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Competence development: employees as corporate capital

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The present is characterized by ever faster change processes that affect social, structural and technological developments. This goes hand in hand with flat hierarchies and decentralized organizational units that pose new challenges for employees. Companies need the Competence development have a closer look at their employees in order to remain innovative and competitive in the future. Existing strategies and concepts require critical reflection and expansion. In order to master this demanding task, the competencies must be recorded, controlled and developed on a professional level. However, competence development means much more than just qualification ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Skills development Meaning: What is it and why is it so important?

Knowledge, qualifications and competencies are incorrectly used synonymously in everyday use. In order to understand the importance of competence development, one has to understand what competence actually means.

The definition by John Erpenbeck and Lutz von Rosenstiel represents a professional and business educational approach:

Competencies are the ability to act creatively and self-organized in open, unmanageable, complex, dynamic and sometimes chaotic situations - self-organization disposition.

Competencies are about in unmanageable and difficult situations call up the knowledge intuitively to be able to. Someone else may have knowledge but cannot apply it appropriately. So he lacks this competence.

Competence development in vocational education is based on the following four forms of core competency from which further competencies can be derived:

  • Self-competence

    Also referred to as personal competence, it is the willingness and ability to reflect on one's own development opportunities. Requirements and restrictions due to family and work are personally thought through and assessed. Values ​​and norms develop from this, and goals are planned accordingly. Self-competence includes characteristics such as the ability to criticize, flexibility, independence, self-confidence, reliability, a sense of responsibility and duty.

  • Social skills

    An employee who is able to actively shape cooperation among colleagues in the spirit of team spirit demonstrates social skills. This includes the ability and willingness to constructively resolve conflicts with colleagues. Characteristics such as empathy, the ability to compromise and solidarity play an important role.

  • Professional competence

    Having professional competence means that someone shows the ability and willingness to use their professional knowledge and skills. His specialist and general knowledge is evident in the day-to-day management of tasks, but especially when a company is faced with challenging situations. Problems are approached independently and in a goal-oriented manner, and the situation is appropriately assessed.

  • Methodological competence

    This means the competence to acquire specialist knowledge and to deal with problems. This includes the procurement, processing and presentation of information. This can be seen, for example, in dealing with the media and having a certain ability to present. Good method and learning skills help develop professional skills.

The goal of vocational training is professional competence. It enables an independent approach with regard to planning, implementation and control in the work context. It is trained through the core competencies described above.

Advantages of a targeted competence development

The explanations given above should have made it clear why competence development goes far beyond a knowledge-imparting qualification. Because here there is also one Change of norms and values. This includes existing concepts for professional development.

Targeted competence development has many advantages:

For the employer

  • Cost savings: Individual and targeted support means that tailor-made skills are acquired. This saves time and money, as only required skills are learned that are directly applied. Cost savings also take place in recruiting, as many employees find personal development opportunities attractive.
  • Documentation: Target agreements can be made and documented in employee reviews together with the employee. The necessary requirements for the employee are determined so that he can be promoted individually. This ensures that the competencies relevant to the company's success are acquired.
  • Employee motivation: All possible training courses are not poured out over the employees according to the watering can principle. Instead, it looks according to personal requirements. In this way, companies can maintain and promote employee engagement. All employees are supported and can develop according to their skills. This in turn supports employee loyalty.
  • Service providers: In this way, companies can identify the top performers among their employees and systematically advance management development. Both have a positive effect on the company and the team spirit, as such people have the ability to develop independently and on their own responsibility and to share the experiences they have made with other colleagues.

For the employee

  • Fun: It is a pleasure to do something that corresponds to one's own inclinations and strengths. And by the way, you are particularly successful in what you are good at. Since competence development always serves the development of universal personal abilities, many competencies can be used not only in the professional but also in the private sector, so that goals can also be better realized there.
  • Self-organisation: Through the internal and external provision of information in skills development, employees acquire knowledge independently. In the constant exchange of experience with colleagues, skills develop very quickly through the direct application of the knowledge acquired.
  • Future orientation: With skills development, employees prepare better for future challenges. Anyone who can assess what requirements will come up in the future can initiate the necessary development steps and thus master challenges better.
  • Life quality: A targeted development of skills contributes to increasing satisfaction and motivation, as the employee is deployed according to his or her abilities. Being able to use one's own strengths conveys appreciation and means a great deal of self-realization. The employee can apply the acquired skills directly and show that he is a valuable member of the team.

