What enables employees

Career & Salary

Alexander Mädche, Professor of Information Systems at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has been researching for a number of years, among other things, how employees can better develop and use their skills with the help of software. He coined the term artificial intelligence (KI) -based competence assistance systems and provided an understandable explanation for this: "The navigation system in the car is an assistance system that supports the driver in getting from place A to B. Competency assistance systems also help Employees to continuously develop their skills in the workplace from the current state to a desired target state. " It is no longer appropriate for employees to have a target discussion with their line manager once or twice a year in order to then send them to one or the other further training course in the course of the year.

It is rather a matter of determining what the employee needs based on data, depending on the situation, in order to then offer targeted measures, that is, "pick up the employee where he is," as the scientist puts it. The expansion of competencies should take place "holistically", i.e. on a technical, methodological, social and personal level.

Flow promotion

It depends on the availability of the data in order to recognize whether and when the employee is in the flow, for example, in a state of maximum concentration and productivity, in order to derive what an individualized competence development might look like. Here too, Mädchen has an example ready to explain why personal skills are becoming increasingly important in the digital world of work. It is a fact, and many studies have shown that the attention span is continuously decreasing and employees have to learn to concentrate and focus, according to the observation of the Karlsruhe professor. For example, employees have to learn to deal with interruptions at work - when they are in the flow, for example, to switch off all electronic communication systems such as mobile phones, mail or social media systems.

That is why it is particularly important to find out when an employee is in this flow state. To determine this, the girl started the research project called "Kern" (Kcompetencies edevelop and rcorrect nutzen), which the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) supports with 1.36 million euros as part of its "New Quality of Work" initiative. The aim, according to Mädche, is "to bring together the most diverse interest groups such as employees, employers and works councils" in order to find a consensus on how, in the future, situation-dependent competencies should be developed using AI-based assistance systems. The current discussions around the topics of digitization and home office have once again clearly shown the importance of continuous training.

Employee productivity booster

In the "core" project, the KIT tested chest straps in the experiment room on employees of the Karlsruhe-based company Campusjäger, which transmit physiological data to the researchers in real time. These are analyzed with the help of AI algorithms and individual states such as flow, but also excessive demands or boredom, are automatically recognized. On this basis, personal dashboards are provided for the employees, which show when and in which activities employees are in the flow.

"Existing studies have already shown that employees who frequently experience the flow not only feel more satisfied and comfortable, but are also more productive," says Mädche, summarizing her initial experiences. "An elementary prerequisite for experiencing flow is that the challenges of a task correspond to the skills of the employee." Based on this information, natural language assistance systems are also provided as part of the "Kern" project, which, in dialogue with the employee, support individually tailored skills development.

  1. 1. Communicative competence
    Your communication skills will help you create consensus and understanding of your goals and desires.
  2. 2. Confidence
    Confident means, among other things, to be aware of yourself, to know your own strengths and weaknesses.
  3. 3. Empathy
    Those who are empathetic can more easily convince others of their cause.
  4. 4. Ability to work in a team
    Teamwork is required in every job advertisement. Being able to work in a team means, among other things, to recognize your role in the team and to behave in accordance with the expectations attached to it.
  5. 5. Critical ability
    To be capable of criticism does not only mean to exercise criticism (fair, objective), but also to be able to accept criticism, reflect it and implement it accordingly. Dealing with criticism plays a crucial role, especially in teams, projects and in management situations.
  6. 6. Analytical competence
    If you practice your analytical skills, you will be able to grasp situations quickly and react accordingly.
  7. 7. Trustworthiness
    Trust is the expectation of being able to rely on the other in critical situations.
  8. 8. Self-discipline / self-control
    Those who do not control themselves always remain servants. Only those who have themselves under control can convince others.
  9. 9. Curiosity
    Curiosity is the prerequisite for creativity.
  10. 10. Ability to deal with conflict
    You can only live a self-determined life if you can accept other views and deal openly with others.
  11. 11. Assertiveness
    To assert oneself appropriately means to convince instead of persuading - or forcing. Others will be happy to follow you on your way.
  12. More about soft skills ...
    ... those interested can find it in the book of the same name by Gabriele Peters-Kühlinger and Friedel John - published by Haufe in the practical "TaschenGuide" format (fits in every trouser pocket) for 6.90 euros.