December 6, 2023 By Ian Bird 4 min read

As the adoption of AI and other technologies continues to expand, it will transform how we perform work with the potential to disrupt 83 million jobs globally and create 69 million new roles by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. Like other groundbreaking technologies before it, the evolution of AI will create opportunities for new industries, new jobs and new approaches to existing ones. To prepare their people and businesses, organizations must ensure their employees are equipped with the skills for tomorrow without disrupting today’s business.

The road ahead

Employers are facing two critical HR challenges at the same time: attracting and retaining the right talent and addressing the widening skills gap. It can feel like a race against time to hire people with the right skills for today’s jobs, and ensure that they, as well as existing employees are developing the critical future skills needed as generative AI and automation is applied to more and more areas of work.

Executives are well aware of the challenge ahead, with a recent IBM Institute for Business Value study finding 4 in 5 surveyed executives believing generative AI will change employee roles and skills. This will impact employees at all levels. While entry-level employees will feel these changes earlier as transactional activities are automated, executives and senior-management employees are not exempt. Therefore, HR leaders must be proactive in helping employees update existing skills, adapt to changing work and cultivate new skills by:

  • Providing every employee with the right AI acumen, knowledge and tools to support their work, and be transparent about the value AI and automation can bring.
  • Redesigning training and talent development programs to make learning more relevant, personalized and embedded into how work gets done
  • Building the right mix of technical and soft skills to support higher level work and help close the skills gap
Learn how CHROs embrace generative AI in their organizations

Finding the right tools

HR leaders need to identify and provide employees with the skills and tools they need to perform tasks and outline how they will work with AI tools. As such, HR needs to not only be at the core of how the organization redesigns processes, but how they reskill and upskill employees and evolve their new AI enabled culture.

How generative AI can supercharge training

Compounding the challenges organizations face traditional training methods may not be quite up to the task at hand. This creates a huge opportunity for HR to rethink the training methodologies and approaches used to suit today’s rapidly changing landscape.

Ironically, the thing that is disrupting the workplace and driving the need for reskilling is the very thing that can help employees develop the skills required for higher value work. The future of reskilling, training and talent development uses AI to provide employees with less prescriptive courses by taking their experience, role and existing skills into account to offer a truly personalized and relevant learning pathway unique to them along with greater learning in the flow of their work. It can even help simplify their ability to get the answers needed so they can learn while solving real-world problems.

Generative AI can also help HR leaders crack the code on personalized learning at scale, an approach that was previously impossible using existing tools. AI can use greater data insights to offer a tailored development program.  Employees would no longer need to take generic ‘one size fits all’ training, they will access personalized programs, with each module adapting to the individual’s needs.

What skills will matter in this new world

To truly harness the power of AI, you need more than the right tools. You must understand the skills you have within your organization, identify and prioritize the skills you need for the future and create opportunities for employees to develop them. Proficiency in data and digital literacy are vital for employees to understand as they interact with AI tools. They will need to understand that generative AI is not a source of truth, but rather uses data to provide potential answers and solutions that employees must then apply to their existing experience, knowledge and critical thinking skills to make the best decision.

While AI acumen and technical skills will continue to be important, the softer skills of human employees will play a crucial role in creating business value and successfully integrating AI into the workplace. Creativity and collaboration will become increasingly valuable skills as people navigate changes. As AI and automation tools perform routine tasks, people will need to lean on their creativity to work with both human and AI colleagues. Simultaneously, the rise of new technologies, processes and systems will also write and rewrite new rules within organizations. So employees that can remain adaptable and flexible with changing dynamics can thrive.

Preparing your workforce for the new AI era requires you to truly invest in your employees and their development. HR leaders must therefore understand employee needs, experiences and goals to create programs that will allow them to grow. This starts with assessing and prioritizing employees’ technical and non-technical skills and providing resources for employees to reskill, practice and refine.

A future built by AI

The oncoming massive workforce and skills transformation is rapidly approaching and organizations should proactively prepare their business and employees for the future of work. Equipped with the right strategy, tools and new ways of working using AI and automation, HR professionals have the ability to lead organizations into the future and prepare for whatever may come.

Watch the webinar on how to modernize your workforce with genAI skills Explore how IBM helps clients in their talent transformation journey
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