You will be aware of at least one of the following two situations:

  • They are new to the company and an employee is highly praised for helping the company a lot 10 years ago. However, you notice after getting to know each other that this employee is currently hardly bringing any value and is more like hype.
  • You have an applicant who tells of numerous successful projects 10 years ago but the CV of the last 5 years is actually rather Mau.

“He was good”

This is the phrase many employees think when you meet such employees. I often notice that old successes have a long aftermath for employees who have been in the company for 10-15 years and who often still have such successes when changing jobs. But I see a danger:

Such employees tend to solve today’s problems using yesterday’s methods!

The last 5 years are crucial!

The IT world in particular is spinning incredibly fast. Software development, for example, has been fundamentally changed by cloud. Instead of monoliths, small micro-services are built, which are managed like a kind of orchestra and in terms of management, methods such as scrum and co dominate. These new methods have to be implemented in the company.

I therefore believe that the successes of the last 3 and 5 years are the most important. Employees often start a rather quieter phase after great successes and often miss out on new developments. There is a risk that the potential of the new technologies and methods will be missed. Especially in the sense of long-life learning, this is often dangerous when the appointed Messiah throws the company back 2 years rather than advances it.

Conclusion: Opportunity for young talents!

Of course, this is just a little exaggerated, but true. As a manager, I like to rely on a mix of young, educated and hungry talents as well as old bunnies. However, I am not afraid to address current knowledge gaps with old hares and not to be blinded by old successes.

However, there is a great opportunity here for young talents, which I have also taken advantage of. Through my doctoral thesis on the use of technology to increase agility, I was able to prevail as a department head against other applicants. I had knowledge of how a department can work completely virtually and also how leadership works in the digital space. Such findings are still very new to this day and for many experienced executives still a book with seven seals.

In vulnerable professions, it is important to consistently train and change the professional profile with the help of new IT skills. For example, a clerk can use IT skills to configure automation software or a construction worker to operate intelligent machines. As employees, we should start to take 100 per cent responsibility for occupational safety #Employability, because that responsibility can no longer be assumed by companies for workers. Nor can we rely on education systems in companies, but must also continue to train in leisure time through active learning. A survey by Haufe already shows that more than a third of the more than 1,000 employees surveyed already train at weekends and in their leisure time.

Haufe’s survey on continuing training

Image source:

Gender note: I have used the male form for easier reading. If no explicit distinction is made, women, miscellaneous and men as well as people of any origin and nation are always meant. Read more.

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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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