Human Resource Management in local government. The administrative districts from Lower Saxony in Germany

Academic Paper, 2020

111 Pages, Grade: 1,0





Table of Contents


Index of Tables, Table of Figures and List of Appendix

Aim of the paper
Section 1.1 Problem Statement and Objective of the Paper
Section 1.2 Structure of the Paper

Context of Human Resource Management today
Section 2.1 Human Resource Management
2.1.1 Definition and Elements
2.1.2 The Development of Personnel Work till now
Section 2.2 Development of Personnel in Public Sector
Section 2.3 Special Features in the Public Sector and Demographic Challenges
2.3.1 Resource and Modernisation Gaps
2.3.2 Demographic Change in the Public Sector

Core Activities of Human Resource Management
Section 3.1 Employee Recruitment, Personnel Marketing and Recruiting
Section 3.2 Employee Retention and Demographic Management
Section 3.3 Personnel Development and Talent Management
Section 3.4 Severance

Case Study:
Investigation of The Core Activities Using the Example of the Lower Saxony Districts 36
Section 4.1 Introduction of the Research Objects
4.1.1 The Lower Saxony districts
4.1.2 The Hildesheim District
Section 4.2 Conception and Design of the Research
Section 4.3 Survey of all Districts in Lower Saxony
4.3.1 Evaluation of the Survey Results
4.3.2 Conclusion to the Survey
Section 4.4 Examination of the Four Core Activities Using the Example of the Hildesheim District
4.4.1 Area of action: Employee Recruitment, Personnel Marketing and Recruiting
4.4.2 Area of activity: Employee retention and demographic management
4.4.3 Area of action: Personnel development and talent management
4.4.4 Area of activity: Severance
4.4.5 Short summary of the 12 criteria and assessments
Section 4.5 Recommendations for Action for the District Authorities Examined


Conclusion and Appraisal



- Background/Introduction:

Public sector authorities are facing the challenges of demographic change. There is currently a shortage of junior employees and skilled staff. The leap from a rigid personnel administration to an active, modern Human resource management1 is therefore unavoidable, as the central key to the administrations' long-term success.

- The aim of the paper is therefore to take stock and gain an overview of the effects of demographic change etc. on HRM in the public sector, the identification of optimisation potential, and the derivation of suitable courses of action and recommendations for a future, holistic HRM.

- Methodology:

This paper is a specialist literature work with subsequent practical application. First, HRM and its special features in the public sector, will be presented. A proposal will then be made for a modern HRM in the public sector. Efficient instruments will be described on the basis of its four core activities. The current situation and the resulting challenges will be examined empirically in the practical section, using the example of districts in Lower Saxony, and recommendations for action given.

- Results:

As employers, the districts examined should use their age distribution development as an impetus and the successful examples of other authorities as an incentive, in order to adapt their HRM to the demographic challenges as soon as possible. Thereby, the paper shows that the recruitment of junior staff through targeted training and personnel marketing, the use of modern communication channels, an effective and sustainable staff development through further and continuing training measures and a systematic age management will be key factors for successfully increasing their attractiveness as employers.

- Discussion / Conclusion:

Based on the results of the investigation, it is possible to see what steps and measures are needed to counteract the demands of the demographic change in a targeted way. It is suitable for introducing human resources managers in the public sector and politics to the topic and allows them to draw the correct conclusions.


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Index of Tables

2 Tab. 1 Area of employment

Tab. 2 Public sector personnel deficits

Tab. 3 Classification of personnel development measures

Tab. 4 Assessment overview

Tab 5 Overview of the research result Landkreis Hildesheim

Table of Figures

Fig 1 Elements of Human resource management

Fig. 2 Employees in the public sector

Fig. 3 Age distribution

Fig. 4 Strategies for closing the resource and management gaps

Fig. 5 Areas of activity of Human resource management

Fig. 6 Personal recruiting

Fig. 7 Employee retention

Fig. 8 Personnel development

Fig. 9 Personnel severance

Fig. 10 Options for personnel reduction

Fig. 11 General map administrative districts in Lower Saxony

Fig. 12 Recommendations for the future realignment


App. 1 Survey of all districts in Lower Saxony

App. 2 Questionnaire Landkreis Hildesheim

App. 3 Districts in Lower Saxony

App. 4 Public administration in Germany

App. 5: To the public service the younger generation goes out

Notice Comments on the translation

- Please be aware that “im öffentlichen Dienst” can be translated in different ways. In GB English, used the normal British terms “civil service, public service or public secto r”. In the following the term “public service” is used.
- ' Beamte ' are therefore “civil servants” and other employees “im öffentlichen Dienst” are “'public sector employees”.
- Similarly, Landkreise etc. are usually referred to as local, municipal or district authorities in the UK.
- Similarly, “Verwaltung” can be translated as “management” ', “administration” ', “authority” or “body”, in the sense of a “Kommunalverwaltung” local government , municipal or district authority or public administration.


Aim of the Paper

Section 1.1 Problem Statement and Objective of the Paper

For more than three decades, a discussion about the reorganisation of public administration has been taking place against the background of continually growing task requirements from society and politics, as well as the achievement of more efficient control with ever scarcer resources. The subject, modernisation and improvement of administrative capacity, is increasingly becoming the focus of German authorities (Weiß 2002, 13 ff.).

The majority of German authorities' current management systems are blatantly outdated. Even after various reform attempts, there is still, in many cases, a bureaucratic structure with rigid division of labour, a high level of regulation, extremely hierarchical control and strong ties to legal norms. In some instances, this leads to considerable overloads. (Schmidt 2001, 172).

The public budgets' financial situation has improved in comparison to the 1990s and 2000s (good economic situation and high tax revenue in 2010s), however, the state's coffers are still not full enough. Therefore, the demand for a more targeted approach to public administration is as topical now as it was 30 years ago.

The previous reform models were therefore also, primarily economically oriented. The optimisation of financial control was at the forefront and questions about finance and accounting determined the discussion for a long time (Reichard 1996, 85 / Hack 2001, 10).

Public HRM played only a marginal role. Fortunately, the decision-makers3 have recognised this management gap. Today, an important change can be seen.

This is also necessary because demographic change is changing the framework conditions in the public sector and public authorities to a considerable extent. Both the demand for and range of public services offered, are changing due to the aging employee structure and aging population.

These must undergo an adaptation, in the sense of an effective, age-appropriate personnel policy (Stember/ Böhlert 2009, 260). Because an increase in the efficiency of public administration can only be achieved with well-motivated, well paid and well-trained staff.

The continually sinking number of school leavers is already leading to a competition for the best brains, the effects of which can already be felt in the administrations (Maly 2019, IX).

„Good and motivated personnel are the most important resource for towns and communities. Employees shape a municipality's image and how it is perceived by the population and businesses. Against this background, it is very important to find and retain qualified personnel” (Landsberg 2018, 13).

The personnel factor is therefore to be seen as critical to success (Hack/ Holzrichter 2001, 12). Ror too long, public sector employees have been seen only as a cost factor and treated as such when financial resources are scarce, namely by staff reductions (normally in socially acceptable ways). Whereby, an authority's personnel are also its production capital. No authority can function without people. Personnel are therefore a cost factor, but above all a success factor for an efficient authority.

Public sector personnel departments are also facing the challenges of demographic change and the skills shortage.

Till 2030 every third employee will go into retirement in the civil service, with it a personnel gap of about 731,000 employees could originate till 2030. In order to be able to meet the increase in the number and variety of tasks in the public sector in future, there is no alternative to making the leap from a rigid personnel administration to a modern HRM (McKinsey 2019, 5).

A reassessment of personnel is therefore necessary. In future, HRM will be a central key to the long-term success of German administrations and therefore increasingly recognized as an equally valuable management task (Holtbrügge 2018, 3).

But is this knowledge taken into account in today's practice?

The aim of this paper is to make a contribution to an understanding of the role of HRM in public administration, based on the example of municipal practice. This observation takes place against the backdrop of a negative demographic change (Keyword skills shortage).

The intention and goal is to give recommendations, based on the four most important core activities of modern HRM (recruiting, staff retention, staff development and severance), for a future, holistic personnel management, which will make the public authority especially in local government an attractive employer for specialist and junior employees (Kolb 2009, 58).

Moreover, the hypotheses will be questioned in this context:

H1 = Public administrations use an employer brand as a way to increase their attractiveness for employee recruitment.

H0 = Public administrations do not use an employer brand as a way to increase their attractiveness for employee recruitment.

- The aim is to reject either H1 or H0.

Section 1.2 Structure of the Paper

- The structure of the paper will be set out in this section.
- The term human resources management will be defined in general terms in the second chapter, together with a presentation of its elements and areas of activity. A short digression will then show the historical development of personnel work until the present. Moreover, an overview will be given of the statistics about personnel in public service and its development until now. This is followed by an explanation of the special features of the public sector and its demographic challenges. There is also an explanation of the resource and modernisation gap in public administration.
- The core activities of HRM will be presented in Chapter three. The areas of activity employee recruitment, personnel marketing and recruiting, employee retention and demographic management, personnel development and talent management, as well as severance, will be described individually and, in each case, the special features of public administration will be explained for each area of activity.
- Chapter four contains the main part of this paper. In it, the current situation in HRM is examined, using the example of district authorities in Lower Saxony. The research objects will be presented first, followed by the concept and design of the study.

The results of the survey of all the Lower Saxony district authorities will be presented and evaluated in the first part of the study. This section ends with an interim conclusion about the survey.

The second part comprises the presentation of the results of the interviews about the four core HRM activities, using the example of the Hildesheim district. Three criteria will be evaluated for each area of activity and shown briefly in tabular form at the end of this part. Recommendations for the future work of the district authorities examined will be given at the end of this chapter.

- Chapter five concludes this paper with a conclusion and an appraisal.


Context of Human Resource Management Today

In this chapter, the term HRM will first be defined and its elements and areas of activity introduced. A short digression will then show the historical development of personnel work until the present. Moreover, an overview will be given of the statistics about personnel in the public sector and its development until now. This is followed by an explanation of the special features of HRM in the public sector and its demographic challenges.

Section 2.1 Human Resource Management

2.1.1 Definition and Elements

HRM as a term, is understood in very different ways, as is its content. Sometimes it is used synonymously for the terms human resources, personnel management or personnel policy (Büdenbender/ Strutz 2003, 269).

According to the general understanding, the term includes “the sum of all personnel organizational areas and individual measures the current and future development of the business (Business development) and the accompanying change processes (organisational development)” That means the entirety of all goals, strategies, instruments and activities, that relate directly or indirectly to the employee and the challenges arising from their employment (Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon 2019).

It takes place both in the commercial economy and in the public sector and is part of an overall management system.

HRM is therefore closely connected with the personnel policy (mission statement, strategy), personnel control (control of direct staff deployment), and personnel administration (practical implementation, individual measures).

Today, modern personnel work is increasingly influenced by external environments. For example, the dynamic change in society is constantly changing mentalities and motives (among other things, employees today want to feel that their work is meaningful, work-life balance). Therefore, team leading, personnel development and employee retention belong to the core areas of HRM today. (Gourmelon u. a. 2019, 2 ff.).

The most important HRM-elements can be depicted as follows:

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Fig. 1 Elements of the Human resource management (reference: own representation 2020)

2.1.2 The Development of Personnel Work Until Now

In order to be better able to assess the current state of personnel work and its future opportunities, it makes sense to get to know this area's historical background in a short digression.

Social questions, resulting from the industrialisation of the 19th century, have particularly contributed to the professionalisation of the personnel task.

Initially only oriented to the efficiency and productivity of work as a factor, the negative consequences of this liberal economic approach for the workforce soon became apparent. From around 1910, the focus moved from social policy to personnel work (Klimecki/ Gmür 2001, 2 – 24; Grosskopf 2018).

HRM's development lines are clearly shown in Wunderer's 5-phase overview (Wunderer/ Dick 2002, 50):

- up to 1960 the bureaucratization phase

The employee is hardly involved in strategy development. The aim is the provision of healthy and cheap as possible labour. The personnel department only performed the typical administrative tasks (payroll calculation, management of personnel files) and the implementation of staff policy decisions.

- from 1960 the institutionalisation phase (1960 to 1970)

The emancipation of personnel as an independent factor. The aim is to adapt the employee to the needs of the organisation (professionalisation, centralisation and extension of qualitative social policy).

