Personnel development

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Personnel development ( PE ) comprises the introductory, part-time and job-related training and further education of the personnel tailored to the needs and requirements of the organization, as well as the derivation of suitable measures and strategies from the company goals , which aim to qualify the personnel. Aspects of organizational development and the needs of the company's various stakeholder groups (e.g. young professionals, skilled workers, high potentials) must be taken into account.

PE is a sub-area of human resources management within business administration , organizational sociology , adult education (andragogy) within pedagogy, as well as personnel psychology or business psychology with the aim of enabling people, teams and organizations to successfully and efficiently cope with their tasks in company work systems and face new challenges with confidence and motivation.


Personnel development between individual and systemic work

The term is not defined uniformly in theory and practice. Broad and narrow terms stand side by side. Narrow terminology limits personnel development in terms of content to training and further education. Broader definitions also promote corporate development through the targeted design of learning, development and change processes in the area of ​​corporate personnel development and overlap with individual elements of organizational development . As in the following definition by Stock-Homburg: "Personnel development are measures to convey qualifications that increase the current and future performance of managers and employees (education), as well as measures that support the professional development of managers and employees (promotion) . "

In addition, personnel development is either related to certain clientele groups or the limitation is based on the type of personnel development activities.

Peterke provides a different definition: "Personnel development is [...] the task and discipline to promote corporate development through the targeted design of learning, development and change processes." He assumes that learning is becoming increasingly important in the company. Nevertheless, the importance of broad personnel development as a function or department in companies is dwindling, since a relative oversupply of specialist skills on the labor market in connection with short-term rationalization options through release often lead to a significantly larger contribution to planned operational cost optimization than the relatively expensive and lengthy development of specialist areas - and key skills. In contrast, the highly specialized personnel development of executives and employees with customer contact is currently gaining in importance alongside the purely professional basic work for operating tools and software.

As a strategic personnel development is defined as the planning activities that aim to which skills to prepare employees for the future requirements of the company resulting from the corporate strategy are derived and the corporate vision.

Goals of personnel development

PE goals from a company perspective include:

  • Securing the necessary specialist and managerial staff and covering the additional needs,
  • Development of suitable recruiting instruments and career offers,
  • Recognizing and preparing young executives and specialists,
  • Adaptation to technological and market requirements,
  • greater independence from external labor markets,
  • Improvement and maintenance of professional and personal qualifications,
  • Improvement of employee satisfaction,
  • Improvement of achievement motivation,
  • Revealing wrong appointments and deficits,
  • Imparting key qualifications,
  • Increasing willingness to accept changes,
  • Reduction of fluctuation,
  • Improvement of internal cooperation and communication.

PE goals from the employee's point of view include:

  • Improvement and maintenance of professional and personal qualifications,
  • Activation of previously unused potentials and skills,
  • Transferring new / extended tasks,
  • improved career and career opportunities,
  • Reducing the risk of job loss,
  • Increase in individual mobility on the internal and external labor market,
  • Improvement of the chances of self-realization and development of the personality,
  • Increase of personal prestige,
  • Facilitating assignment of tasks based on suitability and inclination,
  • Income improvement.

Success control

Since the effectiveness of complex personal development measures is relatively difficult to assess and usually only from a longer-term perspective, the discussion in recent years has focused on the question of how to ensure sustainability , i.e. the long-term success of personnel development in economic and social terms is to be measured. This includes maintaining the value of the investments made here for the company as well as for the employees. In this context, more and more indicators for controlling personnel development were developed. I.a. are used to measure the effectiveness of PE measures:

  • the turnover rate
  • the commitment of employees to the company (measured by annual employee surveys)
  • the loyalty of employees to the company (measured by questions such as: "Would you recommend the company as an employer?")
  • the "back-up quota" with regard to succession planning in the company (for which key positions have successors already been identified?)
  • the “retention rate” of high potentials in the company
  • the “on-board rate”, which measures the retention of new additions
  • the satisfaction of the employees with individual personnel development measures (following seminars / workshops etc. measured with the help of evaluation sheets)
  • the balanced age and gender structure of important target groups
  • The salary costs (for example, if the targeted development of internal employees into executives minimizes the salary costs compared to externally purchased executives)
  • the sick leave in the company or the health costs
  • the Human Capital Index HCI (after Watson Wyatt), which is used to calculate the correlation between human capital and company value
  • the deviation between the actual and target level of competence of the employees (measured via a regular assessment of the employees by their managers)
  • customer satisfaction (measured via customer surveys or test purchases)
  • Service level indicators (for example the period from a job advertisement to a successful hiring or in personnel development or the period from a further training request from an operational area to the successful implementation of the measure)

The departments responsible for PD are assessed here as internal service providers, i.e. subjected to similar benchmarks as other service departments. Accordingly, service level agreements can also be concluded with the department responsible for PE.

