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Personnel development 4.0

Rethinking Continuing Education


The faster and more digital the world around us becomes, the more companies rely on adapting to stay marketable. But where will the expertise needed to do this come from when there is already a shortage of skilled workers everywhere? The obvious solution can only be in-house - in a permanently lived learning culture that makes it possible to train and develop quickly and according to individual needs. But can the responsibility for this really lie solely with personnel development - and if so, how must it change to meet the challenges that are already knocking loudly and audibly on its doors?


What is personnel development?

Personnel development is a part of human resources. It encompasses all measures for the advancement and further training of all employees based on individual company needs - including the derivation of goals and development of corresponding long-term training strategies.


Next Level: Personnel development 4.0

The addition 4.0 describes the anticipated changes in learning and work culture in the immediate future - driven by digitalization and the immense demands it places on companies, employees and thus personnel development. The talk here is primarily of changes such as...

  • the replacement of humans by machines in production processes / humans as supervisors of machines, no longer as an executive force in the production process
  • new services provided with the help of robots, drones, bots, ...
  • continued increased human-machine interaction with a higher focus on technical understanding.


Correspondingly, personnel development must also change - from static, often still analog training concepts to digital, agile and above all permanent training systems. A provocative thesis currently circulating in this regard: "Personnel development must make itself superfluous in order to have a future." (Christian Böhler) What is meant here is not that there will be no more personnel development in the future, but rather that it will enable employees to learn on their own responsibility and on a permanent basis, so that classic continuing education planning as we know it today will become obsolete. But why do it at all?

Nadine Pedro
[Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG

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Why personnel development must change

Digital transformation and VUCA are no longer buzzwords. Privately and professionally, we live in a rapidly changing world that is characterized by volatility and uncertainty. Consequently, the need for qualifications and further training is increasing, and the ability to adapt and learn are becoming key competencies. Not easy in a society that is simultaneously growing older and older. But as always, knowing the challenges is the basis for finding solutions. So let's address them briefly and painlessly, like ripping off a Band-Aid, before then delving into the solutions in depth:


Challenge of personnel development

The construct of "personnel development" as we have known it up to now is already too rigid for the ever faster moving world of work. Knowledge must be permanently renewed and, in terms of effectiveness, must be available at the time required - if only because it is often no longer possible to foresee in advance what knowledge will be needed in a year's time. The reality, however, is often different: Seminars are still being planned that do not fit the target group or its current needs - and often only as a reaction to already existing deficits. The individual learning experience in the concrete moment of need is completely missing.

The result: motivation and completion rates are low, as is the effectiveness of employees, because the current and concretely needed knowledge is missing. Among other things, managerSeminare issue 260 names 

  • the lack of digital competence in personnel development
  • the insufficient knowledge about their own employees 
  • and the discrepancy between HR and actual everyday work 


as reasons. The consequences for companies are obvious: high training costs for too little benefit, lack of effectiveness and competitiveness and wasted potential.


Labor market challenges

At the same time, the labor market itself is increasingly becoming a challenge: society is aging, accompanied by a lack of digital skills. Younger generations, on the other hand, are increasingly struggling with ever shorter attention spans - after all, all media offerings are geared toward ever faster consumption, to which we have become only too accustomed. And the trend is rising. And then there is still the well-known skilled labor shortage, which has been haunting HR departments like a specter almost across the board for years.

Not easy times for static personnel development. What it needs is change!


White Paper

[Translate to English:] Personnel development 4.0
chemmedia AG

Personnel Development 4.0

Current trends and solutions for your personnel development 4.0

Find solutions for the transformation of your personnel development processes and discover current trends with which you can successfully accompany and support your employees on their way to new competencies and skills.



In the near future, we will need many more new high-frequency competencies - but they will not emerge on their own. If companies want to remain efficient, successful and marketable, they need personnel development that first develops itself: Digital competencies and an understanding of the changing situation and the new needs of employees are the basis for being able to face the current challenges in the first place. Instead of stockpiling knowledge, it is already time to establish a sustainable and positive learning culture that motivates and empowers employees to learn on their own - whenever they happen to need new knowledge.

Magda Lehnert | Blogger
Magda Lehnert

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