Are your people future-ready?

Are Your People Future-Ready? The Impact of AI on Upskilling and Reskilling

By Mark Probert

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated digital transformation worldwide as organisations adapted to an overnight change. And people showed their adaptability in coping with this shift. But Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents a more progressive and permanent change that demands that people are properly prepared for a new way of working. Now is the time to start this upskilling and reskilling journey.

According to The World Economic forum, approximately 30% of all tasks are currently done by machines. By 2025, it’s believed that the balance will shift to 50% machines and 50% humans. But that’s not the whole picture. The technological revolution will create more jobs than it destroys.

This means that a focus on upskilling and reskilling is more important than ever to equip workers with the knowledge and skills to prepare for future jobs and to remove the fear of AI. For businesses, upskilling enables them to build a future-ready workforce. For individuals, it’s a way to keep their skills relevant and stay future-ready themselves. Here’s my advice on how you can upskill and reskill your people to equip them for the future of work.

1. Upskill Leadership

Upskilling and reskilling is definitely on the radar of leaders around the world. It is the topic that has the highest level of leader engagement according to The Worldcom Confidence Index which monitors what over 54,000 CEOs are saying. But attention to a topic doesn’t necessarily mean that leaders have the skills to capitalise on the opportunities that AI provides.

Leadership roles will change significantly as more tasks become automated. This means the first people to upskill and reskills should be the leadership. They will need training on how to harness AI positively within their organisation and develop a plan for ensuring they have the people with the skills to take advantage of what AI offers their organisation.

Leaders will also need to show how embracing AI delivers against the organisation’s purpose. And how it enables their people to have more fulfilling jobs.

2. Identify Where Your People Need Support

Upskilling leadership is an important first step. But you also need to assess what the upskilling and reskilling journey looks like for every employee. To do this you will need a performance management tool that will help you identify individual strengths as well as gaps in knowledge to be filled.

Capturing this data is only one part of the challenge. You will also need to capture how people feel about the changes ahead. Some may be excited and some fearful. You need to understand the mix and depth of feeling. This means having a structured way of gathering the information anonymously so you can be sure you are getting an ‘unvarnished’ picture.

This will allow you to see the most common concerns and address them so people fully embrace your plan for the future.

3. Develop a Plan to Make Your People Future-Ready

Now you have a clear sense of the skills and the capabilities of your people, as well as where they think they need support, you can create a roadmap for the journey ahead. But remember this isn’t a single journey. It’s a different journey for every employee. So you’ll need to share your strategy for change and your plan for making the change. And you’ll need a systematic approach to ensure every person reaches their destination.

According to Deloitte research, only 20% of leaders believe their organisation has the right skills needed to succeed in an AI-enabled world, and 31% aren’t sure what those skills will be. So there is a lot to think about to ensure that your people are ready for the future. I hope this advice helps you feel more confident in assessing where you are right now, where you want to be, and how to get there.

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