Competence development as a core task

The core task of the PE is the competence development of the employees. The required qualifications and competencies are compared with the current situation and the quantitative and qualitative training and development needs are determined. The needs analysis not only takes into account professional qualifications , but also leadership and social skills. Assessing employees according to their potential future development opportunities is called a potential analysis .

Examples of the development of competencies and key qualifications
( technical , methodological , social and personality skills )

Needs assessment

If social or professional deficiencies occur, the causes must be sought in order to be able to offer suitable PE measures. Causes can be in the following areas:

  • Knowledge (Are the employees informed? Did they understand?)
  • Want (Are you motivated? What is demotivating you?)
  • Can (have you trained? Have you trained enough?)
  • May (are you entitled in your opinion? Do you dare to act creatively / collectively?)

In relation to the question of employee motivation, personnel development can start both in the direction of deficit orientation ("What prevents our employees from being successful?") And resource orientation ("What skills, dreams and knowledge do our employees still have available?" ). Depending on the motivational strategy of the individual, the PD can take these psychologically oriented individual measures from the catalog above. Implement elements or offer suitable strategies to achieve goals according to the needs of a majority of employees in a work group .

Areas of personnel development

In addition to promoting professionally relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes through training and further education measures (seminars and training courses), personnel development (PE) also includes advice on job design. This means all measures that are intended to systematically promote the professional competence of individuals working in and for an organization. According to Solga, Ryschka and Mattenklott, these areas should be oriented towards the strategic goals of an organization (strategic personnel development).

Strategy-oriented PE is aimed at systematically developing key qualifications that are required to cope with performance requirements based on corporate strategy . "

Personnel development is scientifically accompanied by psychology and company pedagogy. It finds its application u. a. at:

Personnel development is closely linked with the sub-areas of person development , team development and organizational development . The areas mentioned can be understood as a sub-area of ​​personnel development, since they are always associated with personnel development measures.

The relevance of personnel development for the sustainable modernization of public administrations is recognized more and more .

Personnel development in SMEs

Formalized personnel development in small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) is currently not widespread in Germany. Overall, only around 15 percent of all small and medium-sized companies regulate the corresponding responsibilities in their companies. This is shown by a study by the Rationalization and Innovation Center of German Business in 2002.

Small and medium-sized businesses do not have enough human resources for planning and development. Therefore, personnel development is often a "top priority". Consulting firms and consulting associations as well as educational institutions provide support through qualification needs analysis, potential analysis, competence analysis and the introduction of typical concepts such as employee interviews or job descriptions.

The jump from a small to a medium-sized company (from 30 to 50 employees) in particular requires careful planning and internal potential development. On the one hand, the number of employees doubles and the new ones have to deal with the long-term employees. In addition, it becomes necessary to embed additional hierarchies in the organization. Growing medium-sized companies have similar organizational structure problems.

There are funding projects in the individual federal states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia that promote specific advice. The keywords here are potential consulting in NRW and personnel development consulting in Lower Saxony.

Scientific and practical approaches

Scientific and practical approaches to personnel development; Research and design approaches; Image: Becker, M./Schwarz, V./Schwertner, A. (2002): Theory and practice of personnel development: current contributions from science and practice, 2nd edition. Munich 2002, p. 7.

In order to systematize personnel development, it must be subdivided into specific research approaches and practical design concerns. Essential research and design approaches are shown in (see figure: Scientific and practical approaches to personnel development).

Context oriented

(In Fig. 1) The internal and external influences, i.e. goals, content, methods and actors in personnel development are referred to here. The context-oriented design explores the normative framework for action that predetermines personnel development. As an end-means relationship, corporate policy determines the direction, goals and content of personnel development. Personnel development must be designed in such a way that it optimally supports the achievement of corporate goals. In addition, the external context factors must be taken into account.


(In picture 2) This approach considers how biography and context-specific learning impulses and learning barriers influence the participation and the success of personnel development measures. The actors in personnel development are the specialists and managers in personnel development and the top management of the company. In addition, the staff and works councils, the equal opportunities officers and the representatives of the severely disabled have an influence on personnel development within the scope of their statutory co-determination rights. The actors always act according to their interests. Interests must be worked out and it must be determined in relation to the client whether and how these can be satisfied through personnel development. In principle, personnel development decisions are determined by:

  • the individual personality of the learner,
  • the previous experience, goals and fears of the addressees of personnel development,
  • the social, political and economic environment, e.g. B. the specific labor market situation, the design of state and company support measures, competitive pressure on professions and professional groups,
  • the personality and professionalism of the responsible personnel developer.

