Digital Transformation, Agility, Work 4.0, NewWork, Futurework,… If you look at current HR magazines, you quickly notice that the HR area is currently anything but boring. Managing flat hierarchies, meaningful work, horizontal careers and agile teams are the daily tasks of a modern HR manager. So there seems to be a change and the vision of human resources management seems to be changing?

We want to revolutionize management to build extraordinary companies of the future with self-responsible employees and executives who can adapt rapidly in times of (digital) change (Andre Häusling – HR Pioneers)

Paradigm shift in HR

Currently leading HR experts are thus defining a change in personnel management from hierarchy and silo thinking to network and interdisciplinary. Profit maximization to maximize benefits, external control and top-down decisions on self-responsibility and human expertise. HR is also required to transform incentive systems into recognition systems and to act as a companion or coach of the employees.

In the course of the 1st Roundtable on Agility, the topic of agile human resources management has been confirmed as an important factor for agile companies. “Man is the most important asset of companies”, is the consensus of the participants and a War for Talents the participants demand new methods and approach to recruiting and employee development. The solution is obvious to the participants: Human resources management must become agile!

Agile Human Resources Management

If one looks into a lexicon according to human resources management, one finds the definition as the “sum of personnel design measures for the realization of the corporate goals. The term is often used synonymously with human resources or human resources.” (Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon). Agile means “movable, lively, alive” (for more see my article on the definition of agility). In summary, therefore, agile human resources management stands for flexible and agile measures for the personnel implementation of the company’s goals. In the roundtable on agility, I evaluated together with the participants which areas an agile HR or agile human resources management should cover.

Agile employees

One demand of the participants in the roundtable is the “agile employee”. This should not follow a fixed position or prefabricated career plan, but should take on a role. According to the participants, companies should therefore preferably hire “agile employees” and keep them for the long term.

Agile employees have an agile mindset and human maturity. Agile employees want to work with the companies and develop together with them.


One of the highest corporate goals in times of war for talent should be employee satisfaction and low turnover. How can agile human resources management contribute to this? In a study, the consulting house PwC has found that although employees always have individual needs, these needs are generally classified into 5 categories:

  • Type 1: Finds his satisfaction in his work and tasks.
  • Type 2: Values personal development and career opportunities.
  • Type 3: Derives his satisfaction from how he is treated by his manager.
  • Type 4: The key to his satisfaction lies in relation to colleagues.
  • Type 5: This employee wants to be proud of his company.

Take your time for a short survey!

Wo sehen Sie sich?

Agile Qualification

Now companies have hired agile employees and everything is great! No, because the question arises: “What can such an agile employee do?”. What qualifications does this agile employee have? According to the participants, the answer is obvious: “agile qualifications”. But what are such qualifications? In terms of qualifications, Agil therefore stands for “moving” qualifications and skills. This means that an employee is ready to get involved in new and unknown subject areas and agile personnel management supports an employee as a coach or companion on an equal footing.

An applicant should not be able to do what the company needs today, but should be willing to learn what the company needs tomorrow.

Agile Recruiting

After it has already been clarified what agile employees are and what they should be able to do, the question arises how agile recruiting is designed, i.e. how I actually get to these agile employees. In concrete terms, this means: according to which criteria should an employee be hired? So should the focus here be on assessment centers and competence test? According to the participants, this no longer plays a role in the War for Talents, but:

The central task of agile HR is to ask the question: How can we work together?”

Example of agile human resources management

In the course of the 2nd Roundtable on Agility, an example of agile HR is found by integrating scrum elements. The aim was to develop a “cross-functional HR-IT business” team consisting of experts from the entire company. The credo was that the customer of HR, e.g. a developer, should sit on the board and contribute ideas. Vision was: “One HR measure per week”. Every Tuesday, the Weekly Meeting HR decided on, prioritized and implemented within a week. Everyone in the company could visit this board and get involved. Thus, the right people are always on the board and everyone is present voluntarily.


Verdict: More than Scrum!

Human resources management is in a state of upheaval and is influenced by many trends. It is clear that a paradigm shift in HR is imminent. There are currently some approaches to this change, which are being tested by companies. What is certain, however, is that agile human resources management is not just a “simple scrum” but also involves a fundamental change in the way of thinking. Exactly what agile human resources management looks like cannot yet be fully clarified, but with the help of the roundtables, initial approaches have been defined, which can be further evaluated by the research project.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, können Sie mich gerne anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um mit Lesern zu interagieren.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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