What is meant is a dynamic working environment in which employees are given more responsibility and make independent decisions in teams more frequently and more quickly.
But how widespread is agile working in Germany's companies anyway? The online job platform StepStone investigated this question in a study of 10,000 specialists and managers.
The result: Not even ten percent of companies work in an agile manner. And this despite the fact that one in three employees would like to do so and a clear majority is open to agile working methods.
The results of the study show: The more agile the structures, the more innovative and efficient companies perceive themselves to be. A basic prerequisite of such structures is to break down rigid hierarchies in order to give employees more responsibility overall.
61 percent of all professionals surveyed would like to see precisely these flat hierarchies, but according to employees, they are not a reality in two-thirds of companies.
There is a similar result when it comes to the question of the extent to which skilled workers can make decisions independently even without management responsibility: Only just over one in four is given this opportunity.
Employees want to take responsibility
The same applies to the experience of an open error culture. In addition, only 16 percent of employees are encouraged to try out new ideas.
"When a small number of supervisors alone make decisions for the majority of employees, it not only makes a company slow, but it often jeopardizes its success"
says StepStone managing director Sebastian Dettmers.
"Companies can only meet the requirements of digitization if they communicate goals clearly and give their employees the confidence to choose ways and means themselves to achieve the goals. At the same time, it is clear that changing such processes sustainably takes time."
When it comes to agile structures and working methods, managers sometimes have a completely different perception compared to specialists: Only 14 percent of all managers surveyed stated that they leave their employees out of the decision-making process.
The assessment of managers is also different with regard to creating incentives for the development and implementation of new ideas - 71 percent say they actively motivate their employees to try out new ideas. Over 60 percent say they make it clear to their employees that mistakes have a high learning potential.
The results underscore that agile working is not yet fully part of everyday working life in Germany's companies. Managers in particular have a duty to allow more independent work and thus also a culture of error. Only in this way can companies react more dynamically to constant changes in the market.