Back to Activity Feed


  • Blog
  • 20 November 2021

Changes in companies today are not the exception, but the norm. Workforce transformation is a term that appears more and more frequently in the context of restructuring in companies. These are usually large-scale personnel changes.

Von Rundstedt, CSG in Germany, have outlined what triggers these transformation processes, what specific measures are associated with them and how you can successfully design workforce transformation.

Article Overview:

  • What is workforce transformation?
  • What are the main triggers for workforce transformation?
  • What measures are associated with workforce transformation?
  • What do you need for a successful workforce transformation?


Workforce transformation is a comprehensive approach for companies and organizations to react to current developments and challenges. Workforce transformation can represent staff increases, staff reductions or staff restructuring as well as a combination of these three elements.

There are situations in which it is necessary to make adjustments at short notice. As a rule, however, these are mainly large-scale measures to align the personnel structure to future needs in the medium to long term.

The importance of workforce transformation is increasing massively. The technological changes in companies are currently being widely discussed, as are questions of New Work and Work 4.0. Business models and ways of working are changing. And, with this, a new personnel strategy and personnel structure is increasingly required in companies, which can be achieved by adding, restructuring and reducing personnel.



A starting point for business transformation and adjustments in the workforce is the future project Industry 4.0, accompanied by robotization, automation, digitization, work 4.0, crowd working, etc. However, the increasing cost pressure also plays a part here. As a result, almost all business models are currently being scrutinized. In order to remain globally competitive in the future in the face of disruptive markets, strategic and organizational changes are necessary.

The new world of work requires new knowledge, new skills and knowledge and requires new ways of working. In order to be innovative and agile, to be able to cope with the demands of a digital future, the workforce must be set up accordingly.

The shortage of skilled workers is also a trigger for workforce transformation. In many areas, companies can no longer find enough employees to ensure their success or to continue their growth path. You feel the consequences of the emptied job market and work hard to develop, retain and retain employees for new tasks.

Against this background, new strategies and innovative concepts are required when it comes to the future viability of companies. With Workforce Transformation, you meet the new HR strategic challenges – purposefully and sustainably.



The process of workforce transformation begins with a comprehensive, targeted analysis. On the one hand, this includes identifying which roles, skills and knowledge you currently need and which you will need in the future. On the other hand, this includes an assessment of which talents are currently in your company and what structure your workforce has. Numerous questions arise, such as:

  • Which skills are the “future skills” and, which ones will no longer be needed in the future?
  • Can your teams react agilely and flexibly to situations in the market?
  • Which employees have the ability to take on key roles in teams?
  • Which and how many employees will retire in the next few years?
  • Which knowledge and which skills do you have to replace with appropriate recruiting and training measures?

All the findings that are gathered in the course of the analysis flow into the basic conceptual design of the workforce transformation. Only if you have a comprehensive picture of the actual and target state can you implement the appropriate measures in a targeted manner.


A particularly sensitive issue when implementing transformation processes is downsizing. Especially when it comes to dismissing a large number of employees at short notice, it is crucial to implement the downsizing in a socially responsible manner. With suitable transfer measures, such as outplacement services, all sides can benefit:

  • Companies are given the security of being able to adhere to the requirements in terms of time planning and the associated costs.
  • Employees significantly improve their prospects for a new job and receive professional support along the way.


Workforce transformation and staff restructuring do not necessarily always lead to job cuts. In some cases, the recruiting costs exceed those for internal retraining. The overriding goal of the measures is therefore important: In the end, every position in the company should be filled with the right employee, if possible.

Especially if the assessment reveals that there are already employees with the appropriate qualifications or potential in the company, it is crucial that they are in the optimal positions for them.

As part of redeployment and retention, it is about the identification of key figures and top performers as well as suitable measures to keep them in the company or to position them in the best possible way.



In order for workforce transformation projects to be successful in the end, various critical success factors must be observed. Above all, companies and organizations must regularly check what skills and knowledge their employees have. This can take the form of career dialogues, but the use of personnel development tools can also be an important element in strategic personnel planning.


When it comes to the implementation of the workforce transformation measures themselves, according to our many years of experience, the existence of a communication strategy is crucial. Personnel restructuring must be communicated correctly – even when it is not about downsizing. This can be seen very clearly in redeployment measures, for example. Some employees feel like “B-goods” or “2nd class employees” when they can no longer do their previous job. Companies must prepare and actively support restructuring processes like these in a communicative manner and support employees in the transformation process.


Workforce transformation projects are complex and require careful planning. If your downsizing and restructuring projects are to be a success, managers, project managers, and the workforce have to take action. The mobilization of all those involved is all the more important because major changes initially cause paralysis or even fear.

Mobilization is a challenge, especially for employees whose skills no longer match current and future requirements – and therefore have to leave the company.

We know from experience: When the triad of legal, financial and advisory components is given, the willingness of employees to leave the company on a voluntary basis increases. A termination agreement (or a notice of termination) triggers a moment of pressure, a severance payment promises financial security, and outplacement advice shows career prospects.

An expert in workforce transformation says, “The triad of legal clarity, financial security and advice on prospects has a strong mobilization potential in personnel restructuring.”

In order for comprehensive change processes such as workforce transformation to succeed, companies and organizations must be ready for transformation. Executives, project managers and HR experts should prepare themselves comprehensively for their tasks with appropriate training.

In-group coaching, all responsible employees receive the same level of information. Individual training courses and seminars are suitable for training courses in conducting motivational talks or separation talks.



Many companies have had experience with workforce transformation for a number of years. Very few companies have their own department or individual employees who deal specifically with the topic of workforce transformation. Especially when it comes to short-term measures for socially acceptable job cuts, there are usually no existing structures, responsible persons or prepared processes.

In view of the shortage of skilled workers and the associated risks such as aging workforce, it is more important than ever to act systematically and future-oriented with regard to personnel planning. The digital change will make changes and adjustments necessary for the foreseeable future, so that the topic of workforce transformation will remain topical in the years to come.

For companies this means that they have to develop structures and processes that make them fit for transformation and agile in the long term. The use of innovative tools and formats such as regular career dialogues should also be checked and, if necessary, used as part of proactive workforce management.


For more information about our workforce transformation services, get in touch today


Guest blog originally published by von Rundstedt. The Career Star Group Member based in Germany.

As the market leader in Outplacement in Germany & at the pulse of time, von Rundstedt respond to human resources changes in companies. Thanks to their in-depth market knowledge, profound network of specialists & dedication to digital technologies, they design & implement customer-specific solutions in record time. As a family-run company, von Rundstedt are particularly close to their customers embracing decency, innovation & responsibility.


  • The future of the hybrid workplace 2022

    In a post-Covid world, the workforce is once again making a return to the office. More employees are seeking to work from home to save on the rising cost of fuel and work related personal ...

    • Blog
    • 24 June 2022
  • The best outplacement companies

    As an HR Director, you want to do right for both employees and the organisation. When restructuring, adequate support is needed for the workforce and only the best outplacement companies will be ...

    • Blog
    • 28 May 2022
  • Leadership in the workplace

    We often talk about how to motivate employees and ensure they are happy, motivated, and stimulated in their work; however, this can only be achieved through good leadership. How do you become a ...

    • Blog
    • 19 May 2022