“Many have forgotten to work independently,” says Human Resources Manager magazine. The magazine sees reasons for this in the fact that many employees have forgotten to work independently due to the classical management practice or have little chance of learning this. Every decision, for example when to take leave, has been taken away from them by the manager, so that at first they find it difficult to actually work self-organized, take responsibility and show commitment. They also underscore my article on agile human resources management – more than Scrum,that more and more companies are now starting to transfer agile methods such as scrum from IT to other areas of the company. Personnel development is not spared either.

Personnel development in an agile context

Dr. Ralf Gräßler provides an approach, which states: “What we are doing at the moment is not to move a battleship (= company) from A to B and then rest. Digital transformation is not a change in the sense of a change management process. Rather, it requires the breaking up of existing thought patterns and structures towards a fine-grained adaptability. This will make it possible to deal with the complexity of the environment and the inherent willingness to change. We are changing in order to be able to continue to change.”.

Furthermore, Dr. Gräßler provides numerous practical examples such as the following: “At a large transport company with more than 50,000 employees worldwide, employees can define, document and compare their competences and goals themselves in order to “match” development opportunities on the basis of a global job platform. The positions are offered and maintained by the specialist departments themselves. What does HR do? A lot: empowering workers and managers to move in these new structures. This is not trivial. On the contrary, HR’s tasks in agile structures cannot be overstated – HR needs courage, methodological competence and human knowledge to conduct agile personnel development and meet the tasks below.”

This shows that personnel development in an agile context means understanding and responding to the changes in the digital world and making a real contribution to value. Dr. Gräßler thus provides a first push for personnel development in an agile context and also notes that many questions are still insufficiently clarified and therefore it is necessary to try them out.

Agile human resources development still raises many questions

Another approach is provided by Dr. Frank Edelkraut, who notes that agile still raises many questions in the form of:

  • Structure and process organization,
  • Assessment
  • Bonus systems,
  • Participation
  • and much more.

In the interests of agile personnel development, he agrees with Dr Gräßler that many issues have not yet been resolved. He sees the problem that the logic of agile work does not fit with the current structures and the self-image of current organizations. He predicts long negotiations and conflicts. So, in addition to cultural change, the second task is to bring all stakeholders together.

Back to the actual topic: Agile personnel development. So it is changing somehow and the full scope in the agile context is not yet sufficiently clarified, but initial approaches and guidelines are definitely determined with which company can start the first experiments and pilot projects. Dr. Edelkraut summarizes that personnel development and talent management will change as follows:

  • Individual, diverse, digital, social and interactive,
  • more self-responsible by the employees,
  • with new roles and responsibilities,
  • integration into everyday operational life.


The two approaches of Dr. Gräßler and Dr. Edelkraut penetrate very well into the core of agile personnel development and also show the influenceof the digital transformation on them. Of course, it is not possible to summarize all the ideas that deal with the topic, but I think that with the two authors at least a first idea can be given in the direction of this topic. In the end, I find that a picture by Jürgen Appelo visualizes the topic very well. Agile personnel development is actually not much more than developing, protecting and moving in the right direction. A bit like a potted plant.

agile leadership
Agile personnel development according to Appelo is: to develop, protect and point in the right direction.
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.

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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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