Glossary Workforce Transformation

Attrition refers to employee turnover or churn and describes the natural process by which employees leave their employer – for example, contract termination for personal reasons or retirement – and are not immediately replaced.

One speaks of uniform employment systematics, when all employees of an organization are employed in the same mode (example: permanent employee, with compulsory presence at the workplace). Flexible working models, on the other hand, include different working modes, both in terms of time and location (example: part-time, home office).

Gig economy refers to activities of the labor market by which jobs are given to independent freelancers (“freelancers”) or marginally employed persons (“mini-jobbers”) on a short-term basis (example: bicycle couriers for food delivery).

The great resignation is a trend in which employees are increasingly voluntarily quitting their jobs or considering doing so. The phenomenon first appeared during the Corona pandemic in the USA and first effects can now also be witnessed in Europe.

Integrated value creation refers to a closed circle of value creation, i.e. all competencies are bundled in the company’s own organization (example: from planning a car to selling it).

Learning agility is the willingness and ability of employees to learn from experience and successfully apply what they have learned in new contexts. Employees who demonstrate learning agility want to constantly learn new things. In doing so, they reflect on their own weaknesses and are always open to new ways of approaching challenges and questioning established views and opinions.

Describes an epochal (global) change that affects all levels of society and thus has an impact on all organizations and individuals. Megatrends usually have a duration of several decades (example: digitalization, new work).

Meta-competencies are skills that are not exclusively limited to functional knowledge. They describe conceptual overarching skills that make rapid adaptation to a future, constantly changing world more likely (example: readiness for change, learning agility).

By New Ways of Working, we mean the new ways in which work is performed. This includes, in particular, the flexible organization of working hours and location as well as their orchestration within the workforce. In order to enable New Ways of Working, legal foundations play an important role, as do new types of employee management (e.g., remote leadership) and the anchoring in organizational culture. The Corona pandemic has reinforced the importance of New Ways of Working in many areas. New Ways of Working have, for example, been partly enshrined in law by home office regulations.

New Work/Future of Work refers to the result of the structural change in working methods and work requirements caused by digitalization and the changed needs of the new generations entering the labor market. Work-life balance is gaining in importance, as is the involvement of employees in decision-making and the demand for meaningful work. Workforce transformation describes the path to achieving this target state.

Special form of offshoring (see below), in which the relocation to only nearby foreign countries is described, in order to obtain a higher cultural, temporal as well as spatial proximity.

In general, geographical relocation of operational activities, in particular operational business processes, to foreign countries (“foreign relocation”), mainly due to more favorable basic conditions in terms of personnel costs (example: international site in Bangladesh). In contrast, outsourcing involves the externalization of organizational processes.

Outsourcing describes the externalization of services previously performed by a company itself to external service providers. In outsourcing, as opposed to offshoring, external service providers take over certain tasks or internal company processes. Here, certain knowledge is required that is not available within the company itself or is too expensive (example: outsourcing of accounting department).

In recruiting, there is a discernible trend that focusing solely on the requirements for a vacant position (professional qualifications) is no longer sufficient. Instead, the focus is shifting to more stable characteristics such as (behavioral) competencies or personality traits, which are more indicative of how a person will adapt to future, as yet unknown challenges.

Reskilling describes the learning of new skills in order to be able to perform a different job (a new field of activity) than the one originally learned (example: from marketing expert to data analyst).

The term retention covers measures that bind employees to the company, which becomes tremendously important in a period of fluctuation (“attrition”) (example: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational measures, perks in the form of employee offers).

Is the competence to think in different scenarios (e.g. different development variants), which facilitates decision-making in situations of high complexity and uncertainty.

Talent acquisition, also known as hiring or recruiting, refers to the search for new employees. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, the search for talent is becoming increasingly difficult (keyword: “War for Talents”).

Upskilling involves acquiring new or expanding additional skills and qualifications within a professional field in order to be able to better perform the current role (example: further training in the use of digital media for an HR expert in order to lead digital workshops).

Is an acronym and stands for “Volatility – Uncertainty – Complexity – Ambiguity”.

Workforce transformation (WFT) describes the process of how the workforce must change as a result of shifting working practices and work requirements. This process must be managed strategically in order to ensure the company’s success in the long term (example of the automotive industry: moving away from the production of combustion engines to “electric specialists”). See also New Work/Future of Work.