The Federal Administration is aligning its human resources strategy with the digital transformation

The Federal Administration’s personnel strategy 2020-2023 is all about digitalisation. With the two focal points of “shaping digital transformation” and “gaining and developing competencies”, staff are being prepared for the profound changes of digital transformation, writes our guest author Jorge Kühni, the Vice Director of the Federal Personnel Office. The new strategy continues to build on the personnel policy of the federal administration, which is defined in its main features in the Federal Personnel Law, but sets a clear focus in terms of content for the coming years. An important element is the direct approach to the target group, which is placed in the foreground. Employees, managers and HR professionals are invited to make their own contribution to the implementation in their working environment. Ultimately, they are the decisive actors in the cultural change that forms the basis for a successful digital transformation.

Creating conditions and enabling leeway

Central measures such as “standardising and digitalising HRM processes”, “realigning and digitalising the target agreement and personnel assessment process”, “defining new leadership principles and values” and “preparing HR specialists for their role in the context of the digital transformation” are intended to create good conditions in the federal administration for the upcoming changes. In doing so, the departments and administrative units should be given sufficient leeway to additionally shape their working environment with suitable activities. A prerequisite for this, however, is a self-critical examination of the digital transformation on site. Employees, managers and HR specialists are required to reflect on the expectations formulated in the Federal Administration’s personnel strategy 2020-2023 in their own context and to determine where they stand. This aspect plays a decisive role in successful implementation. It creates the necessary reference to one’s own working environment, where ultimately the changes take place.

Rethinking the role of managers

Technological and social changes are increasingly shaping everyday management in the federal administration as well. On the one hand, they offer many opportunities for shaping work; on the other hand, they present managers with new challenges. Mobile working, flatter hierarchies, compatibility between private and working life as well as meaningful, inspiring tasks are just a few keywords in this regard. It is undisputed that the leadership task will experience a strong change due to the current developments. The examination of one’s own leadership role, which is addressed in various places in the Federal Administration’s personnel strategy 2020-2023, is therefore of central importance. The digital transformation is increasingly replacing classic leadership models. It requires new approaches and a contemporary understanding of leadership, which must be lived by superiors and accepted by employees. In the digital world, managers must above all trust their employees, give them responsibility and be open to new ideas. In doing so, they increasingly take on the role of coach and enabler.

Preparing HR for the future

The tasks in the area of human resources will experience strong changes in the future. With the digitalisation of HRM processes, a central measure for the implementation of the Federal Administration’s HR Strategy 2020-2023, administrative tasks will increasingly be eliminated. Staff will have new possibilities to manage their own data and trigger transactions directly. HR will therefore be challenged in the coming years to expand its advisory services and strengthen its role as a strategic partner in the change processes. HR professionals must be well prepared for the digital transformation. This measure is also explicitly envisaged as part of the implementation of the strategy. Strengthening the role of HR is a challenging task, as it requires critical examination of its own processes and persuasion through ongoing dialogue with decision-makers at all levels. The latter must be convinced by the quality, commitment and transparency of HR services. Digitalisation offers HR opportunities to position itself strongly where personal contact is required and individual solutions need to be found. People are still needed for the digital transformation. Ultimately, they are the key to success.


References

  1. The Federal Administration as an employer: https://www.stelle.admin.ch/stelle/de/home.html
  2. About the personnel strategy of the Federal Personnel Office: https://www.epa.admin.ch/epa/de/home.html

AUTOR/AUTORIN: Jorge Kuehni

Jorge Kühni is Vice Director of the Federal Personnel Office. He has headed the Basic Development and Training Center business unit since 2018. His responsibilities also include nationwide personnel marketing, diversity management and health management. Previously, he headed the Human Resources and Organizational Development division in the DDPS General Secretariat and worked as a research assistant for the University of St. Gallen.

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