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Gen AI and the drive to skills-based work

There are two topics dominating my Inbox right now – Gen AI and the drive to skills-based work. They combine together in a way that has massive implications for HR.

The thread joining them is the focus on the task, rather than the role. It changes the order of things. Rather than identifying whose job it is, it is more productive to explore:

1. What is it that needs to be done – the task, project or outcome?
2. What technology and skills will help with that?
3. Who has those skills?

This is a reversal of how organisations have been built. Let’s look at how.

The principle driving the first industrial revolution was that effectiveness meant turning work into a process. This involved breaking it into component parts; discrete activities that someone could learn, speed up, maintain a set standard, and then automate. So, the principle here is linearity – work as a process.

Many of our traditional HR activities reflect this – job design, work flow, organisation structure, ‘line’ management.

This fundamental work culture is deeply embedded, but Gen AI throws everything into the air. Linearity and structure needs to be transformed into innovation and collaboration.

How are leaders and workers reacting to this prospect?

Accenture‘s recent research ‘Work, workforce, workers – Reinvented in the age of generative AI’ reveals many mixed perceptions, including:

58% of workers say: ‘Gen AI is increasing my job insecurity’   
29% of CxOs say: ‘Job displacement is a concern for our people’

94% of workers say: ‘I am confident I can learn the skills needed to leverage Gen AI in my role’  
32% of CxOs say: ‘Lack of worker skills is going to hold us back’.

The need to promote human engagement, productivity and innovation is clear, and trust in the organisation is core to that.

However, the Edelman Trust Barometer 2024 reveals that ‘Rapid innovation offers the promise of a new era of prosperity, but instead risks exacerbating trust issues.’

How well positioned is your HR function to lead this?

Contact us to explore how you can strengthen and align your HR team to tackle 2024’s challenges and opportunities.

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