep “high potentials” in the company and prevent them from moving to the competition, let them participate in the long-term performance of the company, so that they also become “co-entrepreneurs”.

Raising wages and salaries are rather counterproductive. Acceptance, further development, family, participation, culture and leadership are more likely to occupy the forefront.

Leadership and Continuing Education

Because high return expectations and short-term thinking often inhibit transformation processes and innovation, leaders need to bridge this gap.

They should have expertise in alternative processes and team structures that integrate continuing training and promotion of their employees. But the prerequisite for this is the mental transformation in the minds of company leaders.

Remote Leadership

In exceptional times of crisis, as in the recent past, companies had to rapidly internalize new organizational and management processes. Remote Leadership is the name of this challenge. If a large number of employees work from a home office, new management skills are required.

In the past, cooperation in distributed teams – often near or offshore teams – was a common way to realize development projects. But now almost the entire workforce will work from home, as long as employees are not dependent on production resources available only on-site. This requires new tools and methods in leadership, but above all a trusting attitude on the part of the managers towards employees and teams. As is true in almost every relationship, distance requires trust. Micro-management is out of place here; rather, a goal-oriented, tight-communicative leadership style is required. Despite days of absence from the office, managers need to be very close to their employees and acknowledge their competence, integrity and loyalty. This in turn leads to emotional transparency, which affords space and is motivating for the achievement of tasks and goals.

Despite the creation of digital structures, it is still important to create an interpersonal climate. What does that mean?

Management is well advised to recognize the basic psychological needs of their employees: time and space for off-site communication, online events, recognition in the form of small gifts at home. But leaders also need to encourage employees to come up with ideas that promote interpersonal relationships as well as joint activities of a sporting or cultural nature that can be conducted online. And of course – acknowledge and celebrate successes – no matter how small.