"You can only talk about the digital transformation if you haven't experienced it before," Bierod-Bähre told a gathering of HR directors. Bierod-Bähre, head of HR at KIND Unternehmensgruppe, a leader in hearing acoustics, believes that today's digital natives go into a new job with expectations of their employer that were unknown until now. But what does that mean for a company's leaders?
It means that "managers themselves have to be comfortable using digital technologies if they want to convey the need for change and make that message credible," said Bierod-Bähre. The digital age has made the traditional top-down hierarchy, whereby only those at the top have the most information, obsolete. Today, business information has to be available to every employee - in real time.
Another consequence of this shift is that the role of individual experts is diminishing. It is being replaced by collective kno wledge. Collaboration is increasingly taking place through project-based networks and blogs. In this new environment, personnel management should remain in the background and not force its way to the front.
"We need more leadership and less management," said Bierod-Bähre. The roles of planner, organizer and controller don’t work in virtual teams. More important is being able to convey a vision. Leaders need to inspire their employees, invest in their development and create a strong identification to the company.
This shift is also being driven by the speed of change in today’s business world. Organizational structures change more quickly than they did in the past. Rigid structures don't work anymore. By contrast, project teams are nimble, the composition of a team can change continuously, and a team often has changing bosses. The rise of the mobile office and the distribution of staff across different time zones also make it necessary to develop a new understanding of how to lead people.
Besides Sandra Bierod-Bähre many other HR experts shared exciting insights about the changing world of work. You can be there, too: at the HR Roundtable in hall 5, stand B.26.