What is more important diplomas or skills

Was for Talents and the rampant "diplomitis"
The catchphrase of lifelong learning develops its own life, the diploma becomes more important than what has been learned. Managers and HR departments are looking for capable employees, relying on diplomas instead of knowledge of human nature. No wonder there are so few capable employees on the job market when it is measured on the basis of diplomas instead of experience and real skills. How does a company want to survive in the war for talent if it doesn't even recognize them?

e live in an age in which experiences and skills acquired through everyday action count for little. Not much is going on in the job market without a diploma. A diploma can be obtained for anything and everything today. What was prophesied in the 1980s, namely lifelong learning, is a reality today and is measured on the basis of an acquired diploma. We have a lot of qualified employees and yet so little common sense.
Knowledge versus skills
Training and further education are no longer limited to the pure transfer of knowledge, but also claim to train the relevant skills related to knowledge. Group work, practical examples and solving case studies in class help put theory into practice. Nevertheless, many learners are often unable to transfer the knowledge they have acquired through their diploma to their everyday work. It often turns out that knowledge is not the same as ability. What is the use of an MBA if the knowledge you have learned cannot be used in day-to-day management with employees?

People learn how to prioritize or decide, but in everyday working life they are not able to set the right priorities for their own work or that of the employees and to make meaningful decisions that serve the well-being of the system and not primarily their own. The path to true talent leads to a third through the acquisition of knowledge to two thirds of experience in implementation and thus the best possible behavior in certain situations. Successful is not someone who knows a lot, but who finds meaningful, comprehensible and pragmatic solutions for everyone concerned.

An example: project managers should be IPMA certified. They learn the theory of project management, things like work breakdown structures and procedural models, but in practice half of the project managers cannot apply this abstract knowledge to their specific project situation. The other half fights against existing conventions and framework conditions in the company, which do not allow the acquired knowledge to be integrated into practice.

Diplomas in the War for Talents
For years it has been said that companies should make themselves attractive in order to attract the best employees. Today, however, it often looks like that the applicants carry out this woo more among themselves. Only those who have the right diploma get into the race. When jobs are advertised today, the specialist department describes the required requirements and passes this on to the HR department for pre-selection. But how do you describe implementation skills and behavior? So you stick to diplomas as guidelines and hope. The personnel department advertises the position accordingly and sifts according to diplomas. Those who do not have the required papers fall through the grid.

In this "war", diplomas count more than acquired performance certificates, which are classified as more difficult to evaluate. So sifted, only a few applicants make it to the specialist department to be invited to an interview. But the war for talent cannot be won that way, because many a screened person would often have been a much more suitable candidate for the job. Because at the end of the day we realize this: there are real talents with and without a diploma and there are "bad eggs" with and without a diploma. Because diplomas only provide information about the theoretically acquired level of knowledge, but not about the effectiveness that is achieved in practice. They state that the holders of the diploma have completed the hours of the course and theoretically have the knowledge they have learned. They say nothing about how the knowledge is applied.

What someone has learned does not have to be applied in practice or the wrong implementation can even be counterproductive. For example, when managers learn that I-messages are important when communicating with employees, but then misinterpret them in practice and fail to notice that a sentence just because it begins with "I" is by no means an I-message . Then these leaders wonder why the theory isn't working and then question it instead of themselves.

The best employees have to be whoever makes them
The war for talent is not won in the HR department, but in the line. If what we preach is supposed to be true, namely that above all qualified employees are important and valuable to us, then we must ensure that the right working conditions in the team are created and that the right applicants are found for the team. As a supervisor, I have to abstract whether an applicant's knowledge, experience and behavior go together and assess whether he or she is a talent or a "lazy egg". The manager cannot delegate this task to the HR department or to an assessment.

There used to be better employees than there are today, even though there were far fewer graduates. Probably also because the old guard of entrepreneurs and superiors actually led, challenged and promoted employees and thus turned knowledge into experience and successful behavior. In the past, the basis for employee selection was human knowledge before diplomas, which was apparently more successful. Because how is it possible that we have as many well-trained people as hardly ever before and still complain that there aren't enough good employees on the market? In the past, we chose people in a dry job market who had an alert and interested look and brought in the employees we wanted. Something that is obviously unthinkable in our oh-so-fast-moving times.

Back then, trust and loyalty were not a problem and formed the basis of leadership. Today the responsibility for mistakes is blamed on others: “Well, it was not foreseeable that Mr. Muster was such a mistake. With these qualifications! «We want ready-made specialists who can do everything without having to give them the time to gain experience. But nobody wins the war for talent like this. Also, or above all, good specialists want to perform, but also get ahead. It is motivating and attractive for good employees when they can develop themselves further and expand their skills.

What distinguishes true talents
Diplomas provide information about what a specialist should be able to do, and that's a good thing. But being a specialist does not mean working successfully with and for the company. The true talents are characterized by more than specialist knowledge, because the latter can be acquired relatively easily by anyone. The capable employees, with or without a diploma, are those with significantly different skills, are people who want and can:
:: perform out of joy in what exerts their strength
:: Take responsibility and demonstrate personal responsibility
:: "Do" their job themselves, according to their abilities and inclinations
:: See, understand and serve the big picture
:: Deliver results and meet expectations
:: Be goal-oriented and focused
:: communicate sensibly
:: treat others with empathy and appreciation
:: be eighty percent proficient

In the end, these things count for the supervisor when he speaks of genuinely invaluable employees. Then no specialist knowledge is measured, but how it is applied, implemented, in the context of the company, with colleagues, customers and suppliers, the superiors. It wouldn't be that difficult to find these people, because many of them already bring some of them with them. Promoting the rest is a worthwhile management task for a boss with the right leadership behavior. Because one thing has remained the same over the past few decades: good bosses also have good employees.

New understanding instead of diplomitis
So if you want to win the war for talent, you must first clarify what is important, how talent is really measured. Then you need a sure instinct to find the people who have this potential. Because if I hire employees who are already perfect, they won't stay long. Because where should your motivation to stay come from? People look for what is useful to them. If the benefit is great on both sides, then there is also the motivation to stay. And the acquisition of knowledge, experience and successful behavior is useful enough for many to keep a company attractive.

Because the war for talent is not just about finding, but also keeping employees. It is therefore advisable to look for certain characteristics in the fight for talent and to promote the development and further training of the missing parts such as knowledge and experience. Because what really matters is how you behave towards yourself and others. And that is still far too little taught and trained today. It is one of the most important management tasks to turn the talents into real pearls.