Workforce Transformation –
A Global Challenge

Why just now?

Discussion Series in
Cooperation With the BPM

We are currently experiencing a revolution in corporate learning in many industries, a true education explosion. Automation, machine learning, demographic change, skills shortages, the gig economy and sustainability – all factors whose interaction is creating enormous pressure for change. And which require a sustained, concerted and at the same time flexible response from organizations with a high degree of urgency and scope. Figures make it clear that this is a genuine megatrend, and that Germany is still at the very beginning: Also reinforced by the corona pandemic, around 4 million Germans will have to reorient themselves professionally by 2030. These are enormous figures in view of the fact that around 11.5 million employees will retire in the same period, while only around 6.5 million new employees are expected for demographic reasons. This decade is therefore dominated by the upheavals in the labor market and their consequences for business.
We present a major survey and a series of events hosted by undconsorten in cooperation with the Bundesverband der Personalmanager:innen e.V. (BPM).



Your contact persons

Upcoming Events

Round Tables: We zoom in on the details of the Workforce Transformation

After the successful launch of our Workforce Transformation event series with our kickoff event in April, we will next host a series of exclusive Round Tables to deep dive on specific topics of Workforce Transformation. undconsorten’s Round Table is a recognized platform for experience exchange that fosters interactive discussions and opportunities to jointly develop new ideas.

Round Table: Retention

February 16 & 17 | In partnership with NEW WORK SE


Major Survey on
Workforce Transformation

The change of the workforce structure is a central topic of today. With our survey in cooperation with the BPM, we would like to invite you to participate in the discussion. We are primarily interested in the views of all BPM members, HR experts and enthusiasts. Your opinion counts and interests us – thank you for your participation! The survey has been closed in the meantime, we will share our findings shortly.


Glossary Workforce

Here is a glossary of the most important terms used in this survey – to ensure that all participants are aligned in vocabulary.

Basis for our discussion

Our Central Theses

We have formulated 10 theses that we believe are relevant for companies to be successful in the future. Thereby, we are guided by our market observations, as well as by conclusions that we draw from our consulting projects at undconsorten.

So far, value creation has been strongly provided by employees around the company’s headquarters.

However, the attractiveness of the location is changing dramatically, the aging of society is advancing, and the development of artificial intelligence and process automation technology is calling entire professions into question.

In the future, we will have to let go of parts of the value chain (e.g., through outsourcing) in order to focus on our core competencies.

So far, employee performance has largely been based on uniform work and compensation models (e.g., 9to5, full-time employment).

Employees with special skills (e.g., in IT) are hardly available on the labor market, or if they are, they are only available at a very high price. New generations have a different demand for flexibility.

In the future, a considerable part of the performance must be provided by new and flexible work models (e.g., shared leadership, hybrid working, freelancers).

So far, headcount has been planned in detail according to job descriptions based on strategy and business objectives, supplemented by complex competency databases.

Global trends (VUCA) and incidents (Covid-19) are influencing companies more strongly and directly than ever before, which can have both process-related and ad hoc effects on targets.

In the future, we need to think about staffing in terms of scenarios, we need to be able to do situational simulations for that, and there needs to be more continuous planning.

So far, employees typically have been assigned to departments with classic areas of responsibility, and new ways of collaboration are often still stuck in pilot phase.

However, the demand for collaboration is increasing across departmental boundaries. A good customer experience is increasingly based on complex processes that must be thought through end-to-end.

In the future, departments must be transformed into diverse cross-process and cross-functional teams (e.g., from the conception to the sale of a product).


So far, new employees have mainly been hired according to job profiles.

However, it is getting increasingly difficult to describe jobs in advance due to changing requirements for competencies and rapidly increasing digitization.

In the future, employees must be hired more broadly according to meta-competencies, potential, and cultural fit.

So far, market-based compensation and regular salary adjustments have been the way to retain employees.

However, due to the shortage on the labor market, it is increasingly important to invest in retaining rather than hiring new employees.

In the future, a holistic toolkit will be needed to retain and motivate good employees on the long run (i.e. intrinsic motivation).


So far, the focus has been on offering a comprehensive learning catalog and fixed training curriculum including “learning inventory”.

However, offering uniform learning opportunities for all is no longer enough, due to the constant change in demand for specific skills and the challenge of acquiring them on the market.

In the future, target group-specific training, up-, and reskilling will be required directly in the respective area of responsibility in order to apply the new knowledge immediately in practice.

Until now, employees have been viewed as a “cost factor” and the focus has been on labor cost optimization, i.e., managing FTE and job budgets.

However, due to the significant talent shortage and rising salaries in the wake of increased competition, cost optimization is becoming less of an option.

An employee investment perspective is needed for the future (i.e., managing employees’ contribution to the company’s success).

Until now, there has been little clarity about who is responsible for transforming the workforce, which has often led to situational and reactive action in the affected business units.

However, increasing competition in the companies and the rising demands of the employees on the services of the HR department put pressure on the implementation of the changes. This pressure is often intensified by the representation of interests by works committees.

In the future, business, HR and works committees must work together, with simultaneous empowerment and clear responsibilities, to successfully implement the transformation.


Until now, employees have been rather passively involved in their own development, learning has been more ad hoc and parallel to daily work, and automation and digitization have been perceived as a threat rather than an opportunity.

However, HR and managers cannot bear sole responsibility for change or engage employees in change, as this leads to fear and uncertainty among the workforce.

In the future, we need responsible and empowered employees who proactively manage their own development in close alignment with managers and HR (“learning agility” as culture/mindset).

Your contact persons

We are Looking Forward
to Exchange With you

Dr. Jens Müller-Oerlinghausen
Dr. Jens Müller-Oerlinghausen
Leonie Brauneis
Leonie Brauneis
Stefan Ulrich
Stefan Ulrich