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Business, Corporate Strategies

6 Benefits of an AI-enabled Workforce and Why Foundational Tech Skills are the Way to Get There

General Assembly
September 5, 2023
6 Benefits of An AI-Enabled Workforce

Artificial intelligence is reshaping how work gets done. Emerging AI tech offers benefits that forward-thinking businesses should take advantage of. But, leveraging AI requires a skilled workforce. This article explores how foundational skills are critical to building an AI-enabled workforce and the benefits of doing so.

Twelve months ago, prompt engineering wasn’t on anyone’s career path radar. But today, almost every career site has dozens of prompt engineering job postings. 

The above is one example of the many dizzying changes the business landscape has experienced due to the increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) skills. And for organizations looking to gain a competitive edge in their industry, adapting to these changes is one way to forge ahead of the pack. 

But succeeding or failing at adapting depends on the AI skill level of the workforce involved. 

So, it’s not surprising 25% of global workers consider AI skills as among the top three most crucial digital skills today, according to a Salesforce study. And despite the excitement around AI, 66% of U.S.-based senior IT leaders say their employees don’t have the skills to take advantage of the technology. 

Examples such as using an AI-powered predictive analytics model to enhance potato yield by Cropin, an agri-tech company in partnership with PepsiCo, highlight why business leaders are worried about falling behind their competitors. Mastercard’s success with preventing scams using AI-powered insights from its trove of payment data is another example of artificial intelligence in the workplace.

Read on to explore the benefits of transitioning to an AI-enabled workforce. And why foundational tech skills are crucial to achieving this transformation. 

What are Foundational Tech Skills?

Companies are scrambling because of the increased demand for AI skills, the need for more AI talent, and the fear of falling behind. But at the heart of the AI revolution are foundational tech skills. Skills such as:

  • Data science skills
  • Data analytics skills
  • Python programming skills
  • Machine learning skills
  • Software engineering and computer science skills, like front-end web development

Think of these skills as the base for individuals to build more advanced technical skills and be able to adapt, navigate, and contribute to today’s tech-driven work environment. 

Like Jaqueline Elizandro, who became a software developer after 17 years as a supply chain coordinator. Also, foundational tech skills are the principles behind most AI models’ operations.

For example, a basic knowledge of programming languages is helpful in prompt engineering. It’s also much easier to upskill or reskill an employee and move them into an AI analyst role if they understand the fundamentals of data analytics. 

6 Benefits of an AI-Enabled Workforce

So, what are the benefits of artificial intelligence in the workplace? 

1. Increases Employee Efficiency and Engagement and Boosts Morale and Performance

One of the most touted advantages of AI is automating routine and repetitive tasks that consume a large portion of employees’ time. In a recent study of 6,049 workers across five countries by Adobe, 66% of the surveyed workers believe AI helps them get their work done faster. 

But beyond helping employees to get routine work done faster, AI-driven workplace automation can also free up time for employees to focus on higher-value activities that contribute to business growth and customer satisfaction. As 45% of the respondents in the Adobe survey noted, AI reduces or eliminates these tedious tasks. 

But businesses and their bottom lines aren’t the only ones benefiting from AI. Employees are more likely to feel a greater sense of purpose at work by focusing on the more meaningful and exciting aspects of their jobs, leading to an improvement in employee engagement and morale, along with a reduction in attrition. 

Plus, workplaces with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable

2. Enables Data-driven Decision-making and Improved Product Development

Humans have been storing and analyzing data as far back as 18,000 BCE. But over time, our ability to analyze data hasn’t matched our data storage capabilities. 

AI solves that puzzle, enabling humans to handle and process large, complex data sets. It can extract insights, patterns, and trends traditional data analysis methods may not catch. 

But why is any of this even necessary? 

For one, AI-driven insights can help business leaders anticipate shifts in the market and customer behavior — and adjust accordingly. In essence, stay ahead of the curve (and competition).

