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If you look at the various advertisements for skills management, you will see the entire range of topics in corporate learning, from knowledge to skills and qualifications to values and competences. Sometimes, however, skills management is explicitly equated with competence management, sometimes simply with the management of qualifications.

What are skills?

Obviously, there is no generally accepted definition of skills. The Duden distinguishes between Hard Skills than "purely professional qualifications" and Soft Skills as "competence in the interpersonal field, ability in dealing with other people". DeepL offers the following terms as a translation: Knowledge, skills, abilities, qualifications and competences, less frequently dexterity, skill, art, dexterity, manual dexterity and expertise.

A sensible definition of skills for corporate learning must be oriented towards company requirements. Corporate learning has the task of making employees fit for today's and tomorrow's challenges in the world of work. Therefore, skills are aimed at the employees' ability to act and the attitude required for this.

Skills enable employees to master the challenges of the work process in a self-organised manner. They presuppose knowledge and qualifications, but primarily require values and competences that are reflected in the attitude and ability to act of the employees.

Thus, the development of skills in an organisation includes both formal and informal learning. This results in the following definition of skills management.

What does skills management involve?

Skill management is a planned, controlled and systematic process with the aim of facilitating the development of the skills of employees and teams - from knowledge and qualifications to values and competences - in a self-organised manner so that the strategic corporate goals are achieved.

Skill management thus encompasses four areas of employee and team development:

  • KnowledgeIn the narrower sense, informational, technical and factual knowledge. In a broader sense, knowledge that is evaluated and related to subjective experiences, which includes rules, values, norms experiences emotions and motivations competences and experiences, but also emotions and motivations.
  • QualificationsThese are clearly defined complexes of knowledge in the narrower sense, skills and abilities that people must have when carrying out occupational activities in order to be able to act in accordance with requirements. They are action-centred and can usually be defined so clearly that they can be recorded in certification procedures outside the work processes, e.g. in examinations.
  • Values: Folders of self-organised action that provide motivation and orientation for employees. Thus they form the core of competencies, which is expressed in the attitude. According to Erpenbeck and Sauter, four value areas can be distinguished:
    • Enjoyment values: Action-guiding folders that make employees prefer actions that give them - physical or mental - pleasure, e.g. developing creative solutions.
    • Benefit values: Action-guiding folders according to which employees prefer actions that promise them benefits in the broadest sense, e.g. standard of living.
    • Ethical values: Folders that guide employees in their actions, making the well-being of many or all people, regardless of who they are, such as respectful behaviour, a concern for action.
    • Social values: Action-guiding folders that move individuals or teams to act in a socially accepted, legally compliant, optimal or innovative way.

There is no competent action without values, values constitute competent action. They can only be acquired through self-action and self-organisation.

  • Competences: Ability to cope with open and unmanageable complex and dynamic challenges, e.g. in professional practice, in a self-organised way. According to Heinrich Roth, four areas of competence can be distinguished:
    • Personal competences: Ability to act self-critically on the basis of values and with the inclusion of different perspectives.
    • Activity competences: Ability to implement agreed projects with a high degree of adaptability, even under difficult conditions.
    • Methodological competences: Ability to creatively master tasks that are initially difficult to solve in a self-organised manner with the necessary technical and methodological knowledge in combination with one's own experiential knowledge.
    • Social competences: Ability to work together conscientiously in a collegial and sensitive manner with sensitivity for the opinions, needs and feelings of others, to break down entrenched patterns of action and to actively contribute to conflict resolution.

Structured change process

The development of organisation-wide skills management therefore requires a structured change process, which primarily targets the following aspects:

  • From externally controlled teaching/learning concepts to self-organised skills development
  • From prescribing standardised educational offerings based on curricula to an enabling culture that promotes self-organised, personalised learning
  • From "teaching" in seminars and workshops to self-organised learning processes with individual value and competence goals at work.

This shifts the focus of workplace learning from knowledge and skills with practice and training to values and competences, to experiential and experiential learning, to social-emotional learning and reflection.

Together with our cooperation partner Dr Frank Edelkraut, mentus GmbH, we have developed a Future Skills model to prepare employees for the challenges of the future.

Do you want to check the extent to which your Future Skills are developed for the challenges of the future? Then register here:

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