No longer mere ‘infatuation’: Generative AI interest now shapes talent strategy, employers say

Many AI-savvy companies are moving past the Generative AI infatuation stage and beginning to make serious changes to turn workplace adoption into a reality, according to an April 29 report from Deloitte’s AI Institute. 

The report, based on a survey of nearly 2,000 director to C-suite leaders who are directly involved in piloting or implementing AI at their organizations, found that three-quarters of leaders said they’re looking to change their talent strategies in the next two years due to generative AI, particularly with a focus on work processes and upskilling or reskilling employees.

“As we move from possibilities to practicalities in enterprise Generative AI adoption, scaling up and skilling up go hand in hand,” Deborshi Dutt, artificial intelligence strategic growth offering lead and principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, said in a statement.

“Organizations are hiring new talent and training their workforce, with both technical and human-centered skills remaining valuable to successful deployment,” Dutt said. “To help stay competitive in an ever-evolving market, it is crucial for leaders to foster trust and remain focused on AI fluency when evolving their workforce to meet this moment of transformation.”

Only 37% of respondents said their organizations were slightly or not at all prepared to address talent concerns related to generative AI adoption. In addition, 39% said they plan to increase head count during the next 12 months due to generative AI initiatives.

Leaders pointed to efficiency and productivity as the most anticipated benefits of generative AI adoption, and although many are reporting benefits, most aren’t realizing the full extent so far. 

At the same time, lack of trust continues to be a top barrier to large-scale adoption. Although most leaders reported their organization’s trust in all forms of AI has increased since 2022, only 36% said they measure worker trust and engagement as part of their talent strategy. Beyond that, fewer than half said they’re focused on processes to build trust in generative AI. 

In a Pearl Meyer report, many company leaders said they’re shifting their organizational structure in response to AI adoption at work. They’re making significant AI talent investments, developing change management strategies and implementing employee communication plans.

Amid the shifting AI landscape, talent leaders said they face uncertainty in 2024 due to AI and work design changes, according to a Mercer report. About 40% of HR pros said they have “AI workflows” on their agenda and plan to prioritize ways to redesign work to incorporate AI and automation.

Although 82% of companies appear to be investing in AI, half aren’t sure about the business impact or implementation, according to an Orgvue report. Leaders cited barriers to AI adoption such as a lack of organizational expertise, employee skepticism and lagging regulations.