Prerequisites for participating in the personnel development measures are timely and sufficient information. The task of personnel development is to create a social environment that strengthens motivation and responsibility. Companies must offer development opportunities and create a working atmosphere that encourages learning . The willingness to develop further is to be expected if the goals of personnel development appear attractive and achievable to the actors and the positive effects of participation, e.g. B. Career opportunities are valued highly. The role and the self-image of the personnel developer significantly determine the type and structure of personnel development.


(In Fig. 3) Overall, the target agreement defines the level of aspiration for personnel development. As a result of personnel development, employees expect their employability to be maintained and improved, managers expect high-performing and motivated employees, and company management wants to make significant contributions to strengthening competitiveness. In dynamic companies, the competent utilization of acquired qualifications in the work process is in the foreground. Competence is to be understood as a combination of knowledge, skills, experience and behavior that are used by a person in a specific work situation to solve very specific work problems. The success of personnel development only shows in the work result, the successful work, not in the acquisition of qualifications. From a business point of view, the usage aspect of personnel development i. S. of competence improvement and performance highlighted. If you follow this point of view, then personnel development has to promote the ability to act. Essential aspects of competence are the situational-individual act ( Can ), the readiness to act ( Want ) and the concrete responsibility for a task ( May ).

Content areas

(In Fig. 4) According to the broad definition, personnel development includes content such as education, support and organizational development (see the following graphic from Becker).


(In Fig. 5) From the point of view of methodology and didactics, personnel development is divided into a number of differently acting elements that are understood to be rather uniform. The methods of aptitude diagnostics are to be understood as facultative:

The methodical safeguarding of personnel development is a prerequisite for achieving and checking effectiveness and efficiency. This also ensures acceptance and the necessary resources are secured.

are shared in the technical literature and are usually provided by external experts ( see Limits of Personnel Development ).

Spatial location

From a spatial perspective, personnel development measures are carried out, depending on the location or setting, not only at the workplace and within the work that occurs there, but also outside the normal working environment and occasionally after work (e.g. in the field).

Content according to Becker


It is a traditional part of personnel development. The core areas are vocational training, technical and general training, leadership training, systematic training and retraining. The contents of the training and further education change with the dynamics of the requirements. Continuing education and leadership training in particular are changing with the virtualization of companies and the globalization of the economy. Leadership training prepares multifunctional teams for efficient leadership in virtual companies. Intercultural competence, dealing with diversity (especially with heterogeneous workforces) and the increase in autonomy change management behavior and thus management development.


This includes job and requirement profiles, selection and induction processes, structured employee appraisals, potential analyzes, career and succession planning, coaching, mentoring and target agreements. The funding follows the principles of individualization, generalization and elementaryization and aims at the requirement-adequate development of individuals and groups. In particular, the elementarization requires the replacement of comprehensive job descriptions by the summary of activities and requirements at job bundle level. Funding is gaining in importance compared to education because the success of dynamic companies depends to a large extent on the performance and behavior of the members of the organization.

Organizational development

The content is the integrated and goal-oriented design and development of organizations. Personnel, structural and procedural aspects should correspond to the respective requirements of the company transformation. Team concepts, project work and social, technical and organizational design are prominent starting points in organizational development. Organizational development is always management-led and results-oriented.

Functional cycle of systematic personnel development

Systematic personnel development can be understood as a sequence of actions for the acquisition, analysis, processing, use, application and separation of information, which in the case specifically dealt with here has the design of personnel development as its object.

The functional cycle is a coordinated process for planning, managing and monitoring specific personnel development measures and ensures the planning, decision, design and evaluation of personnel development in relation to given or to be set corporate goals. Systematic personnel development also uses the term system. Personnel development can be broken down into subsystems.

  1. Needs analysis
  2. Goal setting
  3. Creative design
  4. execution
  5. Success control
  6. Transfer security

These phases of systematic personnel development in the functional cycle represent a coordinated procedure in the individual phases for the planning, implementation, management and control of concrete personnel development measures (cf. the figure: functional cycle of systematic personnel development). Requirements analysis, setting goals, creative design, implementation, success control and transfer assurance are the sub-steps of systematic personnel development.

Subsystems are e.g. B. education, promotion and organizational development. The subsystems or fields of action of personnel development receive their orders, resources and legitimation from the higher-level company system and from the order of personnel development. The functional cycle can also be viewed as a holistic system. The elements of the functional cycle work together in a holistic system and are mutually dependent in the interest of achieving the goals of systematic personnel development.

Phase model according to Becker

Functional cycle of systematic personnel development; Image: Becker, M. (2005): Systematic personnel development: planning, management and control in the functional cycle, Stuttgart 2005, p. 17.