- from 1970 the harmonisation phase

Trial of human-friendly design as a result of the human relations approach. Focus on humanisation, participation and employee orientation. Aim is to adapt the organisation to the employee's needs.

- from 1980 Economisation

Employees are business capital and cost factors. The focus is on flexibilization, rationalization and substitution of the personnel factor with capital. Aim is to adapt the personnel factor to changed environmental conditions from the perspective of increasing efficiency.

- from 1990 Entrepreneurial orientation (intrapreneuring)

Employees should share entrepreneurial knowledge, think jointly, act jointly, and ultimately, be jointly responsible. This obviously presupposes that the employees have the necessary qualifications, information and opportunities for participation. The aim is to transform the employees into people who are jointly responsible. One requirement for HRM is the assumption of “entrepreneurial responsibility with regard to the corporate strategy” (Wunderer/ Dick 2002, 53).

This ideal-typical structure cannot simply be applied, as is, to the German administrative sector.

“Obviously, in municipal development, there were temporal deviations from these ideal-typical phases. Thus, the institutionalisation phase had already been completed by 1960. In contrast, the economisation was first really used in the municipalities at the beginning of the 1990s” (Hack/ Holzrichter 2001, 10).

Section 2.2 Development of Personnel in the Public Sector

The following is an overview of the statistics for personnel in public service and its development until today.4

The public sector is the largest employer in the Federal Republic of Germany, with 4.8 million employees. In recent decades, there have been continual personnel reductions in the public sector, at all federal levels. Thus, in 1991, there were still 6.7 million employees in the public sector. The reduction primarily affected tariff employees and in addition, at federal level, soldiers (professional and regular soldiers); in contrast, the number of civil servants increased. The privatisation of the German railway and German postal service, which affected approximately 1.6 million employees, had a big influence on this number, as did restructurings, especially of the armed forces. Further central measures were not filling job vacancies which had become vacant or hiring stops and non-adoption of trainees (BMI 2011, 35). A slight, positive change can be seen since the middle of the first decade of this century, as can easily be seen in the following graphic (Statistisches Bundesamt 2019).

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Fig. 2 Employed public service (reference: Statistisches Bundesamt: 27.09.2019)

All this has left its mark on the public sector. The failure to recruit young people in particular, is already showing negative effects on the public sector’s age structure.

The proportion of junior employees is very low at all federal levels; if no countermeasures are taken, it will sink further.5

The age distribution clearly shows a lack of junior employees, as the hiring stops of recent years could not be compensated. Catching up will not be easy, due to the demographic development (Statistisches Bundesamt 2019).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 3 Age distribution (reference: Statistisches Bundesamt: 27.09.2019)

The staff is divided, approximately 50% are in the federal states, 30% in the municipalities, 12% in the federal government and 8% in the social insurance.

Of the 4.8 million staff, about 60% are employees, 37% civil servants and judges and 3% soldiers.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Tab. 1 Area of employment (reference: Statistisches Bundesamt: 27.09.2019)

As public authorities’ personnel decisions are obviously linked to the budgetary decisions of the federation, districts and municipalities, it makes sense to briefly consider the Federal Republic of Germany's budgetary performance at this point.

Despite a continuing good economic situation and increasing tax revenue, the federal republic remains in a type of 'savings craze'.

In order to achieve the planned budgetary balance without taking on new debt, new ways of reducing outgoings are always being sought. Whereby, the public sector is an important adjustment factor, especially its personnel costs.

Despite this, personnel expenditure has continued to increase since 2012. In 2016, it reached a total of 271 billion Euros. 73.2 % of the overall budget was remuneration for employees and civil servants (Statistisches Bundesamt 2017, 28). The reason is the increase in pay tariffs, together with higher remuneration for civil servants and the increasing payments for the 1.7 million pension recipients etc. At the same time, the task requirements have continued to rise (new political decisions etc.). This additional effort must usually be handled with the same personnel (Stember/Böhlert 2009, 265). Because of this, those responsible for personnel in public administration are in a difficult situation. A modernisation of HRM is essential in order to counteract the financial problems, because just using more internal saving measures will fall short in the long term (Wilke 2009, 136).

Section 2.3 Special Features in the Public Sector and Demographic Challenges

The special features of HRM in the public sector and its demographic challenges, will be presented in the following. First, the public administration's resource and modernisation gaps will be investigated.

2.3.1 Resource and Modernisation Gaps

Very specific framework conditions and restrictions exist for public administration: Thus, there is an ever-increasing gap between the size of the state's tasks (need) and the actual resources available to fulfil them. Depending on their ability to be influenced by the administration, a differentiation is made between an external resource gap and an (influenceable) internal modernization gap (Budäus 1998, 7).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 4 Strategies for closing the resources and management gap (reference: Budäus 1998, 23)

The external gaps can basically only be reduced by task reduction, material privatisation and the development of additional resources. However, there is only limited scope for task reduction, as has been indicated by political decisions, the trend is clearly towards an increase in tasks.6 This growing mountain of tasks is being faced by only finite resources. Borrowing and tax increases cannot be expanded any further. The population's acceptance of the necessary tax increases is low. The internal modernisation gaps, which can be influenced by the authority, can only be closed or reduced, by a modernisation of the processes and instruments, qualification of the personnel and structural changes (decentralisation) (Vaanholt 1997, 59 ff.).

When trying to narrow the modernisation gap, HRM in public administration is becoming more important in times when financial resources are limited (Mayer 2002). The shortage of resources mentioned above, leads inevitably to two strategies: Personnel reduction or better utilisation of human capital, i.e. increasing performance by better personnel usage (Gonschorrek 2001, 308). Personnel reduction in the public sector is difficult due to labour laws and collective agreements, and, at the moment, would be the wrong step.

Therefore, the personnel must be used more effectively and efficiently, and the employees must become qualified and motivated employees (Landsberg 2019, 13). Therefore, it is necessary to convey to employees that it is worth working in and for the authority (Gourmelon u. a. 2019, 17).

Because of its special characteristics, the public sector must undergo a paradigm shift from passive personnel administration to active HRM.

The federal government has already taken a first step with the Recruitment of Skilled Employees law, with came into force in March 2012.

This includes, for example, recognition of time spent caring for children and relatives prior to entering the federal public service, or improved entrance conditions for IT specialists and engineers. However, in future, the HRM will again have to be adapted to the changed framework conditions and additional practical solutions sought, in addition to legal modifications.

Public sector personnel deficits

(in keywords):

(According to Reichard 1996, 14 ff. and 2001, 182):

- Management gap (Over control in operative and under control in strategic areas; lack of compulsion and instruments)
- Motivation gap (lack of employee leadership)
- Attractiveness gap (poor employer image)
- Lack of mission statement
- Rising personnel costs
- No performance structures
- Disadvantageous age structure (demographic factor)
- Change in employees' values (no longer merely loyal, silent servants of the state, instead, self-development needs play an increasing role, work-life balance)

Tab. 2 Public sector personnel deficits (reference: own representation 2020)

2.3.2 Demographic Change in the Public Sector

As has been stated, public sector employers have also been feeling the demographic change for several years. Demographic change affects all areas of the state and society. The central question is, with what personnel can and should the state's tasks (which will become more, not less) be performed in future (Helmke/Küthe 2018, 115).

The number of people of working age will fall from barely 50 million at present, to 42 million by the year 2030 (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 13).

When the so-called baby boomers (born between 1950 and 1969) reach pension or retirement age in the next few years, it will not only have a significant impact on the labour market but also on public sector employers' personnel structures:

- Public sector employees are becoming older on average and large numbers will retire in the next ten to fifteen years. Therefore, the number of pension recipients will increase dramatically.
- At the same time, there will be increased competition with the private sector for qualified junior employees in the general labour market.
- The number of young junior and skilled employees will become ever smaller, whereby the recruitment of junior employees will become even more difficult. According to McKinsey study about 401,000 employees with concluded study will be absent till 2030 in the public service and with it, in the end, the executives from tomorrow (McKinsey 2019, 7).
- The transfer of knowledge will become more difficult as competent, older employees will leave with no transition. Their knowledge could be lost, which could put the authorities' ability to act in question (Rosenberger 2014, 8).
- The resource personnel, could therefore become a bottleneck factor (Gourmelon u.a. 2019, 21).


Core Activities of Human Resource Management

The core activities of HRM will be presented here. The areas of activity will be described individually, and the special features of public administration will be explained for each area of activity.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 5 Spheres of activity of the Human resource management (reference: own representation; 2020)

The four chosen core activities are:

1. Employee recruitment, personnel marketing and recruiting
2. Employee retention and demographic management
3. Personnel development and talent management
4. Personnel severance

Section 3.1 Employee Recruitment, Personnel Marketing and Recruiting

To maintain the chronology of the individual core activities, personnel marketing and recruiting will be considered first.

If a shortfall is identified in the course of personnel planning (needs analysis), the personnel needed to perform the administrative tasks, in terms of number and quality, must be procured in the next step.

The procurement of personnel is one of the most important personnel decisions and, for an organisation, also means the long-term commitment of resources (Nicolai 2014, 44). Therefore, the choice must be as accurate as possible, in order to minimise the risk of costs arising from employing the wrong person and rapid turnover.

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Fig. 6 Personnel recruiting (reference: PIXABAY licence free,; 2020)

Whereas in the past, it was possible to choose the best from a large number of applicants, today public administration is known to be in competition with private sector businesses for the most capable junior employees. The number of external applications has decreased slightly. This development is causing serious problems for the public sector. In addition, there is its stolid image.

The current Next:Public Employee Study 2019 also concluded that potential applicants find the public sector unattractive. In addition, as well as financial reasons, they criticise the lack of a modern IT structure which also allows mobile working, an open and innovative work culture and specifically targeted recruitment (Next 2019, 4 ff.).

But how do authorities approach their applicants?

Authorities approach their potential applicants both through printed media and the internet. Their own internet sites and online job exchanges are primarily used for this. Until now, social media platforms have occupied a marginal position; however, this trend is increasing and will surely become more important in future.

However, the post remains the most frequently used channel for applications, whereby the majority of authorities also accept email applications. In comparison, digital web forms are little used. The trend is probably moving away from the postal application to applications using a web form (KGSt 2016, 12).

So far, personnel marketing has only been used professionally by public administrations with reluctance. Personnel marketing is to be understood as a way of thinking and proceeding based on a long-term systematic and good information, with which new employees can be recruited and bound to the organisation (Hopp/Göbel 2013, 277 ff.). In order to clarify the image of personnel marketing in the context of HRM, it is first necessary to consider the goals of systematic personnel advertising. Personnel marketing includes all measures for the business's technical positioning in the labour market, with the aim of presenting it as an extremely attractive employer, thus enabling it to retain and motivate existing employees and recruit new employees (Rosenberger 2014, 293).

Based on the targeting, three core areas can be extracted:

- Personnel recruiting extends traditional advertising measures by including so-called employer branding. This describes the creation of an employer brand, which presents a business as being particularly attractive and positions it positively compared to the competition. Whereby, it is not only personnel marketing but much more a process of identity and organisational development for the business. In addition, the brand should be able to rely on its own idea; under no circumstances should it try to create an artificial, favourable perception of itself (Kriegler 2018, 4 f.).7
- Recruiting marketing describes all personnel procurement measures with the aim of securing the supply of junior employees.
- Retention marketing tackles increasing the employees' identification with the own business (Rosenberger 2014, 295 ff.).

The organisation's employer brand has a significant effect on the recruiting marketing and retention marketing. On the one hand, satisfied employees show the business in a positive light, on the other, the business's positive dialogue can motivate its own staff.

This approach has been widespread for years and has in some cases, found its way into the public sector. However, public administrations still have a clear reluctance in respect of employer branding etc. Whereby, positive effects can be gained simply by actively communicating the employer's values (Kriegler 2018, 23 f.). Among other things, social media can be an important method of communicating values.

Today, it is less about communicating information than how users communicate with each other. The so-called personnel marketing 2.0 describes the use of social media to achieve personnel marketing goals. A dialogue takes place with the users (KGSt 2016, 38 ff.).