Competent looking managers make more money

Competent-looking managers deserve more - even though there does not have to be any connection between their appearance and real competence. This is the result of a study by John Graham from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

To this end, the scientists staged a series of experiments in which almost 2000 participants were asked to assess pictures of more than 100 CEOs and ordinary employees. However, the participants did not know who was a manager and who was a simple employee. Instead, you should always weigh up the people in the portraits in pairs according to their apparent attractiveness, competence, trustworthiness and liking. Lo and behold: the CEOs were actually rated more often as competent and attractive.

A similar result emerged when the researchers had the pairs of images of managers from large corporations compared with executives from medium-sized to small companies. Here, too, the group managers performed better in 55 percent of the cases and in terms of competence and attractiveness, while colleagues from medium-sized companies were judged to be more reliable and likeable.

When the trio of professors then compared the actual income of the employees and managers examined, it turned out that those who were rated as more competent in the tests also had a higher income for the most part. However, one has to say: Despite this correlation between appearances and salary, the researchers found no evidence that such a competent-looking manager would actually be more successful.

How competence development works

Competence development means learning. Learning can be purposeful or casual. In any case, a wealth of experience is gained. In the opinion of professionals, development of skills in vocational training means above all else Learning during the work process, to a certain extent training on the job.

However, this is the ideal case: not every profession is suitable for developing competencies, because there must be intellectual demands. So who is more likely highly routine, monotonous work processes performs will fall short of its potential.

Further training only makes sense if what has been learned accordingly application in practice finds.

Competence development presupposes the acquisition of knowledge and the concrete requirement in everyday professional life. In order for professional success to occur, you have to real challenges can be cognitively recorded, analyzed and mastered.

For employers: 9 tips for sustainable implementation

Of course, individual measures can be initiated to develop high potentials or to provide information quickly based on a campaign.

Franz-Peter Staudt, An expert in various competence measurement and development processes, advises against it: “As an employer, the costs are far too high and you do not use the full potential of your employees.” In order to be able to develop competencies consistently and sustainably, a few rules must be observed , says Staudt. In practice, the following points have proven to be absolutely necessary. If you observe these and implement them resolutely, you should achieve the first successes very soon:

  1. Anchor competence development in the vision.

    Give importance to the development of skills in your company and anchor it in your vision. "The most valuable capital in your company is not the employees, it is the right employees!"

  2. Derive competency development from the strategy.

    Derive the competencies you will need in the future from your corporate strategy and document them in your competency model. Do not try a one hundred percent solution at the beginning. Adapt your model to the strategic requirements on an ongoing basis and optimize it. Your company and your employees will continue to develop with and through the competence model.

  3. Communicate openly.

    Communicate the future requirements and development processes to all employees. It must be clear and understandable to everyone what competencies are expected of them in the future and how they can develop them. Show them the benefits they will personally benefit from.

  4. Develop your leaders.

    Develop your managers into development partners for your employees and anchor the responsibility for this in their personal goals.

  5. Plan change processes.

    Plan the introduction of the new development processes as a change process. Make those affected into participants and integrate your employees, managers, coaches, learning guides and staff representatives into the project. Design and accompany the ongoing change processes with the aim of initiating a learning culture of self-organized learning. The goal here is “helping people to help themselves”.

  6. Define the framework conditions.

    In order to enable sustainable, self-organized competence development and employee qualification, create a needs-based enabling framework. Define the rules necessary for your company to ensure independent development. On this basis, you will develop the necessary instruments, methods and content.

  7. Do systemic integration.

    Implement the measures in all personnel processes, such as personnel selection and succession planning, target agreements and employee appraisals, retention and risk management or corporate and organizational development and strategic planning.

  8. Build knowledge.

    Support your employees and managers with experts in skills-based training and further education. Especially at the beginning of such a project, many mistakes are made or essential requirements are not recognized. Use expert panels, websites, congresses, MOOCs, webinars and so on to get information and learn from other companies.

  9. Focus on competence-based knowledge management.

    Enable competency-based knowledge management with the aim of exchanging and developing the experience of employees. This is the only way to maintain and develop knowledge.

Skills development is first and foremost a Change process in which the ways of thinking and acting of all those involved change fundamentally. Whether in the role of learner or trainer, coach or tutor, employee or manager and management. Strategy-oriented learning projects that show real-time, measurable success are particularly suitable for this.

For example, the future learning guides acquire knowledge of innovative learning systems in a self-organized, competence-oriented blended learning concept. These experiences are in real learning concepts implemented. Knowledge and competence building can thus lead to directly usable results for companies.

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22nd September 2020Author: Anja Rassek

Anja Rassek studied, among other things, German language and literature at the WWU in Münster. She worked for community radio and a publisher. Here she devotes herself to topics relating to the office, everyday work and studies.

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