Phase 1: needs analysis

First, in an activity analysis, it is determined which tasks are currently to be performed in a position or in a group of positions. The requirements analysis then clarifies which technical, management-related, methodological and social requirements are required in order to carry out the activities of a position or a group of positions professionally. The same and similar activities and requirements are summarized in job bundles. Only “critical” value-added, relatively permanent activity and requirement elements of the same or comparable functions are included. The addressee analysis then examines the current skills (qualifications and motivation) and the potential of the employees. The comparison of the results of the requirement and addressee analysis shows whether the employee is appropriate, over- or underqualified and motivated. The potential analysis predicts the extent to which an employee would probably be able to perform a different or higher-quality job from the current perspective. The root cause analysis should show whether the deficiencies are based on willingness (motivation), ability (qualification) or permission (ordination).

A distinction must be made between individual, operational and strategic needs analysis. The root cause analysis examines the reasons for the deviations between target requirements and existing skills. The cause of the deviation can be based on a lack of permission (ordination), a lack of willingness (motivation) or a lack of ability (qualification) and result in corresponding personnel development needs.

Phase 2: set goals

The target planning defines the horizon of personnel development as coverage planning. It describes the concrete development result that is to be achieved with the content to be selected and the methods of personnel development to be used and thus has a transitory character. These goals should be worked out in dialogue, be binding and accepted. Acceptance can only be expected if the actors' benefit calculations are satisfactory in each case. In this respect, those involved estimate whether the goals are significant, valuable, achievable, controllable and influenceable for them. When formulating the target, the target area and the target level must be determined. They are differentiated into cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning goals. Cognitive learning goals strive for a change in intelligible ability. This manifests itself as the ability to understand the material and cultural world rationally, to grasp things and ideas and to make them usable for oneself and others. Motivation and talent are different for each person (individual aspect of learning). Because of this, people's subjective learning and development efforts differ.

Phase 3: creative design

The creative design of the personnel development measures defines the infrastructure of the personnel development measures in terms of time, subject matter and personnel. It has to be clarified specifically when and where personnel development is to be carried out. Personnel planning determines the number of participants and speakers, determines who is responsible for the administration of personnel development, and clarifies e.g. B. also with comparative studies, which measures lead to cost-effective success for a given goal. Creative design determines the learning organization, the learning times and the sequence of measures. The creative design also includes cost planning, the calculation of the measures and the allocation of costs.

Phase 4: implementation

Personnel development Lernorte.png

Personnel development measures are carried out internally, externally, on-the-job, off-the-job and in mixed forms. Those responsible determine whether the implementation is going according to plan or whether corrections are necessary (target, content and pedagogical corrections).

Team-oriented work and mutual support in the learning and work process change personnel development on site. The executives in particular support the implementation of personnel development in team and group concepts as trainers, consultants, coaches and mentors. The full-time personnel developers act as facilitators to support the learning and work processes with media, moderation and train-the-trainer activities.

Phase 5: success control

The success control measures and evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of personnel development measures. The success control phases are context control, goal control, input control, learning progress control, learning success control, transfer control.

Context control is generally used to describe the control activities that are carried out during the planning phase of a personnel development event. As progress controls, learning progress controls check the learning growth, the learning motivation, the methods and the media. They include both pedagogical and business control and serve as a decision-making aid for planning future personnel development measures. The determination of the success in the learning field motivates the participants to be more willing to learn and improves their learning intensity and endurance. On the other hand, due to the planned success controls, the participants' fear of failure can be increased, which can lead to individual participants staying away from certain personnel development measures.

The transfer control tries to determine to what extent the personnel development measure has actually had a positive effect in the real situation in the company and checks both the scope (content-related transfer control) and the methods of transfer security (methodical transfer control). The content transfer control asks how much knowledge and skills will be applied in the workplace after the measure has been completed. The methodical transfer control asks whether the transfer counseling, the return interviews and the transfer support at the workplace are carried out systematically and promptly.

An unsystematic needs analysis, unclearly formulated learning goals, unprofessional creative design, unsuitable evaluation methods and the lack of acceptance of those involved in personnel development hinder success control.

Phase 6: transfer security

Personnel development measures are only successfully completed when the employees apply what they have learned on the job to cope with their tasks. The transfer control takes place in the work area and determines whether problems that existed before the implementation of a personnel development measure have been permanently resolved. Transfer security must take place in close cooperation between managers and employees. In particular, the managers provide support by encouraging employees to apply the knowledge they have acquired to their work. If personnel development takes place at the workplace and on the specific learning object, then the transfer problem is overcome because the learning and working fields coincide.