- Social employer branding is proving to be extremely modern and effective and uses multipliers. Social media employer branding influences how people communicate employer values. This dialogue can by positively influenced by authenticity and social media activities (Facebook etc.).
- Social media recruiting marketing relies on the use of so-called multipliers. Employees convey a direct image of the employer and thus have an effect on the external perception.
- Ultimately, social media retention marketing relies on the staff being motivated by the use of social media. Employees are brought into the personnel marketing process and presented as part of the organisation.

The consistent and well thought out use of social media employer branding can even greatly improve the marketing range while saving costs (Schmitz 2010, 5). However, employer branding is not the answer to everything and should under no circumstances replace traditional advertising measures but complement and accelerate them (Kanning 2017, 34).

Furthermore, the importance of modern selection procedures in personnel marketing will continue to increase. Personnel selection includes all measures with which the applicant's suitability for a position can be determined and a decision about the recruitment made (Gourmelon u. a. 2019, 70).

The selection aims to achieve the greatest possible agreement between the applicant's suitability profile and the job-related requirement profile (Hilb 1999, 67 and Klimecki/ Gmür 2001, 161). It takes place through selection processes, which usually have several stages (personnel selection chain). Whereby a demanding and professional selection process, together with effective applicant selection, can also have a positive effect on the employer value. The criteria and methods most often used for personnel selection are the application documents, certificates and assessment reports and structured recruitment interviews.8 However, the trend is clearly moving towards online and tablet-based tests (Kanning, 2017, 13).

The public Sector's Problems

The public sector's personnel marketing shows its less innovative side. Instead of relying on an active personnel marketing strategy, great value is still placed on the applicant's own initiative. Whereby, companies today first apply to potential applicants. This behaviour unfortunately leads to the public sector's stolid image with junior and specialist employees.

The applicants see in him though a sure, but also dull employer. The public administration for many junior workers already seems entrance option a little attractive. Thus only every tenth school leavers would like to work there in future (McKinsey 2reichardschmidtzThom019, 9). Thus, 71% of the respondents in a public service association study only connect the administration with office jobs (DBB 2020). Whereby, the range of activities is diverse, and a variety of interesting, non-administrative job opportunities are also offered (for example, for IT specialists, engineers, doctors).

However, the majority of potential applicants are hardly aware of the existence of these professions, as the public sector is, as has been seen, not very innovative in the choice of its marketing channels. Today, these jobs mainly hide behind confusing career pages and meaningless job descriptions. Personnel marketing is only extended by, for example, a presence at job fairs or cooperation programmes with schools (Gourmelon u. a. 2019, 18).

There are also accumulated needs in respect of selection procedures, because a comparison of the job requirement profile with the applicant's qualification profile, followed by an interview, usually decides over acceptance or rejection.

The lack of competence checking leads to uncertainty about resistance to stress, general knowledge, creativity and social skills. Therefore, the personnel marketing represents one of the biggest building sites in the public sector (Laux 2017, 57 ff.).

Section 3.2 Employee Retention and Demographic Management

Demographic management and employee retention deal with work flexibilisation and improving family friendliness. They are associated with the flexitime, teleworking and office-free working models. The second pillar of this area of activity, is age management.9

In general terms, employee retention is about embedding the employee in 'his' job and 'his' business. He should be able to “feel good and develop optimally” there (Klimecki/Gmür 2001, 314 ff.; Töpfer 1999, 60).

Therefore, employee retention tries to encourage the employee's motivation and job satisfaction and to prevent good employees leaving the organisation. The long-term goal should be to prevent unwanted staff turnover and the short-term, the reduction of absenteeism (Scholz 2000 607 ff).

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Fig. 7 Employee's retention (reference: PIXABAY licence free,; 2020)

Therefore, today, the employee retention and demographic management areas of activity essentially deal with the change in age structure and the prevention of personnel turnover. Work flexibilisation, age management and health management are very important for resolving these issues.

Work flexibilisation is expedited by the demand for family friendliness and improved work-life balance. Especially young people attach great importance to the compatibility of leisure and job, as shown by the 2019 Shell youth study, among others (Deutsche Shell 2019). The aim is a harmonisation of the employer's interests with those of its employees. Primarily, temporal, spatial and functional flexibility play an important role in the public sector. These interests can be met in the form of innovative employment models (part-time, flexitime) and the creation of personal freedoms (office-free working, teleworking) (Helmke/Küthe 2018, 77). The offer of temporal and local self-determination gives the employees physical and psychological relief; the opportunity to bring family and job into balance makes a decisive contribution to employee retention (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 78). Since, as is also the case in the public sector, the flexibilisation measures are frequently only related to time and other incentives are ignored, the connection of working time accounts with other instruments (for example, preventative healthcare), must be more strongly encouraged.

Furthermore, functional flexibilisation offers many advantages in respect of demographic management. Age is still too often seen as a deficit, although only the physical abilities decline (Stember/Böhlert 2009, 267). A flexible adaptation of the demands to older employees' capabilities ensures motivation and performance throughout the entire course of the employment. Because of the rising number of older employees in the public sector, those over 45 years old must be systematically supported as a group. The changing age structure has the consequence that older employees are increasingly becoming an essential personnel resource (BMI 2020).

Shorter working hours and the provision of age appropriate jobs are recommended to lighten the load. The creation of mixed age teams, which combine innovative capability and experience, can strengthen solidarity and improve the work product.

Mixed age teams, in particular, are a good way of ensuring an effective transfer of knowledge and encourage understanding between the generations. Examples could be a mentoring programme for new employees or working together on a joint project Programmes of this type also show appreciation for the knowledge that experienced employees' have collected and the service that they have provided to date (Mittelstand 2017, 5 ff.; Institut für den öffentlichen Sektor 2014).

A further pillar of demographic management is health promotion. Illnesses in the workplace cause deficits in the provision of services while simultaneously generating high costs (Prümer/Schnabel 2019).10

A healthy workforce is essential for an effective administration; therefore, the protection of human resources is the most important task of modern HRM. Occupational health management includes the systematic, targeted and continuous control of all processes with the goal of securing long-term health, performance and success for the agency and its workforce (Hopp/Göbel 2013, 321).

It is also an efficient way of avoiding costs and increasing employee satisfaction. Targeted measures used at a young age, can reduce health risks in old age. The pool of measures is large and ranges from preventative measures such as health checks, health coaching and company sports, through to rehabilitation measures such as reintegration coaching (VdZ 2020; Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 84).

Therefore, demographic- and health management also interact with age management.

The public Sector's Problems

The public administration already has numerous flexible working models available, including flexitime, part-time, job sharing or teleworking.

If one includes the federal level as well as the districts, a quarter of all employees use the part-time option. Furthermore, other occupational groups who are strongly tied by time, are supported by free places in day-care centres.

There is a recognisable strengthening of the compatibility of family and work. For example, various federal ministries offer “parent-child rooms”.11 The federation is attempting to actively push forward a societal rethink in this area, for example, with its “success factor family” network (BMI 2012).

Nevertheless, in the area of employee retention, a lot of importance is still placed on promises of job security, prestige and social justice. However, these are increasingly becoming less relevant in the labour market.

Furthermore, the positive development in the area of working time flexibilisation is clouded by a lack of demographic management. The view that age is a deficit and that older employees are less motivated, efficient and creative, is still widespread here. They are also deliberately excluded from training measures and so, in part, become less able to meet the rising demands. The results are listlessness and lack of identification with the employer, which leads to the public body itself becoming inefficient.

Active health promotion is important, particularly in respect to maintaining the employees' performance and reducing the high sickness rates in the public sector, which are partly due to the considerable physical and psychological load. This can be combined with a flexible work structure. Some authorities are already offering in-house measures, for example, back training, gymnastic courses and similar actions (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 81 f.).

Unfortunately, the public sector's health management is mainly limited to the support of employees in the event of illness. Thus, the focus is on reaction instead of prevention.

In contrast, too little importance is attached to preventative and rehabilitative measures. This is shown simply by the fact that the number of chronic and psychological illnesses has risen recently (Robert Koch Institut 2015, 30 ff.).

Based on this negative development, the health management must also be regarded as deficient.

Finally, it is also the case that a good employer branding has a positive effect on employee retention in the administration (Helmke/Küthe 2018, 71)

Section 3.3 Personnel Development and Talent Management

In personnel development and talent management, important roles are played above all by a structured induction, further training opportunities and career management. Personnel development includes all training, support and organisational development measures which are targeted, systematically and methodically planned, realised and evaluated. The goal is to increase the employee's qualification for present and future requirements. It recognises three types of training measures: Training, continuing education and further education, as well as employee development generally (Thom/Ritz 2000, 315 ff.; Scholz 2000, 505 ff.).12

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Fig. 8 Personnel development (reference: PIXABAY licence free,; 2020)

Goals according to Gourmelon u. a. 2019, 144 f.

- Recognise and improve ability and willingness to learn,
- Promote service and customer orientation,
- Strengthen awareness of quality and responsibility,
- Promote new forms of work organisation (group-, team, project work),
- Heighten responsibility for resources,
- Increase job satisfaction and motivation.

The employees must be further developed, in terms of their abilities and competences, in order to be able to meet the requirements of the future.

Temporally, personnel development begins with an employee's engagement and ends with his severance. The employer's task is to find a balance between “support and demand”, in order to give the employees the opportunity for lifelong learning while, at the same time, providing appropriate opportunities for promotion.

As personnel development begins with recruitment, attention must be paid to a systematic and supportive induction, right from the beginning.

The aim of induction is the development is an employee who is willing to work and can identify with the employer. Furthermore, rapid turnover and its associated costs, should be prevented (Niemeier 2009, 211).

Mentoring has proven to be a very effective measure. A long-serving manager is placed at the employee's side, to act as a mentor. The mentor discusses development potential and explains working methods and techniques. Whereby, the mentor should not be in a supervisory relationship, in order to make social integration easier.

Further education measures represent a further important personnel development emphasis. Used properly, these can compensate for deficits, broaden the scope of knowledge and strengthen efficient employees in their professional training. In addition, further education measures can increase an employer's attractiveness many times over Next 2019, 42; McKinsey 2019, 14).

It is important that younger and older employees can be involved in the further education process to the same extent. The aim of sustainable further education must be the improvement of the so-called competences.13 The spectrum of possible further education measures is very large and ranges from e-learning, employee lectures and learning groups, through to cost intensive but very efficient measures, such as workshops, individual coaching and academic postgraduate programmes (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 93 ff.; Lindner u. a. 2012, 145).

A certain variety is also available in the implementation of the measures. Further education can be carried out directly at the workplace, in the administrative body and also at external establishments. A comprehensive use of all the possibilities is advantageous and desirable because different generations of employees have different learning potentials.

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Tab. 3 Classification of the personnel development measures (reference: own representation 2020)

Career management must be taken into account as the last big personnel development remit.

Appraisal systems and promotion opportunities must be considered in this context:

The regular assessment (or better, analysis) of the potentials and those required in the future, containing statements about the various competences, is an important basis for career and further education management. It helps to identify the performance and potentials. An early identification of potentials allows the targeted use of career development measures (Bieler 2002, 128 ff.; Lorse 2016, 87 ff.).

- The employee-supervisor review is also helpful for this. In contrast to the assessment, this is not about performance as such but firstly, about the relationship with each other (Helmke/Küthe 2018, 79).
- The personnel development review is about a concrete agreement on further education and development opportunities. A separation between the personnel development and the previous review, is not strictly necessary.
- Employee surveys are also becoming very useful personnel development tools because they deliver anonymous information about employee satisfaction (Plaschke u. a. 2004).
- The aim mist be to enable the employee to have a career which meets his expectations. However, the public sector is strongly determined by employment laws and collective agreements.14

A job rotation could also be implemented in this context. The opportunity would then exist to change jobs within a team, an office or a department. This provides the chance to gain experience in other areas and to develop outside of rigid career groups. Overall, this would have positive effects on employee satisfaction and the employee's innovative capability (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 91 ff.).

The Public Sector's Problems

One of the largest deficits in the administrative culture is in the area of personnel development and talent management.

Whereby, the starting point is not at all bad. In comparison to the international standard, the German authorities can demonstrate a remarkable initial qualification level for their staff. The problems appear later: the employees' ongoing, further qualification/development must be described as inadequate. For example, regulated on the job training or qualitative, personalised further education, is only present in a rudimentary and unstructured form.

The demands on the employees have increased significantly in recent years. In addition to pure specialist knowledge, business thinking and key qualifications for example, communication skills, willingness to learn, innovative capability and creativity, are also expected. Therefore, a need for qualification can also be implied (Gourmelon u. a. 2019, 144 ff.).

