Home HOTEL ANNOUNCEMENTS Retain, retrain, transform Is the answer to the skills crisis staring businesses in the face?

Retain, retrain, transform Is the answer to the skills crisis staring businesses in the face?

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Retain, retrain, transform Is the answer to the skills crisis staring businesses in the face?



The workforce will be very different by the end of the decade as the pace of innovation and technological disruption accelerates. To deliver transformation and growth, business leaders must reappraise the skills they need and their approach to retaining and developing their existing workforce, and create a culture of innovation to embrace the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

It is an approach which requires a careful balance. PwC’s Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey reveals a growing paradox whereby organisations intent on recruiting digital skills are at risk of missing out on the huge potential of upskilling their existing workforce who already possess human skills required to fully unlock the productivity that technology can bring.

As technologies such as AI become more powerful and intuitive, the value of skills such as applied judgement, creativity, critical thinking, subject matter expertise and leadership will be in greater demand, to ensure technologies are used effectively to solve business problems and deliver better outcomes. But to realise the potential of a ‘human-led, tech-powered’ approach, many organisations need to instigate a mindset shift and upskill and empower their workforce to embrace the potential of technology.

AI and the need for a transformation mindset

Employees in the UK are considerably more doubtful than global counterparts that AI will improve their productivity or efficiency at work. To encourage employees to seek and deploy AI solutions in the workplace, businesses must first position it as a tool that can support and augment what they do.

Empowering experienced employees, who understand their business and boast critical human skills, by giving them technological know-how and permission to increase their productivity through innovation may present a lifeline for organisations worried they lack the talent to keep pace in a digital world.

The data suggests many employees recognise their business must change, yet companies are discouraging employees from challenging the status quo or risking the small scale failures that are an essential part of innovation.

  • 24% think their business will not be economically viable within 10 years
  • 72% say that their manager doesn’t encourage debate
  • 64% report that their manager doesn’t tolerate small-scale failures

To bring ideas, creativity, and energy into the workplace, employees must feel safe to test, learn, and – sometimes – fail.

Fostering curiosity and openness toward adopting technology with the proven ability to unlock capacity and improve productivity could also help organisations mitigate burnout. Over the past 12 months, over a fifth of employees reported that their workload was frequently unmanageable, primarily due to a lack of resources.

Organisations must think through whether they are creating an inclusive and inspiring vision for the future and an active response to change. Sarah Moore, People and Organisation Leader, PwC UK

AI is here to help us

AI is rapidly breaking new ground and permeating almost every industry and workplace. PwC’s 26th annual CEO survey found 77% of leaders plan to invest in technologies such as AI this year. Yet many employees are apparently oblivious to whether it will impact them.

The survey of 2,003 UK workers found less than half (46%) believe AI will impact their job in any way over the next five years, compared to 68% globally.

Sarah Moore, People and Organisation Leader at PwC UK, says: “The opportunities presented by technology are immense, such as deploying AI solutions to gain efficiencies, unlock productivity and create business opportunities. The businesses that succeed will be the ones who create a culture that embraces and enables transformation. But right now our data suggests there is a two-tier workforce where a significant proportion are unaware of the changes taking place and are therefore ill-equipped to capitalise on them.

“Organisations must think through whether they are creating an inclusive and inspiring vision for the future and an active response to change.”

Pros and cons of AI not registering with majority of workers

  • 19% think AI will increase their productivity or efficiency
  • 14% believe AI could create new job opportunities for them
  • 10% worry AI will replace their role
  • 12% say it will change the nature of their work in a negative way

Creating a human-led, tech-powered organisation

Digital skills are in high demand, but organisations need to cultivate the right balance of human and tech skills. Applying critical thinking and creativity, interpreting complex data sets, making decisions and communicating change are all critical skills in any transformation.

Employees ranked human skills, such as adaptability, critical thinking, and collaboration, as more important to their future careers than technical skills, such as analytical or digital skills. And awareness of the importance of human skills is higher in more skilled roles

Read the full article at PwC (UK)

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