Article: Navigating the GenAI Era: Enabling organisational transformation with skill-focussed strategies


Navigating the GenAI Era: Enabling organisational transformation with skill-focussed strategies

In our recent webcast with Coursera, we explored how adaptation to disruption caused by GenAI necessitates skill-centric strategies for organisational transformation.
Navigating the GenAI Era: Enabling organisational transformation with skill-focussed strategies

We are at the cusp of a revolutionary era with the advent of AI, poised to reshape industries and redefine productivity. According to a report by McKinsey, Generative AI (GenAI) holds the potential to contribute between $2.6 to $4.4 trillion in productivity value across various sectors. This could enhance the overall impact of AI by 15 to 40%, unlocking 35-70% productivity gains and driving transformative change.

In light of this significant transformation, it is crucial to recognise the pivotal role of skills. Many leaders are now prioritising a shift towards a skills-based organisational model, integrating skills into talent processes to foster a more adaptable and responsive workforce.

Our recent webinar, hosted in collaboration with Coursera for Business, aimed to explore more on how organisations can develop this comprehensive framework to address urgent skilling use cases across different domains. The discussion was led by Bibin Shivas, Director of Customer Success at Coursera, who also set the context with an extensively researched presentation. It was followed by insights shared by Ayaskant Sarangi, Chief Human Resources Officer at Mphasis Ltd and Nerissa Berba, Chief People Officer at Security Bank Corporation

Low-skilled jobs are at risk of automation

A study from Bloomberg, along with insights from Oxford, highlights the looming threat of automation to low-skilled jobs. Contrary to past beliefs, generative AI is now reshaping the workforce, with roles previously considered secure now at risk. This shift affects workers across educational levels, with those holding some college or bachelor's degrees facing the highest vulnerability.

By 2027, nearly a quarter of all jobs globally are expected to undergo significant transformations due to AI. Sectors such as education and workplace training are particularly susceptible. CFOs are eyeing substantial productivity gains from AI adoption, driving a push for reskilling and upskilling initiatives.

Industries like sales, marketing, R&D, software engineering, and customer service are already experiencing notable shifts. Platforms like Coursera, with over 145 million learners and partnerships with 325 educational institutions worldwide, are crucially facilitating lifelong learning and skill development.

Initiatives like the GenAI Academy aim to equip workers with the necessary skills for both current and future roles. As the world adapts to the transformative impact of AI, fostering a culture of continuous learning will be essential for individual and industry resilience.

AI and Automation as drivers for skills-centric workforce development

Business leaders view emerging technologies like AI and automation as strategic imperatives, recognising their efficiency and ability to enhance agility and competitiveness. 

While over 50% of jobs will be impacted by AI, this doesn’t necessarily mean displacement. Instead, repetitive tasks and those requiring basic ideation or content creation will be taken over by AI, creating more opportunities for value-added work.

Ayaskant emphasised the necessity of embracing AI, stating that there is no alternative strategy. He highlighted the importance of repurposing and creating more value, exemplified by how banks have transitioned from traditional teller roles to customer support executives who leverage their deep customer knowledge.

Reskilling in financial services: Communicating urgency and clear pathways

Nerissa shared that firstly, it is essential to understand the evolving landscape influenced by GenAI. From this understanding, organisations can identify skill gaps emerging from new roles and functions affected by GenAI. 

Transparent communication about these changes is crucial, emphasising the importance of reskilling and the organisation's commitment to employee development. Introducing AI tools to employees and demonstrating how these tools can add value and enhance efficiency in their work is vital. Tailoring these initiatives to individual employees' needs will support their development and contribute to the organisation's overall success. 

Bridging the AI talent gap in India’s IT

Ayaskant reflected that the fundamental aspect of effectively managing workforce development lies in comprehensively understanding the organisation's strategic objectives and the skills required to achieve them. This entails identifying key areas of focus, such as cloud computing, data analytics, and other emerging technologies, that are pivotal for driving the organisation forward.

Furthermore, it is essential to establish a robust repository documenting the skills and competencies of employees across various roles and functions within the organisation. While this task may be labour-intensive, its significance cannot be overstated. 

This repository serves as a centralised source of information, enabling HR professionals and organisational leaders to identify existing skills, pinpoint potential skill gaps, and strategically align talent development initiatives with the organisation's overarching goals. 

By maintaining an up-to-date record of employee skills, organisations can proactively address workforce challenges, foster continuous learning and development, and ultimately drive sustainable growth and success.

Designing effective learning pathways for AI and leadership

Bibin shared that in his experience working with diverse clients globally, it has been observed that organisations vary significantly in their approaches to learning and skill development, often reflecting their industry and strategic priorities.

At one end of the spectrum, some organisations embrace an open learning culture, empowering learners to chart their learning paths autonomously. Conversely, some prefer a guided training approach, where organisations proactively define the future skills needed and provide structured training accordingly.

On the other end of the spectrum, certain companies opt for a role-based skilling approach, particularly in fields like AI and data science. This approach tends to be more prescriptive, focusing on equipping employees with specific skills tailored to their roles. Each approach has its merits and is influenced by the organisation's objectives, industry dynamics, and desired outcomes.

Roles in facilitating skill development and GenAI Transformation

At the executive level, individuals are expected to embody a visionary role, shaping and defining the organisational purpose. They are essentially the architects of change, responsible for designing the organisational system and driving initiatives to reimagine business models, processes, and resource allocation. Additionally, executives play a crucial role in championing a culture of innovation and fostering a supportive environment conducive to skill development.

Executives serve as role models, influencing others through their actions and behaviours. While certain tasks can be automated by AI, the human element remains irreplaceable. Attributes such as empathy and the ability to connect with people are inherent qualities that machines cannot replicate. Therefore, nurturing these interpersonal skills is imperative in leadership roles.

Navigating the AI Revolution

In the face of AI and automation reshaping industries, prioritising skill development is paramount. It requires proactive adaptation to emerging skill gaps influenced by GenAI, transparent communication about the importance of reskilling, and tailored initiatives to meet individual needs while demonstrating the value of AI tools. 

Aligning talent development with organisational objectives and maintaining a repository of employee skills are essential for strategic growth. Embracing diverse learning approaches, from autonomous cultures to role-based skilling, ensures readiness for the future. 

At the helm, executives must lead the charge as visionaries, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning to navigate the GenAI wave successfully. By embracing these principles, businesses can unlock new opportunities, ensure resilience, and thrive in an AI-driven future.

To learn more about navigating the GenAI era in the workforce, you can watch the full discussion here.


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Topics: Skilling, HR Technology, Learning Technology, Learning & Development

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