Due to personnel development being centralised in the personnel department, there are problems in the distribution and implementation of further education measures, because a detailed insight into other offices and departments is lacking. The consequences are long waiting times due to circuitous official channels and a lack of individualisation of further education offerings (Berman u. a., 339).

The public sector's career management is usually described as rigid and inflexible. The reasons for this include the low number of personnel assessments and performance appraisals (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 89 f.).

Specialised career programmes still play a subordinate role in public administration.

Only a small number of authorities have a modular, standardised qualification programme for managers.

Some at least offer compulsory seminars on individual topics or have a qualification programme for those with leadership potential. (Fel 2020).

Due to the lack of a legal basis, tariff employees are assessed even less than civil servants, who are supposed to receive a regular appraisal every three years on average. This has made it impossible to introduce a performance related pay structure in many authorities (Dulisch 2014).

This is made more difficult by the lack of feedback and the associated success monitoring. Employees therefore know nothing about their own deficits or their own performance and therefore cannot take early action to counteract problems.

The consequences can be falling motivation and, in the worst case, mental resignation (Richter 1999, 113).

Section 3.4 Severance

The central issue here is transfer of knowledge. Former employees remain involved and so can pass their experience and knowledge to the younger.

Nonetheless, the term severance has mainly negative connotations due to its classical meaning, because it is usually equated with termination for operational reasons. A few comments in this respect:

The term only means that remaining in the previous position is no longer an option in the future (Scholz 2000, 547; Becker 2002, 424). Severance therefore includes all measures which play a role shortly before, during or after leaving (Klimecki/ Gmür 2001, 299).

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Fig. 9 Staff reduction (reference: PIXABAY licence free,; 2020)

For the public sector employer, the employment and collective agreement law, respectively, civil service law, form a narrow framework for employee severance. A capacity-adjusted capacity utilisation is clearly impossible here. The reduction of surplus staff takes place principally through natural turnover (employees reaching official retirement age). However, there are some options which are already being used by authorities but are in part not characterised as severance.

These measures are presented in overview as follows:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthaltenFig. 10 Possibilities of the staff reduction (reference: own representation 2020)

However, today the focus is no longer on the decisive topic of the last two decades, the reduction of employees and jobs by the severance measures described above. Due to the personnel situation, today it is much more about keeping employees in their jobs as long as possible and transferring their knowledge and experience to the following generation. A paradigm change has taken place within a few years (Stember/Böhlert 2009, 267 ff.).

As already mentioned under the heading employee retention, it is important to ensure that an effective transfer of knowledge takes place before retirement . However, it is even more important to have the knowledge made available on a voluntary basis.

Thus, the gradual reduction of working time in preparation for retirement and the transfer of experienced employees' knowledge are the most important severance tasks today (Mittelstand 2017, 5 ff.).

The founding of alumni networks, in the sense of corporate alumni networks, has proven itself. Here, former employees with a high level of experience, can remain in contact with and support new employees (De Lestrange 2018). The naming of senior consultants is also an effective measure.

These are longstanding employees who have already left the public sector, who occupy an advisory role and support projects.15

The Public Sector's Problems

Personnel severance in the public sector is very different to the private sector. In particular, in respect of the fact that a civil servant can only be terminated in very extreme, exceptional cases. Tariff employees can also not normally be dismissed after a long period of employment.16

Due to the restructuring wave, the public sector must rely on active knowledge transfer. However, longstanding employees and their experience are wasted by a final release into retirement. Their knowledge could be made available very cheaply, in the interests of both parties, the public administration and the leaving employee (Robert Bosch Stiftung 2009, 91 ff.).

HRM and the special features of the public sector have been discussed in detail above, based on four selected areas of activity. In the following, these statements from teaching and specialist literature will be measured against the practice.

For this reason, the current state of HRM and its challenges, will be investigated, using the Lower Saxony districts as the research objects and example.


Case Study:

Investigation of The Core Activities Using the Example of the Lower Saxony Districts

The extent to which the district authorities in Lower Saxony (as an example for local government) have already developed in the direction of modern HRM will be examined in the following. Because of their importance, district authorities are also flagships for their state and therefore especially representative as examples of public sector administrations.

This chapter contains the heart of this paper. The current state of HRM and its challenges will be empirically examined using the example of 27 districts in Lower Saxony (including the Hannover region, N = 37, this equates to approximately 12,5% of all German districts).

The examination is based on the combination of various methods, written survey, interview and single case hypothesis. Due to the relatively large number of administrations surveyed, not every authority can be considered in detail. Therefore, the example of the Hildesheim district will be used as the basis for a closer consideration of the four areas of activity in HRM (Mayer 2012, 59 ff.).

First, the research objects districts will be introduced, together with an explanation of the research's conception and design.

The actual investigation was carried out using a written survey of all 37 districts and an analysis of the results. Furthermore, the four core personnel activities, presented above, were examined more closely using structured interviews and the Hildesheim district as an example.

This resulted in a target/actual comparison between the demands of the current human resources teaching and the reality of practice in Hildesheim, which is demonstrated and evaluated using twelve criteria.

Besides, becomes in this connection the thesis questions that the education of an employer's brand is used as means for the attraction increase in public administrations.

By using this inductive approach, namely the examination of a group of individual cases, districts in Lower Saxony, recommendations for action were derived and presented, for the commonality, for all local government and public sector administrations (Mayer 2012, 19).

The results are therefore also suitable for providing information about the state of the four core activities in other public sector administrations.

Section 4.1 Introduction of the Research Objects

4.1.1 The Lower Saxony districts

There are currently 294 districts in the Federal Republic of Germany. These cover approximately 96% of the area with 56 million inhabitants. Which equates to approximately 68% of Germany's population. Most states use the name Landkreis. In North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, the term is Kreis. There are no districts in the city states of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen (DLT 2020).

Lower Saxony is sub-divided into 36 districts and the Hannover region.17 18 Just about 7 million inhabitants live in their areas, which equates to approximately 87% of the inhabitants of the state of Lower Saxony. On average, about 161,400 residents live on an area of about 1,230 km² in each of the 36 districts; this gives a population density of 131 residents/ km[2].

The Lower Saxony district with the largest area, is the Emsland district with 2,883.66 km[2], the Lower Saxony district with the most residents is the Osnabrück district with 357,343 residents. Nearly 1.16 million residents live in the Hannover region in an area of 2,297.13 km[2], from which a population density of 503.9 inhabitants/ km[2] can be calculated ( Territory and population numbers: 31. December 2018, NLT 2020).

The districts' political function is determined in Article 28 Grundgesetz (Basic Law), Article 57 of the Lower Saxony Constitution and for Lower Saxony, in §§ 1 and 3 of the Lower Saxony Municipal Constitution Act. Accordingly, the district is a political institution of civic self-government and at the same time, an institution of decentralised administration in the state.

As with the municipalities, the districts' self-governing autonomy is documented in constitutional law (Article 28 paragraph 2 clause 2 Grundgesetz).

The districts are not only regional authorities but also municipal associations. In their area, they are responsible for public tasks which are of more than local significance or where the appropriate fulfilment of which exceeds the administrative and financial powers of the municipalities belonging to the district (NLT 2020).

4.1.2 The Hildesheim District

As the Hildesheim district will be specially examined again in this paper, only a brief introduction will be given at this point. With its 276,594 residents (as at 31.12.2018), the Hildesheim district belongs to the 37 biggest districts in Lower Saxony. The district is in southern Lower Saxony and touches the Hannover region in the north.

The entire area is 1,206.03 km[2]. In comparison to the state and federal average, the district is relatively densely populated. The population density is 229 residents per km[2] (LK HI 2020).

The district authority is subdivided into four departments and 23 offices, with approximately 1,300 employees currently.

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Fig 11 General map administrative districts in Lower Saxony (reference:

Section 4.2 Conception and Design of the Research

Various quantitative and qualitative approaches are used; the individual research designs are presented below.

A. Online Survey

An online survey was carried out at the beginning of 2020, consisting of twelve questions about the state of HRM in the public sector.

The survey was limited to the municipal level and to the 37 districts in Lower Saxony (including the Hannover region, but without administrative district Hildesheim, see B).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The results of the written online survey on the topic Human resource management in local government will be presented in the following.

B. Expert Interviews

The four core activities, recruitment, personnel retention, development and severance, are examined in more detail, using the example of the Hildesheim district

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The 2019 personnel report of the Hildesheim district authority and the 2020 establishment plan were also used for analysis.

C. Single Case Hypothesis

Furthermore, in this investigation, the single case hypothesis is also questioned:

H1 = public administrations use an employer brand as a way of increasi ng attractiveness for recruitment.

H0 = public administrations do not use an employer brand as a way of increasing attractiveness for recruitment.

The goal is to reject either H1 or H0. Accordingly, the public authorities which use an employer brand will be examined and compared to those which do not use an employer brand. Depending on the results of this, one or the other of the hypotheses stated above will be rejected.

H1 is to be rejected if less than one third of the interviewees use an employer's brand.

(Note: Despite the high possibility of error, the statement remains provisionally valid until has been disproved).

The operationalisation is carried out with the questionnaire (A), respectively, the interview (B).

Section 4.3 Survey of all Districts in Lower Saxony

4.3.1 Evaluation of the Survey Results

Return rate = 30 = 83,3%.

Thus, the return rate of 30 = 100% in the evaluation; all values are rounded up or down.

For orientation, the following was asked at the beginning of the written online survey:

Number of employees and organisational assignment of HRM

About question 1: Employees working in the administration (incl. all local offices etc.)

In accordance with the wishes of some survey respondents, the exact number of employees in each of the districts surveyed, will not be given.

Four interviewees provided no information to this point.

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Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- Five interviewees have an employee's number of less than 600 occupying. In the category from the 600 to the 1,000 of employees nine administrative districts, in the area are from 1,000 to 1,200 five and in the area from 1,200 to 1,400 also five administrative districts. Only two interviewees have topically more than 1,400 employees. Four interviewees gave no value.
- The employee's number orientates itself as a rule by the surface size and number of inhabitants of the respective administrative districts. Thus the smallest unity has 360 employees what is not unusual, nevertheless, on account of him low size of the administrative district (among 50,000 inhabitants). In the contrast moreover knows largest unit (the Hannover region) 3,230 employees on. Indeed, 1.179.924 people live here also topically.
- There is not a usable statement about a personnel key which puts the relation to inhabitant and employee understandably in the relation, unfortunately. However, the way of the execution of the problems is too different for this on account of the self-government also of the duties.

About question 2: Organisational assignment of the topic

Next, a question asked about how the task of taking care of HRM is located organisationally.

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- 80% of the survey participants state that the topic HRM is carried out by the “personnel administration”.
- A further 10% name the “administration manager”.
- Under “o ther” (3 designations) were cited:

administrative development, project office. Service area staff & organisation

The following online survey questions were concerned with both the present and the future effects of demographic change.

- First, questions 3 and 4 asked for a personal assessment of possible problems in the recruitment of specialist staff.
- Questions 5 and 6 are concerned with the concrete professional groups and the training of junior employees.
- Question 7 asks about the importance of various factors for an application in the public sector.
- Question 8 is concerned with work organisation measures for successful recruitment, as a reaction to demographic change.
- Question 9 dals with various communication channels for employee recruitment.
- Question 10 asks about the existence of an employer branding.
- In the last part of the survey, in question11, personal assessments relating to the most important challenges for municipal HRM could be given.
- Finally, question 12 concerned the need for change in respect of restrictions imposed by federal-, district- and collective bargaining law.

Assessment regarding possible problems in the recruitment of specialists

About question 3: Do you have problems recruiting specialists?

1 6 10 9 4

None Some Large

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- 33% of the respondents stated that they currently had large problems
- 53% reported having some problems with the recruitment of specialists.
- Only one respondent saw no problems in this respect.

About question 4: What do you think is the reason for these problems?

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- “Skills shortage” (97%) and “demographic development” (80%) take the top places in the list of problem causes, followed by “competition with other employers” (53%) and “geographic location” (20%).
- Interestingly, “attractiveness as an employer” was not seen as a problem by the respondents. Only 5 respondents mentioned this point.
- The following reasons were named under the heading “other “(7%):

Pay structure, pay structure for doctors in the public health service, Wage agreement “TVöD pay” in comparison to the private sector, increase in bureaucracy, increased tasks in the area of transferred activities.