Professionalization of the personnel developer

The basic occupations in personnel development are quite diverse. Social scientists, ergonomists, lawyers, pedagogues and especially economists find their way into personnel development. Although more and more technical college and university graduates are working in personnel development, many practitioners are still active as trainers, consultants and managers in personnel development. Because there is no uniform qualification for personnel developers, professionalization has to be carried out alongside work.

Concept of professionalization

The term profession has a long tradition, but the content of the term is difficult to narrow down due to the complexity of the assigned meanings. In general, professionalization comprises a continuous process of specialization of socially recognized and required, more or less homogeneous bundles of activities. Ideally, this bundle of activities (or better: the behavior and action expectations generally directed towards a bundle of activities) are summarized as a profession. In this understanding, professionalization can be understood as a process of social professionalization.

Professionalization depending on knowledge and recognition

The goals of professionalization are the standardization of requirements and skills, the bundling of influence to enforce the interests of the respective profession and the generation of identification through recognition and respect for typical performance and behavior patterns. An individual belongs to a profession if he meets the formal, technical and personal standards of the corresponding profession. By belonging the individual experiences collective protection, status and recognition. At home characterizes professionalization as a process of increasing systematized specialist knowledge. This contrasts with the broad, summary view of the "old established professions", e.g. B. Doctor, lawyer, pharmacist or teacher. In this view, professionalization aims at the authority that a profession has in the imagination of the reference person and the associated social significance. Authority is the relative degree of influence given to a professional. Professional politics , efforts to distinguish themselves, symbols of the class and the experience of the people they relate to shape the authority of a profession.

Hartmann - see figure - summarizes professionalization as a function of the two variables knowledge and recognition. Accordingly, professionalization takes place when knowledge grows and recognition increases. The two variables are interdependent in generating professionalism. The one-sided increase in knowledge is therefore not a sufficient, but a necessary condition for professionalization.

Fuhr further divides into classic professions and expert professions. Classic professions are characterized by the characteristics of grouping together in a professional association, professional ethical obligation, service ethic and autonomy. The autonomy of the classic professions, e.g. B. the doctor or the notary, results from the low ability of the inquirer to be able to judge the quality of the professional service. So that autonomy does not become arbitrary, professions are regulated by bureaucratic structures, social controls and professional ethical sanctioning bodies. The function of the personnel developer, for whom these characteristics do not apply, is therefore an expert activity; there are still no standardized careers that lead to it, at best there are internal corporate career paths . In many industries, the decisions and functions of the personnel developer are restricted by the line managers, who reserve the final decision for personnel selection, further training, etc. In small and medium-sized companies one has to speak of a semi-professional activity, which - although the range of methods of personnel development is becoming more and more professional and there are countless further training courses for it - is not perceived by specially qualified personnel but by outsiders.

Trends and characteristics

Individual area

Personnel development should not only contribute to the individual development of the employee and his life planning, but also support this through a suitable company career (" work-life balance "). Personnel development should promote the specific employee potential, taking into account individual interests and strengths.

An important area of ​​individual personnel development is the training and further education of executives ( executive development ). In order for personnel development measures to be reflected in concrete behavior in this target group, pure further education events are generally not sufficient. In this context, managers often complain about “resistance to further training”. In an international comparison, there are clear differences in the understanding of leadership and the corresponding training of managers.

In contrast to older, deficit-oriented approaches in PD (training in knowledge gaps), there is currently an increasing trend towards strengthening employee resources (see also coaching ). A very basic approach comes from the development of the ego , since here the basic personality structures of a person are taken into account, which significantly influence the way knowledge and experience are processed in order to better understand the overall context of a person. Such efforts are connected with the insight to increase the efficiency, the commitment and the fit of the field of activity and the person. In this way, the capacities and resources of individual employees and, in particular, high-performance managers can be adjusted and used in a targeted manner. This perspective in PD, which is at least relevant for high-performers, owes its approach to the knowledge that, despite high unemployment in general, not very many freelance high-performers with intercultural skills and a high academic or professional level are available on the labor market.

In addition to the classic, receptive-oriented training and induction topics, individual personnel development measures are also common for managers. Examples are mediation in the area of ​​releasing secrets or, in individual cases, psychotherapeutic interventions in the area of ​​anxiety therapy for managers, coaching on bullying problems in teams or burn-out situations (Graf, Vienna, psychotherapy in the working world ).

Collective area

In the collective field it uses to achieve the operational objectives in processes of change management ( change management ) and operational organizational development in addition to the above elements, the remuneration and incentive and compensation models. Innovative working time regulations that take account of work and organizational psychology support the goals of PD. Concepts for leadership and team development are also important.