These insights also uncover unmet customer needs, allowing businesses to adjust course and create products or solutions that drive more revenue and foster customer loyalty.

3. Enhances Customer Experience Leading to More Returning Users

Imagine a library with numerous books that contain all the knowledge you’ve acquired on your customers. Now, picture a librarian who can use that knowledge and provide personalized answers to your customers’ questions. 

That’s AI. 

AI can tailor customer interactions to individual preferences and past interactions using chatbots and similar tools. No matter how complex or obscure the query might be, AI can make it happen.

Beyond personalized conversations, businesses can use AI to evaluate purchase history, browsing patterns, and past interactions, then using these insights to prompt proactive recommendations and solutions that match customer preferences. Think Netflix movie suggestions and Amazon product recommendations. 

Improving the customer experience leads to returning customers. And returning customers lead to customer loyalty. All in all, these create a continuous growth cycle for any business. 

4. Provides Cost Savings that Free Up Funds for Other Critical Operations

The two biggest growth levers for a business are cost savings and differentiation. Aside from being a catalyst for differentiation, the various uses of AI in business enable organizations to take advantage of the cost savings lever. 

For instance, with AI-powered automation in the workplace, organizations can automate repetitive activities previously requiring extensive human resources and employee time. AI systems can handle tasks like routine data entry, invoice processing, and inventory management, reducing human involvement and operational costs.

Businesses can also use AI’s predictive data capabilities to predict demand patterns, manage inventory levels, and reduce storage costs.

5. Fosters Innovation and Competitive Advantage 

One proven way to encourage a culture of innovation within an organization is for businesses to equip their employees with skills that tap into creativity. Artificial intelligence skills fall into that category because they unlock new opportunities for problem-solving, idea generation, and creative thinking.

Armed with AI-enhanced analytical capabilities, employees can uncover patterns and insights that can fuel innovative thinking and encourage exploring novel solutions to business problems.

AI-driven automation in the workplace also means employees don’t have to worry about repetitive tasks, and can instead redirect their focus to brainstorming and experimenting with new ideas. 

But innovation isn’t the most significant advantage with an artificial intelligence skilled workforce. The mind shift needed to learn foundational tech skills and adapt to the new environment creates anti-fragile employees — who can withstand and take advantage of the chaos of a rapidly-evolving business landscape.

6. Enhances Employee Growth and Engagement

76% of employees want to expand their careers, but 74% claim they need more employee training opportunities to reach their potential. 

Businesses investing in foundational tech skill training for their employees avoid such narratives and empower their employees with some of the most in-demand skills from tech training programs. Employees also expand their earning capacity and remain employable in a job market where requisite skills for different roles continue to evolve.

Investing in employee growth isn’t only in the workers’ best interest. Employers also stand to benefit. 

Stats from Deloitte show that businesses with a strong learning culture:

  • Are 92% more likely to develop novel products and processes
  • Are 52% more productive
  • Are 17% more profitable than their peers
  • Have engagement and retention rates 30–50% higher than their peers

It’s a win-win situation.

It’s Time to Put Foundational Tech Skills at The Center of Everything We Do  

The benefits of AI in the workplace are glaring. But as businesses navigate the rapidly evolving tech landscape and the recent economic headwinds, it can be tempting to see layoffs as an easy way out. 

Aside from the downsides of losing experienced employees, recruiting and onboarding new talent is costly. The smarter approach here would be for businesses to invest in upskilling current employees with foundational tech skills. 

However, equipping current employees with foundational tech skills isn’t done overnight. How do businesses find the right programs or facilitators? How do they ensure quality control and curriculum adequacy? That’s where General Assembly comes in. As the leading source for recruiting, training and placing tech talent, we connect businesses and their employees with the foundational tech skills they need to succeed today and tomorrow.

Interested in building your workforce of the future? Contact us to tailor your tech training needs and prepare your organization for the future of work.

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