About question 5: Which occupational groups are already showing a decrease in applicants?

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- In the survey, the current effects of demographic change on applications in different occupational groups, were assessed differently. The clearest effects are shown in the technical professions for engineers (90%), in the medical sector (80%) and for IT specialists (57%). In contrast, the problems in the administrative area, for both the “a dministrative specialists” (37%) and the “civil servants” (43%) are still modest.


About question 6: Does your authority train junior staff? If yes, in which areas?

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- Own education situation seems very good. The survey shows that all the respondents train junior staff. The focus is on general administration, with100% of the answers. More than three quarters of the respondents also train computer scientists.
- The following training professions were named under other (93%): Mechatronics engineers, food inspectors, district road maintenance staff, hygiene inspectors, emergency paramedics, social workers, draftsmen, geriatric nurses, specialists in media and information services, physicians' assistants, office clerks Construction graduates in business management, event businessmen, businessmen for tourism and spare time, bachelor social work.

The importance of various application factors

About question 7: Which of the following factors do you see as particularly important, in order to apply to your authority?

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- “Flexible working time models were, in the opinion of all the respondents, seen as the most important factor (100%), in applicants applying to their authority. The point „ job security“ was in second place, with 70%.
- “Reputation as employer “ (63%), „ modern organisational culture “ (43%) and „challenging tasks“ (40%) land while questioning in the centrefield.
- The point „ High level of personal responsibility in task performance “ (37%) follows afterwards close each other.
- The interrogative points „ Job security “ (20%) and „ Employer's public welfare orientation “ (10%) receive both six namings in each case.
- The tail light forms with only two namings in this survey „ Performance related pay component “ (7%).
- Become additional (although not asked) named:

- Operational child day care
- Old-age pension
- Family friendliness
- Salary

Influence of organisational measures on the application situation

About question 8: Which work organisational measures do you consider to be particularly important for successful employee recruitment?

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- As a reaction to demographic change, the points “flexible organisation of working time” (93 %) and “I ndividual career and personnel development” (67%) occupational training and further education, took the top places in the survey.
- Also the interrogative point „ Occupational training and further education “ (77%) is called by more than three quarters of the interviewees.
- The points „ Teleworking jobs” (63%) and "health management" (57%) the interviewee is named from about half as important.
- To the points „ supervisor-employee discussions “ (30%) as well as "Sabbaticals" and "mother's child's offices" with 3 namings in each case (or 10%) a lower meaning is too spoken of survey participants.
- „ Systematic supervisor feedback"and"job sharing/job rotation “ are named in each case only once.
- Of the points „ Long or lifetime work accounts “ receives no naming and forms therefore the end.

Use of communications channels for employee recruitment

About question 9: Which communications channels do you consider to be important for your employee recruitment?

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- Respondents still regarded “job advertisements on the own website” as important communications channels for employee recruitment (87%).
- However, "online job fairs “ with 70% are called second-most frequent, closely followed by "Career information days" with (67%).
- „ Social media “ increases with 60% in meaning and is named at the fourth place.
- „ Print advertisements in magazines “ (47 %) the interviewee is used also often by possibly half.
- "Information brochures " (10%), "job newsletter" (7%) as well as "personnel consultations" (7%) are seldom used against it.

Employer brand

About question 10: Do you actively advertise for your authority with “employer branding”, thus creating your own employer brand?

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This result shows that nearly one third of the interviewees (30%) own employer's brand / Employer Branding are of use as a measure for the attraction increase as an employer or as an important measure for the rise of the application bowls. 70% or 21 interviewees do not do this or not yet. Besides, two interviewees give that the measure stands shortly before the introduction or just the preliminary works are performed.

Less than one third of the interviewees use these tools. In this respect the hypothesis H1 is to be rejected.

It is worth for the time being H0 = The public administrations use no employer's brand as means for the attraction increase to the employee's production, because 70% do not use this.

Assessment of the challenges ahead

About question 11: In your assessment, what will be the most important challenges in municipal HRM in the years to come?

One respondent also name “digitisation” (although not asked here).

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In the last part of the survey, in response to question 11, the respondents could give their personal assessment regarding the most important challenges for municipal HRM.

As a result, it was possible to identify the most important areas of activity for municipal personnel work in years to come.

- "Personnel recruitment" takes with 90% of the namings the top rank.
- "Personnel development" and " employee retention” book while questioning with 87% together the second place followed from "employee's motivation" (67%).
- „ F lexible working time models “ (43%) as well as "health management" and "remuneration" (both in each case 37%) are called frequent.
- The points „ strengthening own training “ and "employer's brand" land with 9 (30%) or 7 (23%) of namings on the rear places with the interviewees.
- The point "personnel reduction" receives a naming.

Changes to the legal framework conditions

About question 12: In which areas must, in your opinion, the federal and district, respectively collective bargaining restrictions be changed, in order to recruit and retain enough skilled workers in the future?

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- The most important point for conferring with is the „ flexibilisation of grouping/remuneration“ (90%).
- The subject points „ Increasing salaries/remuneration “ (53%) and „Flexibilisation of working time“ (43%) are stated by approx. half of the interviewees.
- Uniform federal regulations / mobility, however, only 13% of the interviewees want.
- „ No changes “ is named only once.

4.3.2 Conclusion to the Survey

In most of the districts surveyed, those responsible for personnel have accepted the challenges of demographic change. Meanwhile, the subject has become explosive because many places have had painful experiences: Work is left undone or employees must take on extra work because positions are not filled.

For this reason, the topic of HRM will be a central challenge for authorities in the years to come. Employee recruitment is at the forefront. Finding and retaining employees will become ever more important.

The effects of the skills shortage can already be felt. In particular, there is a clear decrease in applications. There is already a lack of suitable specialists, above all in the categories of engineers, doctors and IT specialists.

The public sector gets to feel it even more, particularly in the area of IT, in the process of digitization. Because beyond the area of the authorities, the additional strategic reconstruction of the whole of local life into digital streets and regions, is accompanied by numerous new tasks. In order to cope with these well, they increasingly need personnel in the IT, data management and engineering sectors (Bertelsmann 2017).

The need for flexible working time is increasing, so that the public sector must also be open and flexible in this respect, in order to be perceived as an attractive employer.

Whether by flexible organisation of working time or an improved training and further education offering, the authorities are attempting, primarily with organisational methods, to orient themselves more strongly to the employees' needs. The efforts, as training organisations, to train in excess of demand, have also grown. This is all a good start.

Because the evaluation of the current and above all, the future, situation, is causing the decision-makers many more headaches than before.

It should be remembered that demographic change is not the only challenge faced by public sector authorities.

A task-oriented funding, e-government, digitalisation of administrative services19 and extension of the digital infrastructure are only some of the hot topics which must be dealt with. Particularly digitization, with its enormous speed of development, could steadily be thwarted by the continuously advancing demographic change. The bottom line is: Whoever wants to gain an advantage in the competition for the best brains, must solve both challenges simultaneously and in doing so, focus on defined HRM goals.

The importance of the reputation as employer was, according to the results, not seen as a problem by the majority of the respondents. It is therefore also not surprising that topically nine respondents saw the necessity of creating an employer brand and used it to increase their authorities’ attractiveness to applicants.

The need to catch up can clearly be seen here. Because the current “Nachwuchsbarometer Öffentlicher Dienst 2019” study clearly shows that applicants tend to find the public sector unattractive. There is a clear difference here, between the self-perception and that of others (Next 2019, 4 ff). Ultimately, this confirms the starting proposition H1 , even if not so unambiguously as expected. Nevertheless, movement seems to originate here, particularly as already two other management plans the introduction among the interviewees or stands shortly before the introduction. Here the further development remains to wait.

Creating an employer brand obviously does not happen overnight but it is possible to subdivide complex tasks into manageable parts and small steps, in order to make rapid progress.

Section 4.4 Examination of the Four Core Activities Using the Example of the Hildesheim District

In the second part of the study, the four core activities, respectively, areas of activity employee recruitment, employee retention, development and severance will be considered more closely, using the example of the Hildesheim district. Expert interviews were carried out for this purpose. The interviews were based on an interview guideline and a questionnaire.

Three criteria for each core activity were derived for investigation; these were then related to the respondents’ answers and scrutinized.

A short evaluation of each of the criteria examined will be given in the following.

A total of 12 criteria were formed and assessed using three levels:20

Tab. 4 Assessment overview (reference: own representation 2020)

- To obtain the data, interviews were held with the head of the personnel office and the district chief executive between 16.01.2020 and 31.01.2020.21
- The 2019 personnel report of the Hildesheim district authority and the 2020 establishment plan were also used for analysis.

4.4.1 Area of action: Employee Recruitment, Personnel Marketing and Recruiting

Research criteria for 4.4.1:

The following should be clarified:

1. how personnel recruiting is currently being carried out,
2. whether an employee brand has been created and the value of the same recognised,
3. which communications channels are used for employee recruitment.

Criteria: Personnel recruiting (+)

According to the information it gave, the administration sees problems in obtaining certain specialist groups. Particularly in the areas in which medical staff are to be employed and in the engineering sector, in the civil engineering and architectural specialisations, there has been a declining demand for a long time. It is also becoming increasingly challenging to recruit and retain adequately qualified specialists in the areas of information technology and general administration.

The reason given by the administration for this is that the remuneration, in particular, is inadequate and unattractive for applicants. Despite using the legally allowed allowances, it is for example, usually impossible to find qualified personnel in the public health sector.

There is a decline in applicants in all the areas named above. Furthermore, it is hardly possible to recruit managers at the social level, and then only after repeated advertising.

The Hildesheim district is very active in recruiting its own junior staff. Thus, for several years, it has been offering more opportunities for training in specific professions, as well as a dual study programme. A large number of administration staff trainees are taken on each year. In addition, the district trains information technology specialists, mechatronics engineers, food inspectors and district road maintenance staff.

According to the authority, it is essential that the job requirement profile, i.e. the required qualification, is met, so that there can be a statutorily and legally correct classification. However, many applicants no longer fulfil this requirement. It can also be seen that young applicants’ general attitude to working life has changed. Instead of work-life balance, life is at the forefront, especially for school leavers and students. Reconciling this with business matters is increasingly difficult and repeatedly leads to early turnover of young employees.

According to the respondents, a further problem is that there are no comprehensive job requirement profiles. There are only position profiles. Without specifically defined requirements, it is seldom possible to say with certainty whether the applicant with his profile, is really suitable for a particular position.

Criteria: Employer brand –

Personnel marketing instruments are certainly known in principal however they are not used, or not to the extent necessary. According to its own statement, it is important for the authority to be more active in presenting itself to the outside world and to work on advancing the district authority’s image as an attractive employer. Only one advertising slogan currently exists for the entire district authority: "Schön HI er" (“nice here”).22 It is therefore not surprising that the rudiments of employer branding are also known but not used. The comment was given that other municipal authorities do not use it either, or yet.

Use of communications channel for employee recruitment +

Differentiated use is made of different communications channels for employee recruitment, depending on the position to be filled. This includes school visits, careers information days and its own stand at job fairs, for recruiting junior staff. An extension of the digital applicant management system is also under consideration at present. So far, the experience of the experimental use of digitised applications, has been positive.

An evaluation of the channels through which applicants find out about the Hildesheim district as an employer, shows a very promising picture.23

Assessment: Employee recruitment, personnel marketing and recruiting

- The public sector’s problems have also reached the Hildesheim district. The difficulty of recruiting certain specialists can also be seen here. It is however positive that training the own junior staff seems to work well.
- The lack of reliable job requirement profiles is a flaw that must urgently be remedied, in order to obtain a reliable result from selection.
- A negative point is that the opportunity to create an employee brand, respectively employee branding, is not recognised and this could be missing a chance that could also be advantageous for the organisation.
- When considering the spectrum of communications channels, it can be seen that as well as the own internet site, attendance at job fairs and cooperation with schools are also used as advertising opportunities. Therefore, social media becomes increasingly important.

- After analysing and assessing the personnel marketing area, it can be determined that there has been a partial modernisation of personnel policy instruments.
- However, there are still more steps and challenges (keyword employer brand) facing the district authority.

