The Learning Company

Find out more about the issue of Knowledge & Competences.

A lecturer sits at a table together with a student and shows her something in a book.

To remain competitive and successful, companies need to acquire new knowledge – but they also need to maintain existing know-how and make it accessible within the company. The Initiative New Quality of Work offers employers and employees numerous suggestions on the issue of knowledge & competences.

By now, “knowledge“ constitutes more than half of a company’s added value and is a central asset and resource. The ability to identify knowledge critical for success, and being able to learn more effectively and efficiently than competitors, are key competitive factors. Rapid changes in technology and economic structures require, however, the continuous adaptation of competences and qualifications. In addition to the challenge of continuously acquiring and producing new knowledge, it is of fundamental importance for companies that they secure and pass on the specialist knowledge relevant for their organisation. This issue is of growing quantitative and qualitative importance given the wave of "baby boomers" which will soon go into retirement.

For the Initiative New Quality of Work, a continuous and flexible knowledge and competence management system constitutes an essential element of a successful business strategy. Companies need to

  • secure knowledge transfer between generations, and
  • offer relevant training possibilities and foster a culture of lifelong learning.

A cornerstone of successful knowledge and competence management is the support for tailored competency development and qualification which are structurally integrated into everyday working situations and processes. A corporate culture which supports learning in this way enables continuous learning and ensures individual support is provided (e.g. through advice on training possibilities and talent management, as well as through the development of different career paths). More importantly, however, such a culture takes all groups of employees into account. Increasing the participation of older people and of lower-qualified employees represents a notable challenge – and one of shared responsibility.

The development of target-group specific, appropriate and "up to date" training and learning methods to encourage the development of individual competences and strengthen learning receptivity, constitute an important foundation for good knowledge and competence management. They also mean that greater emphasis and focus must be placed on the competences, strengths and development opportunities of the individual, replacing the still prevailing deficit-focussed view. In addition, learning environments need to be created which facilitate interaction and which offer opportunities for formal and informal learning in both working and everyday life. Enabling greater freedom in work organisation and working processes can contribute to employees experiencing recognition and feeling valued, and recognising training and development as an essential component of organisational development.

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