Personnel development takes place in the practice of systematic processes of further education and development also and especially from a systemic point of view. The design of groups in their dependence on context-related guidelines is becoming increasingly important, especially against the background of the rapidly changing corporate cultures due to mergers and frequent job changes of the individual or project-related tasks.

Since when putting together temporary work groups, particular attention should be paid to the fit of the individual resources in the sense of a holistic group performance, the PE makes use of aptitude diagnostics in advance . The focus here is on applicant management and the selection of the right applicant.

Systemic personnel development

In the area of ​​personnel development, systems theory centers on the integration of the knowledge and skills of employees into the actions of the organization. A major influence on the structures of the organization is achieved by changing the communication structures . Communication forms the context that determines how decisions about personnel development measures are received by the organization. System formation is achieved by giving meaning. Personnel development serves to convey meaning by communicatively conveying the need for learning and changing, structuring and simplifying, order and delimitation to the actors involved. In this understanding, personnel development is effective as an element to stabilize the higher-level company system.

However, personnel development is also a system with functional independence that institutionalizes and regularly determines and limits the actions of the actors. In order to have authorization and validity as an independent system, personnel development must distinguish itself from other subsystems of the company in terms of content and form. It has to perform an independent task, develop its own methods and professional behavior. Thus, personnel development itself is a system and at the same time a system element for the corporate super-system.

Systemic personnel development takes into account that it is only possible to a limited extent to influence the system from outside. Interventions aimed at changing the system, e.g. B. by external consultants, have an indirect effect on the system by encouraging it to perceive, assess and process the benefits of information from the environment for the organization. The effects of the change impulses coming from the personnel development system itself, e.g. B. the advice of the management by a personnel development unit, depends "primarily not on the intention of the intervention, but on the way of organization and the rules of the self-control of the system." Self-control means that a system subordinates itself according to set goals Can keep control.

A prerequisite for successful systemic personnel development is therefore that it understands the functioning of the hypersystem company and activates the employees as co-responsible for the design of personnel development.

Generations of Implication

Following the generation scheme of personnel development, which divides it into ideal-typical phases according to the degree of maturity, the systematic personnel development in the functional cycle corresponds to the second generation (differentiation phase). This differs from the first generation (institutionalization phase) as a system of systematic, target-oriented planning, control, implementation and evaluation of measures and goes beyond the reactive elimination of qualification gaps. The methodical safeguarding of personnel development is based on the functional cycle, the phases of which are detailed in their sequence and adaptability to the individual company situation in the following chapters.

If personnel development also includes organizational development measures, the transition to the third generation of personnel development is completed. The aim of this phase is to increase the problem-solving ability of the employees through their increased participation in organizational development measures. In understanding the integration phase of personnel development, its design reaches the highest level. The “personal system human”, the “organizational unit team” and the “macroeconomic system company” are optimally coordinated in the integration network.

Competence-based personnel development

Competence-based personnel development (sometimes also “competence-oriented”) describes personnel development that uses competencies as an abstraction of human abilities, skills and knowledge as the primary control instrument.

Competency model

Competency model

In order to standardize all personnel development measures in a company, a company-wide uniform competence model (also known as a competence catalog) is used in competence-based personnel development. Here, all necessary competencies are organized in a hierarchical structure and assigned a corresponding target value to the individual job roles in the company (see also competence management , as well as the research work of John Erpenbeck ).

A breakdown into

  • Field of competence
  • Individual competence
  • Behavior anchor

offers itself. The behavior anchor is a description of observable behavior that is as objectively as possible and the basis for the survey of individual characteristics of a competence. With 3–5 behavior anchors each, most individual competencies can be mapped well. The summary of the individual competencies into fields of competence enables the aggregation of values ​​and facilitates evaluation.

The expert survey method is ideal for developing a competence model. Current successful job holders as well as experts who are supposed to assess the future development of the requirements for the job role are interviewed and the results are worked out in behavioral anchors. When developing the competency model, the behavioral anchors and later when determining the characteristics, a whole series of questions arise from an academic point of view that are not in the foreground for a pragmatic use in a company.

Multi-rater feedback

Individual evaluation with self and external image comparison

As part of cyclical surveys, the characteristics of the competencies of each employee are recorded through self-assessments and one or more external assessments ( multi-rater feedback , 360 ° feedback ). The characteristics of the behavior anchors are to be rated on a 5-point scale. The mean values ​​of the behavior anchors then result in the value for the individual competence.

The collected data can be used as a classic four-field matrix with the fields

  • Strength, self and external assessors agree that there are NO deficits
  • Weaknesses, those who judge themselves and others agree that there are deficits
  • hidden strength, the external appraiser rates better than the self appraiser
  • blind spot, the self-assessor rates better than the external assessor

be evaluated.