4.4.2 Area of activity: Employee retention and demographic management

Research criteria for 4.4.2:

It should be clarified:

1. Whether there are particular considerations, in order to retain employees long term.
2. how the topic working time organisation and flexibilisation is handled.
3. whether there is an occupational health and age management system.

Criterion: Long term employee retention –

The authority has no special concept for long term employee retention. Against the background of an acute lack of specialist staff and the inevitably resulting competition situation, not only between the authorities, the Hildesheim district authority sees it as imperative to enter into a constructive dialogue with its staff, to find out what is individually needed to continue to do good work in the future.

Thus, the respondents assessed employee retention as the most important task at this time. Because of the economic framework conditions (economic boom phase over a decade), it has never been so easy for employees to change their jobs, either within the public sector or into the private sector. This is also being felt by the Hildesheim district authority. While comparatively many new employment contracts are being made, employees are also frequently moving to other employers after a short time.24 Against the background of the tense personnel situation, digital opportunities are being used increasingly.

For example, the introduction of the digital personnel file and digital applicant management have clearly accelerated the processes, which ultimately speeds up the processing and thus increases employee satisfaction.

Criterion: work- and working time flexibility, work-life balance +

Working time organisation and work flexibilisation have been a focus of the HRM in Hildesheim for a long time. Flexible working time organisation has been possible for many years (in consultation with the respective team). Currently, mobile working (while travelling or from home) is being introduced. The technical possibilities already exist. Teleworking is also already possible and being practiced, for example, by chronically ill co-workers. For example, this further advances the support for family friendliness (also through widely used part-time working) and an improved work-life balance.

Criterion: Age and occupational health management –

There is currently no comprehensive health management. Health is reduced to ergonomics, workplace safety and maintenance of physical health. A comprehensive approach with the goal of physical, mental and social well-being was not apparent.

Age management, i.e. the flexible adaptation of demands to the older employees’ capabilities, does not exist at present.25 This was justified by prohibitive legal grounds. However, mixed age teams are very common. These were not formed systematically however but have happened by chance.

In this respect, there is also a transfer of knowledge, on a low level, from the older to the younger employee generation. According to the information given by the district authority, there is no mentoring programme for new entrants.

Furthermore, a noticeable increase in chronic illnesses and burn out has been seen in recent years. Yoga, gymnastic courses, back training etc. are now being offered as special measures to maintain physical health. There is no comprehensive health management. Its importance has certainly been recognised in principal, however the right steps are still missing, for example, in the direction of health coaching.

Assessment: Employee retention and demographic management

- Work- and working time flexibilisation have been recognised as being particularly important for employee retention. The analysis and assessment of the survey on the subject of employee retention, shows that the authority has already made progress in respect of work flexibilisation and is on the right path.
- There is no age management system here.
- Although, there is no comprehensive health management. This is considered to be a deficit.

4.4.3 Area of action: Personnel development and talent management

Research criteria for 4.4.3:

Here should be clarified:

1. whether there is functioning personnel development planning,
2. how the further and continuing training is organised,
3. whether there are employee-supervisor and personnel development reviews and a functioning assessment system.

Criterion: Personnel development planning +

A very comprehensive personnel development planning was introduced in 2014. However, there are still many recognisable deficits. The concept focuses on qualifying the employee for future tasks and the needs-based qualification of managers, including junior staff planning.

Criterion: Further and continuing education, talent management +/-

According to the respondents’ information, the Hildesheim district has an attractive internal continuing education programme, which is in very high demand. Subject-related continuing education and also training opportunities are also self-evident and are agreed with the respective direct manager in each individual case.

Continuing education is divided into a general, cross-disciplinary central area and a decentralised, specialist further education area. The continuing education in the central area is concentrated on the training of junior management. The specialist personnel development measures are in the decentralised jurisdiction and responsibility of the departments. Furthermore, opportunity exists for voluntary further education. However, seminar workshops and lectures in the authority are only used irregularly and unsystematically.

Employees receive no financial support for further and continuing education from the employer; in individual cases, it is possible for an arrangement to be made about working time, in order to support those affected.

Everyone interested is shown opportunities for individual career planning, in the sense of talent management, also under the heading of work-life balance. This offer is being used more recently. However, the systematic connection of individual support to real talent management is lacking.

Management development is an important element of continuing education. The ongoing training in respect of management behaviour, management competences etc. is intended to constantly support managers, as well as the systematic selection and preparation of junior managers for leadership tasks. For example, according to the personnel administration, the “on the way to management” concept was developed in 2016 for the recruitment and promotion of future managers.26

Criterion: Employee-supervisor and personnel development appraisals, assessment system (+)

Employee-supervisor assessments, personnel development appraisals and a functioning appraisal system currently only exist on paper. However, the value of these measures has been recognised and the implementation, respectively, reanimation of the individual components is already in progress, so that a considerable improvement can be expected here soon.

According to the respondents, a new appraisal system is currently being introduced, which should fulfil the legal requirements and those of a modern HRM system. At the same time, regular employee-supervisor assessments and personnel development appraisals are being developed.

However, supervisors see problems in respect of the temporal components. For example, it will be difficult to handle these in offices with 70 employees, as the individual reviews require preparation and follow-up and are very demanding in terms of overall time. Therefore, the development remains to be seen.

Assessment: Personnel development and talent management

- The starting point in the Hildesheim district authority is not bad. Personnel planning exists and is continually being improved.
- In respect of further and continuing education, a distinction is practiced between central and decentralised measures. This enables the official channels to be shortened and individualised continuing training to be offered. The further and continuing education measures offered appear to be adequate and useful.
- Talent/career management is present to a limited extent; it is not generally systematic but case-by-case. A connection is missing.
- The area of employee-supervisor and personnel development reviews, as well as the assessment system, appears to be problematic. The current system, to the extent that it exists at all, does not even fulfil the requirements of a modern HRM. Thus, not only is adequate feedback for the employee lacking but also a meaningful performance review for the authority.
- However, the authority is already actively counteracting this, so that a considerable improvement can be expected.

4.4.4 Area of activity: Severance

Research criteria for 4.4.4:

This is intended to provide information about whether the following options are used:

1. whether there is discharge management,
2. whether there is retirement management,
3. how the transfer of knowledge is ensured.

Criterion: Discharge management –

There is no discharge or outplacement management in the Hildesheim district authority. No necessity has been seen for it to date, as discharges are not a personnel policy aim at the moment.

Besides, every few years, semi-retirement (i.e. reduction of working hours or early retirement) is legally allowed as an interim solution for older employees. In this way, a flexible transition from working life to retirement can be organised for individual employees on a voluntary basis.

Criterion: Retirement management

The majority of employees have already been working for the district authority for a very long time. These long-standing employment relationships usually end with retirement, respectively pension. According to the respondents, the focus has shifted completely in the last six years. Whereas previously, it was about the reduction of overcapacity (too many employees), it is now about using the employee who is going to leave in any case (having reached the age limit), for the authority beyond retirement. This only works on a voluntary basis and the law sets clear limits here.

For civil servants, an extension of one or two years after reaching the legal age limit is possible, for tariff employees, this is only possible for very special reasons. In addition, there may be disadvantages in respect of pension payment. The district authority has no influence on this.

Criterion: Knowledge transfer –

The opinion of the respondents was naturally that it would be good and right for employees who are leaving to pass their knowledge and experience to their successors. However, this is difficult in practice. A position can only be filled once.

A desirable overlap, for example a two-month familiarization period or similar, is not legally allowed; there would be two people doing one job. This also makes the systematic transfer of knowledge problematic.

Thus, this transfer only takes place voluntarily and based on bilateral agreement. Alumni networks or similar, do not officially exist.

Assessment: Severance

- There are very clear differences between severance in the public sector and the private sector. In particular, civil servants’ employment relationships can only be terminated in very extreme, exceptional cases. It is also the case that tariff employees are usually non-terminable after they have been employed for a long period.
- In any case, this is not important in Hildesheim. It is much more about using the employee for as long as possible, also extending into retirement. It was also recognised that an active knowledge transfer was necessary. However, the legal hurdles for this appear to be high. A change to, or flexibilisation of, the legal norms would be desirable.
- Taking these restrictions into account, the Hildesheim district authority is already using all the opportunities available. Unfortunately, these are all case-for-case and cannot result in the instrument having any reliability. There is no systematic retirement and knowledge management.

4.4.5 Short summary of the 12 criteria and assessments

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Tab. 5 Overview about the study result Landkreis Hildesheim (reference: own representation 2020)

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Section 4.5 Recommendations for Action for the District Authorities Examined

The aim of the paper is, among other things, the derivation of appropriate options for action and recommendations for a future, holistic HRM. However, no general recommendations, which could apply to all the administrations under consideration, can be given. Interestingly the investigation results coincide in large parts also with the topical studies of McKinsey in 2019, Next:Public 2019 and Publecon in 2019.

The challenges of demographic change must be accepted by the authorities. Most of the respondents have recognised the problem of the skills shortage and see the search for qualified staff as big tasks for their authorities.

HRM will have the task of remaining efficient with aging workforces, despite increasing pressure of work and more complex processes and, in addition, to be an attractive employer for qualified junior staff.

Public sector employers must therefore intensify the change from passive personnel administration to professional HRM.

The appropriate management instruments for this have been introduced in this paper.

At the same time, the sometimes very specific framework conditions of HRM in the public sector, have been taken into consideration.

However, the implementation of individual measures alone can only produce very limited results. Instead of this, a holistic approach is needed, which connects the individual measures with each other in a coherent HRM strategy. The measures must therefore include all the areas of activity throughout an employee’s working life cycle

The following are the most important elements of a demography-oriented personnel policy. Personnel marketing will first be discussed in depth in respect of possible recommendations for action, the other elements will only be discussed briefly.

- Personnel marketing: Internal and external personnel marketing should make new applicant groups interested in the authority and retain existing employees.

Many modern personnel marketing innovations are accompanied by high, short-term costs and therefore hit approval problems. However, this innovation is designed for the long-term perspective. For example, the high initial costs for the introduction of employer branding, which pleasingly has already been introduced by some of the respondents, and the associated advertising measures can promote the employees’ commitment while also contributing to an image improvement and a reduction of management costs. For implementation, it is first necessary to determine the own position. The own authority’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and those of its environment, should be identified by means of a SWOT analysis. Ultimately, it is about answering the question, what distinguishes this authority from the other public sector authorities and private employers, thus about the development of a USP, in the sense of a unique market positioning (what makes us special?).

Whereby, the own employees’ wishes and ideas must be incorporated in exactly the same way as those of interested parties. When this question is resolved, strategic positionings are the result.27 The concrete measure can be planned and finally evaluated from this basis. Naturally, the measures should also be monitored in respect to their efficiency and efficacy, and countermeasures taken if necessary.

The aim is to create a revolving system. The most important success factors are information, continuing education and the active participation of all the employees affected by personnel marketing.

- Strategic human resource management: The personnel is understood to be an important success factor for the authority’s performance, which must be strategically planned and controlled. The development to modern HRM represents a very large cost in terms of time and effort.

However, taking this step in the near future will be essential. The most important change which must be completed, is in dealing with employees. When positions are increasingly becoming vacant through natural turnover (employees reaching the age limit) and cannot quickly be refilled, this damages the authority’s ability to act and ultimately, that of the state. Filling these vacant positions with the best, must also be the goal in the future. Therefore, operational thinking must be replaced by strategic foresight.

- Public service employment law and remuneration policy: The opportunities to reform the public service employment law and to introduce performance-oriented remuneration, are to be used and should increase motivation, flexibility and competitiveness.
- Work organisation: Age-appropriate and motivating working conditions can be created with flexible forms of working times and workplaces with an innovative working sphere.
- Health management: The staff’s performance into old age, is to be ensured by preventative health management.28
- Personnel development: Development prospects can be created and performance secured, by individual assessment and tailor-made further education concepts in the sense of career management for all ages (clear career paths).

Naturally, employee-supervisor and personnel development assessments, as well as regular appraisals, also require resources.29

- Leadership culture: Managers become promoters of a demography-oriented personnel policy. Promising recruitment and promising development must become central executive function30
- This observation can also be applied to some other modern HRM measures:

- For example, age structure analyses should be used in all authorities. With this instrument, personnel planners can obtain an overview, of which departmental employees will retire in the long term and how many jobs will have to be refilled.
- Furthermore, an absence and absenteeism analysis should also be carried out. This enables it to be determined whether, for example, employees in particular working areas are ill especially often, and what the possible cause might be.

