OD Teams Must Take Full Control of the AI Skills Development Training Initiatives

AI talks are dominating everywhere. It’s impossible to think of a workplace where conversations don’t lead to debates on AI and automation-led transformation. If these conversations aren’t happening in your organization, you should seriously look into the situation immediately. The FOMO on AI could lead your organization into an eternal oblivion.

To meet the modern demands of organization growth and sustainability, you could consider organizational development and drive a culture shift to encourage new ideas that makes you an AI-powered entity.

Let’s understand the expanding role of Organizational Development teams in AI Skills Development Training initiatives in the era of generative AI.

Taking a Strategic Approach to AI Skills Development and Training

AI is transforming many things for businesses, including how the OD teams set up the culture of embracing AI and automation within their existing procedures. AI operating models are key to enterprise transformation for faster pace of innovation, agility, workforce productivity, revenue generation, and customer success. Rather than building a top-down approach to adopt AI and inviting skilled workers, organizations could restructure their existing operating models by bolting AI innovations on the new kind of job functions and roles.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts 97 million new job roles would be created by 2025 based on the human-machine partnerships. In all this excitement, the modern Organizational Development (OD) teams have a fleeting challenge staring at them. According to IBM, AI has reached an inflection point in the modern workplace where executives think 40% of their workforce would require immediate reskilling in the next 3 years due to the introduction of AI and automation platforms. As new types of Artificial Intelligence techniques make their entry into the HR Technology realm, organizations are expected to rejig their job structures and people management processes to accommodate the new ideas and frameworks. Generative AI, in particular, would have the maximum impact on the current workforce. Business leaders are opting for strategic initiatives to augment their existing organizational culture to build new work models that reward AI skills.

Clearly, there is an urgent need to upskill the existing workforce in the various AI capabilities required at the workplace, and explore new avenues of AI-led employee skills development to sustain growth and credibility in the job market. But, who is going to take the ownership of AI skills development training initiatives in the organization? Is it the employees themselves who must chart out a training initiative and seek opportunities within or outside the organization to move ahead in their careers? Or, should it be the employer?

In a recent survey of 3000+ professionals (published by Visier), 57% of respondents have expectations from their employers when it come to AI-focused skills development and training. If ignored, employees develop resentment toward the employer, thinking that the employer is disinterested in helping their employees grow in the career within the organization. Left without any option to approach the employer for skills development, Gen Z  employees turn to social media platforms such as YouTube, LinkedIn and even TikTok, for informal skills development and training in AI courses.

Read More: Importance of Employee Training Program during Crisis

With hiring demands for AI talent at a peak despite volatile market conditions, employees could also sign up for formal certifications or switch jobs where the new organization supports skills development and AI coaching. The cost of professional full-time classroom and online AI courses could range anywhere between $3000 USD to $80,0000 USD. This kind of tuition fee could upset the financial health of an employee if employers don’t offer to support in career growth.

Who should take the ownership of reskilling the workforce in AI and machine learning?

Building an AI-powered organization is the top-most priority for most business leaders. However, adopting new technology is not as big a challenge as finding skilled workers and fitting them into the culture.

Organizations can successfully embrace the AI culture if they are ready to invest in AI education and forge AI skills development initiatives as a permanent part of the growth mindset. Every level in an organization would see an AI impact. The lack of skills is not restricted to any particular hierarchy within the organization. Even  top management could be feeling that their lack of skills in AI field affects the whole organization. According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Report, 86% of executives believed they have to reinvent their organizations’ ability to learn in the AI era. 54% of executives said they don’t have the skills necessary for the future. IBM’s report mentions AI’s impact on the various employee groups. Entry-level professionals are most impacted. 77% of executives say entry-level job titles are already seeing the effects of generative AI in 2023, and this would only intensify int he next few years. Only 22% of respondents feel AI would impact senior management roles in the coming years. Nonetheless, employers must increase investments in AI skills development as much as they do to adopt AI platforms and other technologies to digitize business operations. Skilled people who can work with AI are critical to business transformation.

But, what if you don’t have enough trained people with AI skills? Who is going to reskill or upskill them?

This is a daring question to ask to any business leader. With budgets slashed out to manage business health, finding new rooms to set up AI skills training centers within the organization is truly a challenge. Hearing the voice of your employees could help you take a decision quickly. 63% of employees say it’s the complete responsibility of the employer to reskill them with AI. 86% of employees feel their employer should take some responsibility in the reskilling program.

What it takes to upskill with AI?

Well, nobody is really sure about the distinctive effects of AI on the future of workplace and organizational culture. Optimism and fear equally influence the sentiments at the workplace. The only sensible thing to prepare for the future with AI is to master the skills and take ownership of building an AI-centric culture through skills training. However, before setting up an AI skills development and training roadmap for your employees, please remember that AI can fix many things, but not bad systems and the processes that run on these systems.

Source: Three steps to advance AI skills in your organization [IBM Blog]
Source: Three steps to advance AI skills in your organization [IBM Blog]
To become the enterprise of tomorrow, employers must rely on the skills of OD experts and channelize their resources toward building an organization that continuously innovates with AI in a collaborative ecosystem where human-machine-human can become a part of an empowered working class.

Here are the seven things that OD teams could do to supercharge their AI workforce with seamless training and development initiatives:

  1. Organize your “skills inventory” and determine the skills you want to add to your organization
  2. Assess and develop the AI ML skills gap analysis using learning-needs quadrant
  3. Cultivate change through continuous experimentation
  4. Empower middle-managers to take on the roles of AI supervisors and coaches for cross-functional teams
  5. Create new career paths and mobility opportunities for new job roles and functions
  6. Compensate reskilled workers with growth opportunities
  7. Shift workplace performance metrics from policy enforcement to value-driven efforts

86% of organizations are taking concrete steps to instill an OD roadmap that fosters lifelong learning and upskilling for their employees. OD practitioners would play an important role in introducing new HR business models that allows managers to brace for change at all levels. Powered by COE and continuous improvement, HR teams can create a self-reliant, perennial stream of AI skilled professionals who can emerge as the next-gen leaders in the future.

So, what are your OD goals in the generative AI era, and how do you upskill your workforce?

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]