Individual profile -blue-
target value for the job role -red-

Another form of evaluation is the competence profile. Here, comparisons can be made to the target values, group mean values ​​and historical data and deficits can also be used as the basis for an individual development plan. Through repeated surveys, both the development progress and the effectiveness of the selected development measures can be observed.

Implementation challenges

There have been approaches to organize personnel development in this way for many years. The particular problem lies in the large amounts of data to be processed and the increasingly decentralized companies, as well as the confidentiality with which surveys and evaluations have to be carried out.

Perspectives and trends

It was only the spread of the Internet, in particular the possibility of obtaining the technologies entirely via the Internet, and the use of databases that created a perspective so that software platforms are now available that can be used to make the approach practicable.
A more recent trend is specifically Personnel Development 2.0, which stands for a new generation of personnel development due to Web 2.0 and social media . New platforms enable employees to actively contribute their knowledge and skills like never before. Anyone can be a teacher today by sharing some of their knowledge via YouTube , blogs , forums , podcasts or Twitter . Learning from one another and drawing attention to one's own knowledge is becoming more important than traditional learning in the sense of self-study and testing. Knowledge management has been revolutionized. Isolated document cemeteries are giving way to networks of experts and knowledge seekers. Mobile devices and learning content that is available via short podcasts, for example, enable learning anywhere and at any time. Social media and Web 2.0 use social networks and transparent labor markets to promote employee-controlled development of individual life and career plans. Since more and more media-competent employees are pushing into the company (the so-called Generation Y ), for whom dealing with social media is an immanent part of their communication, companies are faced with the challenge of introducing this into personnel development as well, without demotivating older employees or lose.

Limits of personnel development

Organizational development

The elimination of operational bottlenecks or the creation of better working conditions is i. d. Usually not seen as a task of personnel development. In modern companies, however, personnel development works closely with those responsible for operational organizational development and management .


In larger companies, company doctors and psychologists are sometimes able to use therapeutic means or interventions at the individual level to deal with the complicated network of role behavior, personal demands on the employee and the specific work and team environment, taking into account the employee's other social conditions consider. This does not mean performing psychotherapy in the classic sense. Individual steps from the area of behavior therapy , systemic therapy (systemic organizational development) or short-term therapeutic aids for employees in stressful and stressful situations have also been used in company coaching and supervision since the late 1980s . The pioneers here were social and charitable institutions as well as clinics where employees have easier access to relevant knowledge. Small companies that do not have such resources use the offers of independent doctors, coaches or personnel developers.

For the most part, however, the area of ​​psychotherapeutic interventions is not seen in the context of corporate personnel development. If psychological stressful situations take on the character of a pronounced disorder or clear disease value and cannot be developed in coaching (e.g. longer depressive episodes, reduced affective perception, pronounced addictive behavior, etc.) and no self-strengthening is to be expected due to the course of the episode, it is id Usually not the task of personnel development to carry out extensive psychotherapy. The delimitation to coaching takes place here where the affective self-control function of the client is no longer given or a persistent stress disorder with disease value is diagnosed. At this point, classic personnel development refers to the medical field (cf. Sigrid Weber, Zurich University of Applied Psychology) .

In addition, this view also supports arguments that generally view medical work in the environment of company practitioners who are bound by instructions as critical for reasons of data protection law . The problem is that such treatment has to be assigned to the personnel development cost center and controlling with employee-specific billing of such services cannot easily be reconciled with data protection regulations and medical confidentiality about the duration and frequency of therapy.

Individual representatives of an integrated human resources development and industrial psychologists as the Austrian Helmut Graf , however, see also the need for a supportive or therapeutic work with methods from the behavioral therapy or systemic therapy as well as in combination with systemic organizational development for managers in burnout , bullying , alcohol and drug prevention, Integration after a long illness as well as trauma after work accidents are required. (Helmut Graf, Psychotherapy in the world of work. Springer Verlag Vienna / New York 2003) .