Many creative personnel measures can already be successfully implemented into practice today, despite the existing framework conditions.

The district authorities studied as employers, should use their age structure development as impetus and the successful examples of other authorities as an incentive, in order to adapt their HRM to the demographic challenges as soon as possible.

If an active personnel policy design is successful, it will also open opportunities and competitive advantages for the public sector in the fight for the best brains. Nevertheless, it will not happen entirely without additional costs.

However, these represent the lesser evil compared to the inability to act.

Ultimately, it should be noted that all the measures are subject to a point in time. The demographic change and associated change in the world of work, cannot be stopped.


Conclusion and Appraisal

The intention of this paper is to take stock and to give an overview of the effects of demographic change etc. on HRM in the public sector, recognise optimisation potentials and derive recommendations for a future, holistic HRM.

But what is the next step?

The effects of demographic change are, as shown, becoming more profound. The public sector will have to reckon with serious consequences in future, unless a rethink takes place in respect of its personnel policy.

The last two decades compulsion to save coupled with a growing wave of retirements, will automatically lead to a considerable shortage of skilled staff. A constant increase in demands through more and more complex tasks, is also strengthening this trend.

Therefore, improving attractiveness and the introduction of a modern HRM system will become an important human resources task.31

An increase in efficiency is ultimately only possible with motivated and well-trained employees. To support them, there must be a development from a passive personnel administration to an active, modern HRM.

The public sector must not only create the structural preconditions to be able to overcome the demographic change socially; it must also be mastered in its own ranks.

For (potential) employees, the advantages compared to the private sector, such as job security, must be emphasised and complemented by new measures, primarily in respect of flexible career development and performance-oriented payment.

The public sector should not refuse interaction with the private sector, which is facing the same challenges in many areas.

It is important to choose the right HRM instruments and to adapt them to the circumstances of the public sector. In addition, new instruments must also be tested.

The public sector should also see the demographic change as an opportunity.

New employees and career changers in particular, offer the opportunity to push the cultural change further towards a sustainable state. It is important to overcome the demographic change while performing effective and efficient administrative work for the citizens.

Final recommendations

Finally, four recommendations for this future realignment:

1. Recruiting junior staff through targeted training and personnel marketing

The public sector must improve its internal and external training and personnel marketing, by presenting itself as an attractive employer in the personnel market. Good means for this are maybe Employer branding.

Potential applicants should be addressed in a target group-oriented manner. In addition, the applicants must be more carefully considered in terms of their specific professional groups and individual qualifications, to guarantee that they can be deployed precisely and thus can be offered an attractive working environment in local government.32

2. Communication

There is a clear trend towards digital methods in the recruiting and selection of new employees. Thus, the authorities would like to make more use of online job fairs and social media channels to approach applicants. Modern communication methods, for example, online portals, should be used more. These have the advantage of being cost-effective and of reaching a wider pool of potential applicants, especially with a younger audience.

For example, in addition to an improved, faster selection procedure, it is increasingly useful in training marketing for online approaches to potential applicants.33

As well as a systematic approach, the application process itself should also be improved. The administrative process from receipt of the application to engagement of the applicant, should be professional, transparent and fast.

3. Effective and sustainable employee development through further and continuing education measures

In addition to targeted recruitment, it is primarily about promoting the already existing employees and preparing them for new, more complex work tasks with effective and sustainable further and continuing education measures, as well as increasing the work’s attractiveness. If lifelong learning is offered by the employer, public authority employees can develop further by themselves.

A differentiation of the further education offering according to different qualification targets, such as professional training, non-professional personality and competence training (for example, in respect of communication), and training for managers (perhaps for HRM), should be accelerated.

4. Age management

When designing further training measures, age-specific peculiarities such as technical know-how and pace of learning should be taken into account. In addition, the transfer of existing knowledge to subsequent generations of employees must be ensured.

Only so valuable knowledge is able in the local government permanently securely and are preserved.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 12 Recommendations for the future realignment

(reference: own representation 2020)

And finally, an appeal:

Human resource management in local government is a continuous process.

It does not end on a fixed date but starts afresh every day. Whereby the motivation and urge to try out new solutions must not be left behind due to the deficiencies and vagaries of day-to-day matters.

As the environment is developing constantly and ever faster, the solution here cannot and must not be standstill, let alone regression.

The personnel manager of the future must therefore be a gardener =

constantly sowing, tending, weeding, harvesting, sowing, tending etc.

Appendix 1

Survey of all districts in Lower Saxony ( original text in german)

Question 1: Employees working in the administration (incl. all local offices etc.)


Question 2: Organisational assignment of the topic

(Please, only one cross)

- Personnel administration
- Administration manager
- Other____________________________________________

Question 3: Do you have problems recruiting specialists?

(Please, only one cross on the line)

None Some Large

Q uestion 4: What do you think is the reason for these problems?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Skills shortage
- Demographic change
- Lack of attractiveness as an employer
- Geographic location
- Competition with other employers
- Other

Question 5: Which occupational groups are already showing a decrease in applicants?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Engineers
- IT specialists
- Doctors
- Educators, social work
- Technicians
- Administrative specialists
- Civil servants

Question 6: Does your authority train junior staff? If yes, in which areas?

(Multiple answers possible)

- General administration civil servant or VfA
- Computer scientist
- Other

Question 7: Which of the following factors do you see as particularly important, in order to apply to your authority?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Flexible working time models
- Job security
- Guaranteed career
- Modern organisational culture
- Reputation as employer
- High level of personal responsibility in task performance
- Challenging tasks
- Performance related pay component
- Employer's public welfare orientation

Question 8: Which work organisational measures do you consider to be particularly important for successful employee recruitment?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Flexible organisation of working time
- Occupational training and further education
- Individual career/personnel development
- Occupational health management
- Long or lifetime working time accounts
- Teleworking jobs
- Sabbaticals
- Job Sharíng /job Rotation
- Systematic Supervisor feedback
- Supervisor employee discussion
- Mother-child offices

Question 9: Which communications channels do you consider to be important for your employee recruitment?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Job advertisement website
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Xing etc.)
- Online job fairs
- Career information days
- Print advertisements in newspapers/magazines
- Personnel consultancy
- Information brochures
- Job newsletter by email

Question 10: Do you actively advertise for your authority with “employer branding”, thus creating your own employer brand?

(Please, only one cross)

- Used
- Not used

Question 11: In your assessment, what will be the most important challenges in municipal HRM in the years to come?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Personnel development
- Personnel recruitment
- Employer brand
- Remuneration
- Employee retention
- Employee motivation
- Flexible working time models
- Health management
- Strengthening own training
- Personnel reduction

Question 12: In which areas must, in your opinion, the federal and district, respectively collective bargaining restrictions be changed, in order to recruit and retain enough skilled workers in the future?

(Multiple answers possible)

- Increasing salaries/remuneration
- Flexibilisation of grouping/remuneration
- Flexibilisation of working time
- Uniform federal regulations / mobility
- No changes

Many thanks for your time and your participation.

Cover letter to the district administrators (e-Mail),

sended 17.01.2020

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

among the rest, within the scope of a scientific study which I provide at the moment I would like to light up the topical challenges for our personnel management.

Moreover I carry out a full elevation with all administrative districts from Lower Saxony incl. the region Hannover (N = 37).

Attached a small catalogue is added by twelve questions. It would be very nice and was very helpful for me if you could take the time or one of your Mitarbeiter*innen to answer the questions. Duration no more than three minutes. I am grateful for a return up to the 31.01.2020 by mail in

I thank already in advance and can make available the evaluated results about the NLT to you of course very much with pleasure at the end.

Warm regards

Olaf Levonen

original text in german

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

im Rahmen einer wissenschaftlichen Studie, die ich zurzeit erstelle, möchte ich unter anderem die aktuellen Herausforderungen für unser Personalmanagement beleuchten. Hierzu führe ich eine Vollerhebung bei allen niedersächsischen Landkreisen inkl. der Region Hannover durch (N = 37).

In der Anlage ist ein kleiner Katalog von zwölf Fragen beigefügt. Es wäre sehr schön und für mich sehr hilfreich, wenn Sie sich die Zeit nehmen könnten bzw. einer Ihrer Mitarbeiter*innen, um die Fragen zu beantworten. Zeitdauer nicht mehr als drei Minuten.

Für eine Rücksendung bis zum 31.01.2020 per Mail an bin ich dankbar.

Ich bedanke mich schon im Voraus und kann Ihnen natürlich sehr gerne am Ende die ausgewerteten Ergebnisse über den NLT zur Verfügung stellen.

Herzliche Grüße

Olaf Levonen

Appendix 2

Questionnaire Landkreis Hildesheim

- Conferred with: Head of the district authority, Personnel office leader and Vice Personnel office leader of the administrative district Hildesheim.

- Interview period: 16.01. to 31.01.2020


1. Do you have problems with the production of professional forces?
2. On which do you lead back these problems?
3. In which occupation groups does a decline of Applicant already appear today?
4. Which factors do you estimate as especially important to apply at your authority?
5. Does your authority train junior workers? If so in which areas?
6. Which working-organizational measures do you estimate as especially important for a successful employee recruitment (for example, adaptable working hour creation, operational education and continuing education, individual career development and personnel development, operational health management)?
7. Which communication canals for her employee's production do you judge as important (place advertising on your Internet site, Social media, online job stock exchanges, occupational information days etc.)?
8. Do you advertise to your authority actively by "Employer Branding", so education of own employer's brand?
9. Is there a personnel development planning? Which further possibilities and continuing education possibilities are offered? Is there in your house an active career management for single employees or groups of employees, so a talent management?
10. Are carried out with you regularly to employee's prelaws and personnel development talks? How does her judgement being look? Are there control judgements?
11. How does she use the experiences of her older and departing employees? Is the knowledge transfer from older formed with them to the younger generation? Is there a mentor's programme?
12. Are personnel free settlements in terms of dismissals etc. with you one more subject?
13. Which are according to your appraisal the most important challenges in the municipal personnel management of the coming years concerning the employee's production, employer's brand, employee's connection and employee's motivation?
14. Are there with them already today adaptable working hour models and a functioning health management?
15. Where and in which extent the job of the personnel management is perceived at the moment in your house?

Original text in german


1. Haben Sie Probleme bei der Gewinnung von Fachkräften?
2. Worauf führen Sie diese Probleme zurück?
3. In welchen Beschäftigungsgruppen zeigt sich bereits heute ein Rückgang von Bewerber*innen?
4. Welche Faktoren schätzen Sie als besonders wichtig ein, um sich bei Ihrer Behörde zu bewerben?
5. Bildet Ihre Behörde Nachwuchskräfte aus? Wenn ja in welchen Bereichen?
6. Welche arbeitsorganisatorischen Maßnahmen schätzen Sie als besonders wichtig für eine erfolgreiche Mitarbeiter*innen Rekrutierung ein (bspw. flexible Arbeitszeitgestaltung, betriebliche Aus- und Weiterbildung, individuelle Karriere- und Personalentwicklung, betriebliches Gesundheitsmanagement)?
7. Welche Kommunikationskanäle für ihre Mitarbeitergewinnung erachten Sie als wichtig (Stellenausschreibung auf Ihrer Internetseite, Social Media, Online Jobbörsen, Berufsinformationstage etc.)?
8. Werben Sie für Ihre Behörde aktiv durch „Employer Branding“, also Bildung einer eigenen Arbeitgebermarke?
9. Gibt es eine Personalentwicklungsplanung? Welche Fort- und Weiterbildungsmöglichkeiten werden angeboten? Gibt es in Ihrem Haus ein aktives Karrieremanagement für einzelne Mitarbeiter oder Gruppen von Mitarbeiter, also ein Talentmanagement?
10. Werden bei Ihnen regelmäßig Mitarbeiter-Vorgesetzen- und Personalentwicklungsgespräche durchgeführt? Wie sieht ihr Beurteilungswesen aus? Gibt es Regelbeurteilungen?
11. Wie nutze sie die Erfahrungen ihrer älteren und ausscheidenden Mitarbeiter? Wird bei ihnen der Wissenstransfer von der älteren zur jüngeren Generation gestaltet? Gibt es ein Mentorenprogramm?
12. Sind Personalfreisetzungen im Sinne von Entlassungen etc. bei Ihnen noch ein Thema?
13. Welche sind nach Ihrer Einschätzung die wichtigsten Herausforderungen im kommunalen Personalmanagement der kommenden Jahre in Bezug auf die Mitarbeitergewinnung, Arbeitgebermarke, Mitarbeiterbindung und -motivation?
14. Gibt es bei ihnen schon heute flexible Arbeitszeitmodelle und ein funktionierendes Gesundheitsmanagement?
15. Wo und in welchem Umfang wird die Aufgabe des Personalmanagements zurzeit in Ihrem Hause wahrgenommen?

