Personnel Development in the Digital Age: 8 reasons for digitalizing personnel development

Carla Pieper -unless-

In Germany in particular, digitalization is still a difficult and highly debated topic, while in countries like China, digitalization is taken for granted and integrated into all areas of life. The nostalgic memory of the corner shop still lingers and the discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of digitalization seems to pop up every few weeks like a cookies-notification window. However, the virtual world is no longer a question of pros and cons, but a question of how to make it a part of our lives in a considered way. For this to work, a rethinking is required in all areas of a company. Above all, departments such as personnel development, concerned with the further education and training of employees, must explore new, digital paths and be willing to learn, just like the employees. 

1. Going digital saves money

Trainers and travel expenses, meals and conference tickets – traditional personnel development often requires effort to organize and can cost money. In some cases, the cost is justified by side effects like team building, but personnel development should always be evaluated to make sure it’s worth what you’re paying. E-learning models are much more cost-effective and are often very flexible thanks to monthly payment options.

2. Anytime, anywhere

Home office, business trip or off-site work – the modernization of our working world more and more requires training that’s flexible, both in time and place. Digital personnel development can be done on a laptop, tablet or smartphone thanks to the availability of online courses and is therefore usually available whenever and wherever it’s needed. Only in some instances, there’s a fixed time – for example, for live webinars.


Two colleagues working together on their laptops

3. E-learning and empowerment

Training yourself effectively and with little effort — a contradiction? Not necessarily.ecause e-learning is such an advantageous method of personnel development. it creates important prerequisites and framework conditions for modern and targeted learning for employees. Apps and online applications provide the necessary flexibility. This creates a motivating learning atmosphere and helps to quickly absorb learning content and use it directly in the modern working environment. Thanks to digital methods of personnel development, knowledge and new skills from other disciplines can be conveyed in a targeted manner. This provides the best conditions for personnel development. Above all, e-learning is also an opportunity to motivate employees because the company puts training in their hands: The more empowerment, the more an employee feels connected to the company!

4. Flexible learning content

The digital methods of personnel development adapt to the current challenges of our modern work, not only in terms of when and where it can be done but also in terms of the content. Depending on demand, the education market offers a wide range of services and programs. The wide-ranging online market is constantly evolving and, because of that, can respond quickly to the rapidly developing requirements of the labor market. Platforms such as Coursera and Udacity work together with other educational institutions such as universities, ensuring that digital personnel development stays at the cutting edge and that learners are motivated by the prospect of receiving a prestigious certificate.

5. Digital competence

More and more jobs are being replaced by digital tools. Digital expert Karl-Heinz Land predicts an extreme vision for the future: He predicts that in 15 to 20 years time, half of the work we know today will no longer exist, and no one will work for money in 30 to 40 years. This perspective is contrary to the idea that digitalization creates new professional fields and that some fields of activity cannot be replaced by mechanization. These include, for example, creative work and management tasks. In addition to further developing the content of these areas, it is also important to help employees prepare for a new working experience, which in the future will include more and more new programs and online tools. Personnel development can not only set a good example but also make a central contribution to the digital capability of employees using modern tools.


6. Blended learning

The education-specific term "blended learning" means "integrated learning." In other words, this means that face-to-face training, such as at seminars, are linked to online courses or distance learning. According to the principle of blended learning, all learning content that does not necessarily have to be given on-site at a certain time can also be taught in the form of e-learning. In this way, digital personnel development is a useful supplement to existing approaches — for example, an in-house language course for employees can be complemented by a language learning app such as Babbel.

Learn more about blended learningThe comprehensive overview of the blended learning method. Find valuable insights on the topic in our free e-book. Download now.

7. Employer branding

The use of digital instruments for personnel development is also conducive to employer branding. Employer branding is essentially about strengthening the employer brand to make the employer more attractive to a number of stakeholders, namely applicants and prospective applicants. If a company uses modern methods of personnel development for the qualification of its employees, this also makes it more attractive for potential candidates. The digital tools for personnel development can also be used as benefits or incentives for the employees of a company. They strengthen the loyalty of specialists and managers and also have positive effects on strategic personnel management.

8. New methods for personnel development

Digital, fast and innovative: Modern personnel development requires new methods. The central goal of human resources development is to consistently motivate employees and retain them for as long as possible. Traditional off-the-job measures such as classroom training and seminars, but also congresses or even adventure learning, are often used for this purpose. But the globalization and mechanization of economic processes present many companies with modern challenges and at the same time requires a new work culture. In times of “Work 4.0,” new approaches are also required in personnel development to make it possible to respond even more strongly to the individual advancement of employees and to prepare them not only for agile work but also for constantly changing requirement profiles. Digital tools can support personnel development and at the same time become part of a modern and attractive work culture by blurring the classical boundary between learning and working.


So many choices

Even if the personnel development in some companies still lags behind the pulse of time, the online education market offers a large selection. Many e-learning programs, tools and providers are available to companies and their employees. As a rule, these providers can already be found just by searching on the internet. However, it’s important to consider quality and established providers when choosing the programs. In addition, it makes sense to focus on continuing education programs that offer certified degrees or certificates, have valuable partnerships with other organizations and can demonstrate sound didactic competence. 

As a general rule, digitalizing personnel development should be considered carefully. In addition to utilizing digital personnel development, it also makes sense to continue promoting face-to-face formats. This is the only way for employees to get to know each other personally and to avoid anonymity in the company. Therefore, it is often worth organizing team training courses in person and approaching individual learning in a digitalized way. And as so often in life, quality has a price, even for digital personnel development, though it is certainly much cheaper than the traditional approaches to personnel development.


Find out more about digital learningWant to find out more about digital learning in companies? Take advantage of the extensive experience of our experts and download our free booklet.

Carla Pieper, Digital Learning Specialist 

Carla is passionate about trends and best practices in language learning, digitization and diversity. At Babbel, the learning success of her customers is particularly important to her.

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