See also


  • M. Becker: Personnel Development. Education, promotion and organizational development in theory and practice. 6., act. u. revised Edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2013.
  • M. Becker: Systematic personnel development. Planning, management and control in the functional cycle. 2nd Edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2011.
  • M. Becker, V. Schwarz, A. Schwertner: Theory and practice of personnel development. Current contributions from science and practice. Rainer Hampp, Munich 2002.
  • H. Einsiedler, K. Breuer, S. Hollstegge, M. Janusch: Organization of personnel development. Align strategically - plan precisely - control effectively. 2nd Edition. Luchterhand, Frankfurt am Main 2003.
  • F. Gairing: Organizational development as a learning process for people and systems. 4th edition. Beltz, Weinheim 2008.
  • E. Gaugler, WA Oechsler, W. Weber: Short dictionary of personnel. 3rd, revised. u. supplementary edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-7910-8049-0 ., 2004.
  • Ulrich Hinsen: Management communication . Dialogues. Communication in transition - change in communication. Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940543-05-9 .
  • UP Kanning: Promotion of social skills in personnel development. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8017-2072-8 .
  • S. Kraft: Companies in transition. Knowledge and ability in a social context. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-631-55795-7 .
  • MT Meifert: Strategic Personnel Development - A program in eight stages. Springer Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-29573-0 .
  • Jürgen Peterke: Handbook of Personnel Development. Cornelsen Verlag Scriptor, Berlin 2006.
  • J. Ryschka, M. Solga, A. Mattenklott (Hrsg.): Praxishandbuch Personalentwicklung. Instruments, concepts, examples . Gabler, Wiesbaden 2005.
  • W. Sarges: Competencies instead of requirements - just old wine in new bottles? In: H.-C. Riekhof (Ed.): Strategies of Personnel Development 6th Edition. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2006, pp. 133-148. (PDF)
  • D. Scheffer, W. Sarges: The competence development model: Living competence models based on the development square. In: J. Erpenbeck , L. v. Rosentstiel (Ed.): Handbook of competence measurement . 2nd Edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2007.
  • M. Scherm, W. Sarges: 360 ° feedback. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2002.
  • A. Schmidt, C. Kunzmann, E. Biesalski: Systematic personnel development with ontology-based competence catalogs: concepts, experiences and visions. In: Gronau et al. (Ed.): Symposium on Competence Management in Practice - Training, Staffing and Incentive Systems, Potsdam, October 5, 2006. GITO-Verlag, Berlin 2006. (PDF)
  • H. Schuler (Ed.): Textbook of Personnel Psychology. 2., ext. and completely revised Edition. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2005.
  • K. Sonntag: Personnel development. In: H. Schuler (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Psychology D / III / 3: Organizational Psychology - Basics and Personal Psychology. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2004, pp. 827-890.
  • Rolf Stiefel: Personnel development in small and medium-sized companies. Luchterhand et al., Neuwied et al. 1991.
  • R. Stock-Homburg: Personnel Management: Theories - Instruments - Concepts. 2nd Edition. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2010.
  • A. Trost, Jenewein, T. (Ed.): Personalentwicklung 2.0. Next generation learning, knowledge sharing and talent development. Luchterhand Verlag, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-472-07878-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. cf. M. Becker, 2005, p. 4.
  2. Schuler, 2005.
  3. R. Stock-Homburg, 2010, p. 205.
  4. cf. Mentzel, 1997, p. 16.
  5. J. Peterke, 2006, p. 11.
  6. ^ Based on Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon, “Personalentwicklung”, online :
  7. S. Bimmler, A. Kleinert, M. Bonhage: sustainability of personnel development measures. MES GmbH Working Paper, Cologne 2009, p. 13 f. Online: ( Memento of the original dated November 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (pdf) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Solga, Ryschka, Mattenklott, 2005, p. 17; see. also Holling & Liepmann, 2004; Sunday 2004.
  9. Solga, Ryschka, Mattenklott, 2005, p. 18.
  10. Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs NRW: Staying competitive with potential advice. In: Official website of MAGS NRW. Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs NRW, accessed on August 11, 2018 .
  11. cf. Drumm, 2000, p. 381.
  12. cf. Lichtenberger, 1999, p. 294.
  13. cf. Becker, p. 483ff., 2002.
  14. cf. Staudt / Kriegesmann, 2000, p. 40.
  15. cf. Becker / Schwarz, 2001, p. 20.
  16. cf. Becker, p. 312ff., 2002.
  17. cf. Becker, 2002, p. 418ff.
  18. cf. Trebesch, 2000.
  19. cf. Becker, p. 112ff., 1999.
  20. cf. J. Münch, 1995, p. 112.
  21. cf. J. Beyer, T. Metz, 1995, p. 188.
  22. cf. O. Neuberger, 1997, p. 140.
  23. M. Becker, pp. 186 ff, 2001.
  24. cf. H. Wächter, 1987, p. 142.
  25. cf. P. Putz, B. Nöbauer, 1995, p. 56.
  26. cf. M. Becker, 2001, p. 186.
  27. cf. H. Daheim, 1977, p. 12.
  28. cf. K. Büchter, W. Hendrich, p. 17 ff, 1996.
  29. cf. H. Hartmann, p. 36 ff, 1972.
  30. cf. T. Fuhr, 1991, p. 29.
  31. cf. Kunzmann & Schmidt 2007.