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Appendix 4 Public administration in Germany

In this study is spoken of public administration. However, who is behind this concept? In addition, it is to be known importantly the bearers of the public administration in Germany. The chart gives moreover a good overview:34

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 11 Bearer of the public administration in Germany (reference

At the moment in the public service work 4.8 million employees (sh. Section 2.2).

In the following (a not final) coarse overview in which authorities these are occupied.

1. Federal management: 35

Below the federal ministerial level, the government offices are settled.

The immediate federal management is entrusted with the realisation of all matters which fall after the Grundgesetz (constitution) under the competence of the federal government (article 87-89). In the following some federal authorities and their number in employees (whole at the moment about 496,000people):

- Auswärtiger Dienst - Foreign service (approx. 8,700 employees)
- Bundesfinanzverwaltung - Federal financial administration (approx. 48,000 employees)

- Bundeszollverwaltung - Federal duty management (ca.34.000 employees)
- Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht - Government institution of financial service supervision
- Bundeszentralamt für Steuern- Federal central office for taxes
- Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen - Federal Office for central services and open property questions
- Zentrum für Informationsverarbeitung und -technik - Centre for data processing and information technology

- Bundeswehrverwaltung -Armed forces management (approx. 75,000 employees)
- Bundespolizei - Federal police (approx. 40,000 employees)
- Bundeskriminalamt - Federal Criminal Police Office (approx. 5,500 employees)
- Bundesanwaltschaft - Federal Prosecutor's Office
- Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsverwaltung des Bundes - Waterways and navigation management of the alliance (approx. 11,000 employees)
- Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt - Federal Motor Vehicle and Transport Authority (approx. 1,000 employees)
- Bundesamt für Güterverkehr - Federal Office for goods traffic
- Eisenbahn-Bundesamt - Railway Federal Office
- Bundesamt für Justiz - Federal Office for justice
- Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie - Federal Office for sea navigation and Hydrographie
- Luftfahrt-Bundesamt - Aviation Federal Office
- Deutscher Wetterdienst - German weather service
- Bundeanstalt für Straßenwesen - Federal institution for street being
- Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau - Government institution of hydraulic engineering
- Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben - Government institution of real estate duties (approx. 5,000 employees)
- Bundesanstalt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung - Government institution of civil engineering and regional planning
- Bundesverwaltungsamt - Federal management office (approx. 2,200 employees)
- Bundestagsverwaltung Management of the Bundestag
- Bundesratsverwaltung Bundesrat management
- Bundespräsidialamt Federal presidential office

2. State management

Because the States are entrusted with the part biggest by far of the administrative duties in Germany (article 30 Grundgesetz), the federal state authorities from the personnel strength are the prominent part of the public administration. In 16 German State management approx. 2.4 million people work, in detail:

- in the financial administration of the countries (approx. 153,000 employees)
- in the colleges (approx. 238,000 public employees)
- in schools and the education at preschool (approx. 817,000 employees)
- in the justice and the court management (approx. 189,000 employees)
- at the police (approx. 274,000 employees, of it approx. 228,000 warders)
- in the other management (approx. 602,000 employees).

3. Municipal management

The towns, municipalities and velvet municipalities administer all matters of the local community (selfadministrative law). Municipalities of an area are united to associations of municipalities, the administrative districts, to be able to master higher duties more actually. From a certain number of inhabitants, towns can be free of district. Beside districts other municipal associations (for example, the scenery associations) exist for special duties.

Summarised the municipal management occupies approx. 1.58 million employees split on the areas:

- general management (approx. 249,000 employees)
- public security and order (approx. 115,000 employees)
- Schools (approx. 128,000 employees)
- Science, research and culture (approx. 86,000 employees)
- social protection (approx. 281,000 employees)
- Health, sport and rest (approx. 84,000 employees)
- Civil engineering and housing, traffic (approx. 138,000 employees)
- public facilities, economic support (approx. 155,000 employees)
- Hospitals (approx. 278,000 employees)
- other (approx. 58,000 employees).

There still the social security with 387.00 people comes, in the end.

Appendix 5 To the public service the younger generation goes out

36 Up to 2030 German authorities will lack 731,000 employees.

A study of McKinsey comes to the result that it will deal the public service in Germany during the next years with a striking professional force lack. Every third employees there will go into retirement up to 2030. At the same time the authorities lack younger generation.

In this country currently 4.69 million employed persons work in the public service, according to figures of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany from middle of 2016. Of it 0.49 million are active in the federal area, 2.37 million at state level and 1.46 million in the municipal area as well as 0.37 million in the social security. From the just 4.7 million employees approximately 1.8 million will go during the coming eleven years to pension or pension - this is more than every third. However, at the same time only just 1.3 million junior workers will move up till 2030. Today, besides, personnel gap already exists in the public sector which the „official's alliance DBB and rate union “numbers at 185,000 places. Till 2013 the authorities would lack a total of about 731,000 employees. To this result the McKinsey study with the title „The best comes, please - As the public sector can score as an employer “. For the study 165 executives of the public service were questioned last year and the most topical personnel statistics from alliance and countries were evaluated.

In particular the younger generation for middle leading positions will be absent

Compared to other branches, according to the study, the forecast personnel lack is the biggest in the public service. Especially strikingly the gap precipitates with junior workers with academic background - the employees who should take later middle leading positions in authorities and are, according to the authors, for the conversion of future initiatives of particular importance: From in future 701,000 unoccupied places about 401,000 positions are cancelled to the middle leadership level, so officials of the salary brackets A9 upward and rate employee of the remuneration groups from E9. 90 % of the interviewees give that the recruitment and development just of the middle leadership level is extremely challenging. More than three quarters (77 %) deplore that the best of a year never start or only seldom in her organisation. Just one third (30 % gives that at least every second applicant who receives place offers from them rejects this.

Executives jump off above all because of the salary and low career chances again

The study also asked, why to itself the public service as an employer is so difficult. Just three of four executives (72 %) bragged, in her organisation a value promise or, however, it is absent is has become outdated. As reasons for it, why employees of the middle leadership level leave the organisation, most study participants bragged with 59 %, the salary images would not be fulfilled. Well half (52 %) calls a little attractive career paths and missing opportunities for advancement as a principal reason. 35 % say, there were no inspiring executives. 31 % think, the culture of the organisation is not innovative.

To become more attractive possibilities of the authorities, for employees

To improve the production and development of junior workers in the public sector and to receive the legal capacity of the authorities, McKinsey suggests six points of departure: a differentiated value promise develop, communicate and move, promising recruitment and promising development into the central executive function make, clear and attractive career paths for service provider offer, an innovative working sphere with an inspiring atmosphere create, attractive continuing education possibilities create and promote the delegation of promising executives from the private sector.


1 Note: Human resource management short = HRM.

2 Without tables to section 4.3.1

3 For the improvement of the legibility it is fallen back on the male formulation. If in the text merely from "employee" etc. the speech is, female and male people are meant with it at the same time. A discriminating view is not connected with it.

4 For further information, appendix 4 contains an overview of the public administration bodies and their employees.

5 At this time, the average age in the public sector is 45, which is an increase of 4 years compared to 1999. While 75% of public sector employees are over 35 years old, it is only about 40% in the private sector. In addition, a wave of baby boomer generation retirements is approaching, those born in the late 1950s and early 1960s who currently make up the majority of public sector employees.

6 Note: at the moment there are 2,200 federal laws with approximately 47,000 individual regulations and 3,200 ordinances with 40,000 individual regulations. In addition, there are state laws and European Union regulations. The total number can only be estimated but must be around 150,000. The trend is increasing (Statistisches Bundesamt 2020).

7 Authenticity is the decisive factor in this respect. In addition, the administration must be aware of its strengths and weaknesses (Schumacher/Geschwill 2009, 39; Helmke/Küthe 28, 69 ff.).

8 Performance tests and assessment centre exercises are used to a lesser extent. In the area of tests, paper and pencil processes are primarily used at present .

9 Here, older employees are actively integrated into the innovation process.

10 While only 53% of the private sector workforce took at least one day of sick leave in the previous twelve months, it was 62% in the public sector. In addition, the workforce stayed at home for one day longer per year, on average.

11 These allow parents whose child has suddenly become ill, to take it with them into the ministry (BMF 2019).

12 A distinction is made between educational (training, continuing education and further education) and job-related measures (for example, use and promotion planning).

13 These are further divided into specialist, social, methodological and personality competences.

14 The rigid career and grouping law in the public service make flexible career planning (for example, professional careers) difficult.

15 With this, further education opportunities and occupation are also open to those in retirement. The public service can use the experience and save money at the same time, as the support can be given voluntarily where appropriate.

16 According to the provisions of the relevant collective bargaining agreement, employees over 40 years old with over 15 years seniority from the tariff zone West (old West German states) have a special protection against dismissal – they are de facto impossible to dismiss.

17 A precise overview of the Lower Saxony districts, including population numbers, can be found in Appendix 3.

18 The questions asked ranged from operative-municipal related to strategic-legal subject areas. The questionnaire and the survey covering letter, are shown in Appendix 1.

19 Note: the digital transformation of administrative processes is one of the biggest challenges for the public sector. However, the subject will not be examined in the context of this study.

20 It should be borne in mind that there can be no unambiguous interpretation of interviews. The answers are open to other interpretations.

21 The interview guideline’s questionnaire is contained in Appendix 2.

22 Is based on the official vehicle registration number for Hildesheim, HI.

23 Job advertisements on the own website, social media (Facebook, Instagram),, Bundesagentur für Arbeit,,, and on other online job exchanges such as Stepstone,, have, according to the authority, become normal practice.

24 Respondent’s comment: “some also come back to the Hildesheim district authority after a while). It is important that the framework conditions are right. “This includes well trained and managers who are suitable due to their personalities, who really care about their employees’ professional and personal development and their motivation”.

25 The average age of the district authority employees is currently 49 years. Therefore, it is not surprising, according to the authority, that employees usually take a lot of sick leave (average 14 working days); note, this is still low in comparison to the Berlin state, with on average 38.7 days in 2019

26 Here, interested employees have the opportunity to get information about the subject of management at the start of an information event. Subsequently, many workshops begin with the theme of dealing with and reflecting on the demands and tasks of a leadership role. About 50 people have used this opportunity, as at January 2020, some are already team or office managers.

27 For example, more compatibility of family and job, support of lifelong learning, or the improved, age-appropriate use of employees

28 The high short-term costs will be amortised in the long term. Whereby, the amortization occurs through less absenteeism and more stable performance from the continually aging workforce.

29 Active costs are prevented by the reduction of early turnover and internal resignations, and performance potential used profitably by better cooperation from supervisory employees.

30 Leadership and leadership culture are not the subject of this study.

31 A change of perspective is necessary regarding the factor personnel. The times in which personnel were seen as a cost factor, must be a thing of the past.

32 A stronger target group orientation also means incorporating groups into the personnel marketing which have possibly been neglected in the past, for example, migrants.

33 Thus, young people could not only be given the opportunity to get information about career options from an online platform, they could also be interactively directed to a job that could interest them, by answering questions.

34 There is not a total view about all management and authorities, unfortunately, till this day. In this respect this short excursion also raises no claim to completeness -without guarantee-.

35 There come about 187,000 soldiers who are not grasped as members of the management, but are subordinate to the ministry of defence, and just 80,000 members of the technical charitable organisation who are subordinate to him. Besides there is still the indirect federal management. Moreover, the employees belong with bodies, institutions and endowments of the public right under federal supervision and the employees of the Central Bank.

36 Extract from the magazine "Personalwirtschaft" of the 4/30/2019 / news, Recruiting forecast, Original text in german language.

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Human Resource Management in local government. The administrative districts from Lower Saxony in Germany
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