Review: The Future of Work in the Digital Transformation

Review: The Future of Work in the Digital Transformation

Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Works Councils in Changing Times

The “acatech” – National Academy of Science and Engineering, is a Germany based working academic institution, that provides advice to policymakers and the general public on strategic issues relating to the technological sciences and technology policy. The paper, published in April 2017, with the subtitle “Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Work Councils in Changing Times”, will be reviewed in this post and set in a context to the cybaLOUNGE platform.

You can look into the paper by following this link:


The publication is intended as a discussion, to provide new ideas for changes in the field of work to come. The three main aspects or key indicators are, as stated in the title, 1) agility, 2) lifelong learning and 3) development of company-level co-determination. The chapters on these key indicators are enriched with status quos, how-tos, use-cases, research, examples and summaries, respectively key messages to ensure a better insight.  

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

As the digital transformation is setting off to change how work will be seen, the authors of the paper have identified three key indicators, which will be summarized subsequently.

1) Agility

Agility is defined within the paper as “the ability of a company’s organisa­tion and decision-makers to respond rapidly and flexibly to new customer requirements, technological developments and com­petitors (…)”. As a result, five key messages for shaping an organisation by using an agile working model are listed:

  • Increase competitiveness, productivity and employee satisfaction
  • Facilitate new flexible working time arrangements
  • Remove obstacles to working with freelancers
  • Promote individual employee skills management
  • Use new feedback tools to strengthen performance management

2) Lifelong Learning

As employees are seen as “responsible adults” and as such a valuable asset, they should have the opportunity learn and develop over the whole circle of their work life. The scope of lifelong learning lies within organizations and employees and points out how digitalization can support this process.

  • Take advantage of the opportunities offered by digi­talisation
  • Work together to maintain employees’ ability to per­form their duties and their employability
  • Promote autonomy and self-reliance through person­alised solutions
  • Leave lifelong learning in the hands of the company
  • Enhance more flexible regulations
  • Support the efforts of companies and employees

3) Development of company-level co-determination

To shape an organization according to the needs of digital transformation company-level co-determination inherits a key role, to improve the chance to adapt and react quickly and effective to new market conditions. The following key messages are thought as impulses to optimize this process.

  • Develop a modern understanding of co-determination
  • Adapt to the requirements of different organisational forms, employee groups and real-world cultures
  • Promote the flexible introduction of IT tools and agile workplace equipment
  • Allow experimentation to facilitate controlled change
  • Involve employees in the work of the social partners
  • Recognise the new market conditions and faster rate of change as success factors
  • Accelerate processes and be bolder about using agile methods
  • Establish a legal basis for faster decision-making

Significance of these aspects for the cybaLOUNGE platform

The cybaLOUNGE platform can support organizations in all of these three aspects by providing infrastructure and solutions for communication, collaboration, training, etc. In the field of agility, organizations can be provided with internal virtual workshop rooms to enhance flexible working arrangements and to remove obstacles of working with freelancers. To promote lifelong learning, virtual training courses can be implemented in the development of human resources. Also, to improve the level of co-determination in international organizations, flexible tools for IT are available, which support a enhanced participation for every stakeholder, no matter where he or she is located.

Read in our next issue in detail how we intend to do this.

Citation: Jacobs, J. C./Kagermann, H./Spath, D. (Eds.): Work in the Digital Transformation – Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Works Councils in Changing Times. A paper by the acatech and Jacobs Foundation Human Resources Working Group – Forum for HR Directors on the Future of Work (acatech DISCUSSION), Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag 2017.

Vinzenz Zehmisch

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