Jun 03, 2024

Retooling for the future: AI’s role in reshaping tomorrow’s workforce

Credera Team

Credera Team

Retooling for the future: AI’s role in reshaping tomorrow’s workforce

Adapted from a Technology Tangents podcast, with assistance from generative AI

AI is proving itself a powerhouse in pushing boundaries, enabling new business models, and transforming operations. As businesses move toward AI-integrated systems, one crucial question will shape the transition journey: Who is responsible for successfully leveraging AI—an organization, or an organization’s employees?

The answer lies in a combination of strategies. Business leaders will need to inspire a culture of lifelong learning, and employees should continuously strive to develop relevant skills aligned with emerging technologies.

Here we’ll share why it’s imperative to take this balanced approach and how it will allow organizations to fully harness the transformative potential of AI while positioning their workforces for the impending AI revolution.

The employee’s responsibility: Adapting to AI in the workplace

As part of the AI-driven transformation, millions of workers will need to completely reskill in the coming decades, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Businesses must ensure their competitiveness by investing in training programs to facilitate successful upskilling or retooling to ensure that employees are equipped to thrive.

Retooling is the process of adapting, restructuring, or revising—it's more than merely improving skills. The way it unfolds depends on the specific roles of the workers involved. The differences between retraining a developer, a financial analyst, or a restaurant host are significant, so it's important to customize retraining efforts for different sectors.

The average half-life of skills across various industries is now less than five years, and in some tech fields, it's even shorter. Those in the tech industry may need to undergo a complete retooling process to keep up with the rapidly evolving technologies. The pace of change in the tech industry, from mainframe to cloud technologies, has been accelerating, requiring constant learning and adaptation. For example, technology consultants need to stay updated with the latest developments from companies like Google and Amazon, as well as data bricks, programming languages, and other tools to remain relevant in their field.

The organization's responsibility: Investing in training & retention

Marking a shift in societal expectations from the past, companies are now seen as having a social obligation to ensure the relevance of their employees. But while organizations should provide training and resources, employees will need to actively engage for those measures to be effective.

A study by BCG suggested that companies are investing as much as 1.5% of their total budgets in upskilling their workforce. This is a significant investment in retraining employees with new tools. The study also found that 68% of workers are aware of upcoming disruptions in their fields and are willing to reskill to remain competitive.

The question is, how do companies deal with the 32% of employees who are resistant to change or unable to adapt, especially in industries such as manufacturing or technology? Do they leave the company? Do they remain stagnant? Do they transition to different roles? Because not every company has a visionary like Steve Jobs, who can completely reinvent the company, it's crucial for them to retain employees with valuable ideas by empowering them to take ownership of innovation.

Companies and employees who embrace these changes will likely succeed, while those who resist will likely face challenges.

(To learn more about effective change management strategies, check out Credera’s whitepaper 5 Myths of Organizational Change & How to Overcome Them.)

The bottom line

As we navigate disruptive technologies like AI, it is crucial to have an integrated strategy that focuses on both supporting employees and seizing new business opportunities.

The AI revolution is not a distant future scenario; it is happening now. Organizations must effectively retool their workforce, adopt AI where possible, and leverage new opportunities to create a future where humans and machines can work together harmoniously, turning AI’s potential into our shared reality.

Schedule a call with our specialists to learn more about how to make AI work for your organization, or check out more Technology Tangents podcasts to learn about the technologies of today and how business leaders can navigate their implications for tomorrow.

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