Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ll have noticed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere. As a business leader, whatever industry you’re in, you’ve undoubtedly seen – or been affected by – its impact.

How is AI perceived in your organisation?

EY’s recent Work Reimagined Survey reveals that both employers and employees are overwhelmingly positive about AI’s potential to increase productivity and deliver new ways of working. But an interesting paradox emerges. While there’s enthusiasm for AI’s capabilities, only 22% of employers and a mere 17% of employees see AI training as a priority. That’s a problem.

Have you noticed this disparity in your organisation?

Why the AI training disconnect?

Here are a few likely culprits:

  • Fear of the unknown: It’s common to fear what we don’t fully understand. There are genuine concerns that AI will replace jobs rather than enhance them, not to mention a general sense of being ‘left behind’.
  • Lack of knowledge: Your people may not understand whether the implications of AI for their role are positive or negative. They also might not grasp the practical ways it can be used.
  • Not knowing where to begin: Even if you love learning new skills, AI can seem like a vast and overwhelming area. Knowing where to start with training can be a huge barrier.

Why you need to get familiar with AI – now

AI isn’t a fad. AI and machine learning specialist jobs are predicted to explode in growth over the next five years (EY). Just look at the attention ChatGPT alone has been getting – the number of job listings on LinkedIn mentioning ChatGPT as a desired skill increased by 21 times since January 2023 (Forbes).

The message is clear. It’s not that AI will completely replace jobs, but that those who can effectively use AI will have an edge over those who can’t (Forbes). So if you want your business to stay competitive, it’s vital that your people start to understand and harness AI technologies.

The benefits of embracing AI in your organisation

Here’s why you should make sure upskilling in AI is on your company’s agenda:

  • It boosts productivity and efficiency: AI shines at handling routine and repetitive tasks, freeing up your employees for more strategic or creative work.
  • It can help with decision-making: You can use AI to analyse massive datasets, uncovering patterns and insights humans may miss. This enables better, more informed decision-making.
  • It ignites innovation: AI can spark ideas and reveal unexpected solutions. It collaborates with your people as a sounding board, helping them brainstorm and problem-solve.
  • It will empower your employees: AI creates opportunities for skill development and increased career prospects. You’ll increase your employees’ engagement by equipping them with in-demand skills.

Steps you as a business leader can take

Now the question becomes: what can you, as a business leader, do to encourage your employees to embrace AI?

  1. Foster a culture of continuous learning: Position AI training and upskilling as an expected, valued part of professional development. Emphasise the benefits for the individual as well as the company. And lead by example by becoming familiar with AI yourself.
  2. Allay fears by communicating: Openly discuss your employees’ concerns about job displacement or AI’s limitations. Frame AI as a powerful tool in the hands of skilled employees, not a replacement for them.
  3. Start small and tangible: Focus on readily available tools that can be used easily and practically for quick wins. Build confidence by demonstrating how AI can streamline and improve everyday tasks.
  4. Provide training and support: Allocate time for training and invest in accessible resources. Consider workshops, mentoring programmes and subscriptions to learning platforms. Make it easy for your employees to get started.
  5. Reward experimentation and early adopters: Celebrate team members who take the initiative to learn and apply AI. Highlight positive outcomes and case studies.

AI is here to stay and will only become more advanced. Encourage your employees to embrace AI – you’re empowering them to become more efficient, innovative and productive.

Don’t get left behind – prioritise AI adoption in your business today.