cover photo Reflect Blog
Ingo Kallenbach

Change Management: Who still needs HR specialists?

For almost 10 years now one has been able to observe on a global basis that the responsibility for human resource tasks, especially in the field of so-called “talent management“ is increasingly shifted from the HR departments to the executives (see Cappelli in HBR 11/2013). An Australian study from 2005 revealed that in 70% of all companies the heads of department have taken on a big part of HR tasks over the last 5 years.
That in itself is no reason to worry. Especially since from our point of view the executives should (secondly) be the ones to take care of their “talents“. Of course, the employees themselves should primarily take on the responsibility for their own potential development.

In particular for young leaders this creeping change in tasks bears some risks: The new tasks require respective knowledge, which most leaders simply do not have.

Therefore, here some thought-provoking questions for executives AND HR specialists

- Which universities/personnel consultants/competitors have so far provided you with the most capable employees?

- How high are the costs of an unoccupied position and how much does an insufficiently challenged employee cost you?
- How many vacant positions can be filled internally, and to which extent does this rate make up for your investments in personnel trainings and further education methods?
- How long are positions in your company occupied by one employee on average?
- How high do you estimate the differences in performance of your employees?
- How successful and effective are your existing systems regarding succession planning, promotion of high-potential candidates and workforce planning? How many of your employees were you actually able to promote and develop?
- How many applications, interviews, assessment centres etc. do you require to fill one position?
- How can you retain high-potential candidates without investing enormous sums for seminars and other further training measures?


For example, many executives hesitate to provide their employees with further training measures, fearing that they might leave the company again soon. Trainings only pay in the long term. The employees in turn change their jobs quickly, because they don’t have any perspective – a vicious circle.

Change Management

This vicious circle can be broken with on-the-job or near-the-job development measures, with job crafting and by means of specific trainings. Such development concepts also have the advantage that the daily workflow is hardly disrupted and that the transfer of what has been learned to everyday situations is very practical. Thus, the challenge for HR specialists is: Create modern development systems that are attractive, effective AND affordable, or else you will become redundant!