AI is presenting amazing new opportunities for organizations. But it also adds new layers of complication to planning, managing, and engaging workforces. Eric Shepherd suggests employee engagement centers can be the answer.
For organizations to stay competitive and relevant in the 4th industrial revolution, they will have to automate to catch up and get ahead. In the age of advanced analytics, data analysis, robotic process automation, IoT, and other technological advancements, AI (artificial intelligence) has now become a must-have tool. Leadership is critical to make the most of this opportunity to maximize its full potential. To achieve this, in-house capability building, and reskilling programs are the best ways to prepare the workforce.
There are of course real obstacles to adopting AI. Not the least of these are the changes to the organization’s thought process and work culture. Leaders, managers, sales teams, manufacturing teams and more all have to think in new ways. Instead the new watch words are interdisciplinary, data exploration, analytics and agile development if we want to deploy AI.
In the long run, organizations must transform to be successful. History shows us that this cannot be achieved with ad-hoc solutions. Hiring capable employees will give the newly formed AI practice a necessary boost. But for organizations to keep up, AI capabilities must be built across all practices encompassing all employees. And this is where training existing employees come in. Third-party training courses and knowledge bases may deliver an overview of the subject, but they cannot provide organization-specific learning experiences that allow for rapid scaling, lasting cultural changes, cross-functional collaboration, and agile development.
In-house training is one of the most powerful tools an organization can use to encourage this change. It enables you to build on repeatable, cohesive practices to allow employees to dive deep into the subject matter, learn from others, and achieve the organization’s objectives. Some organizations have incubated new styles of training centers to provide learning environments as part of their adoption strategies. We can think of these new training centers as ‘AI Employee Engagement Centers’ – an environment designed to provide forums for discussion, collaboration, learning, and training. The advantage of this approach is that it can be baked into the organization’s structure, work culture, and needs. Such training centers might soon become one of the core elements of an organization-wide AI transformation.
One of the primary responsibilities of these engagement centers is to bring AI to scale as rapidly as possible. This requires engaging and reskilling employees who are impacted by the transformation. As AI becomes widely accepted, a critical challenge will be to provide job security for employees whose tasks will be automated.
For an AI deployment to be successful, three critical building blocks must be developed. An AI Engagement Center can educate employees regarding AI and create the means to support these building blocks.
All training and reskilling efforts must align with a shared vision, common objectives, protocol, and language. This enables everyone to be in sync when it comes to the core elements. It also helps everyone understand each other’s roles and responsibilities and utilize the same methodology while looking for and implementing a solution.
This alignment across the organization paves the path for a successful AI deployment. This process also facilitates retrospectives from previous AI deployments and curating this knowledge for the organization. This cross-fertilization of ideas and alignment gives leaders more information on the business, talent, and training needs, which enables them to deploy the right people into the correct positions.