By Jens Löhmar
The dynamics of the modern work environment are undergoing a profound change that challenges traditional views on work and career. The concept of work has evolved from static roles and linear careers to a flexible understanding where skills are becoming increasingly crucial. The rise of hybrid work models, groundbreaking technologies, and shifting societal patterns have driven this transformation. Employees are at the center of this rapidly changing context, and organizations are compelled to embrace a new approach to talent management. This article looks ahead at how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are influencing this evolution.
“What is your job?” Chances are that explaining your exact job content has become increasingly difficult. Even more challenging to answer is the question: “How do you perform your job?” The concept of ‘work’ has, for many years, been closely defined by structured functions and linear career paths. However, in the rapidly evolving job market, the essence of work is undergoing a profound transformation. Hybrid work models, new technologies, and shifting societal dynamics are driving this evolution. The accompanying paradigm shift places employees at the center of this changing work environment and compels organizations to embrace a new approach to talent management – an approach that revolves around skills, facilitated by the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Skills take center stage
It is becoming clear that organizations that focus on skills will shape the evolution of work. A traditional approach to talent management, centered around degrees and linear progression, no longer suffices. A recent study by Amazon and Workplace Intelligence found that nearly 80 percent of American workers fear they lack the necessary skills for the jobs of tomorrow, with 58 percent feeling that their skills have not been able to develop further since the pandemic.
To succeed in this dynamic landscape, organizations need to shift their mindset. They must move away from rigid roles and responsibilities and view work as a combination of skills that enable employees to navigate workplace changes. Deloitte emphasizes that organizations prioritizing skills are not only more agile but also more competitive, positioning themselves better to thrive in this new environment.
AI and ML drive skills
The integration of AI and ML technologies is central to the modern workplace. These technologies have the ability to understand and match skills, enabling automation and providing insights. This allows employees with the right skills to be matched to the right job. Forward-thinking companies already recognize the potential of AI and ML in building a skills-focused workforce.
At the core, it is Workday’s Skills Cloud as a foundation. Skills Cloud is not just an inventory of available skills, it is – powered by AI & ML – an ontology that can assess the proximity of skills to each other and supports normalizing to a curated set of more than 120,000 commonly-used enterprise skills. Those skills can be selected by employees as “available skills” or “skills interest,” be attached to “learnings” or temporary “gigs” where people solve problems in interdisciplinary teams. One tool that puts this structured data in action is Workday’s Career Hub, an innovative self-service platform that allows employees to share their skills, receive relevant connections, access curated learning materials, and explore recommended job opportunities. Powered by ML matching capabilities, Career Hub proposes growth paths to enhance employees’ skills and capabilities, promoting career development in an era where the employee experience is of utmost importance.
PwC, an international expert in audit, tax, and consulting services, has adopted Workday’s Skill Cloud. Since the implementation, the percentage of registered skills has increased by 90 percent in one year, including non-technical skills. The registration results in a global dashboard and skills matrix. These tools allow stakeholders to see how well they are applying skills, in addition to expanding PwC’s information on skills and making them better than before.
Despite the immense potential of AI and ML, these technologies must be deployed responsibly. Ethical considerations are essential in this regard. Putting humans at the center ensures that AI and ML enhance human capabilities rather than replace them. Thoughtful policies are necessary to enable the shift to responsible AI use in the corporate world. Collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors in setting standards can harness the potential of AI and ML to drive human progress, create new jobs, and promote economic growth.
To fully capitalize on the opportunities offered by AI and ML, both organizations and individuals must trust these technologies. That’s why, at Workday, we pay great attention to responsible AI. We offer transparency in the development and evaluation of ML products to minimize potential risks. A great example is functionalities around skills as they focus on current and future capabilities only and with it, removing bias from matches and decisions. Our principles prioritize human-centered development, enabling AI and ML to enhance productivity, support informed decision-making, and facilitate creative problem-solving.
The role of CIOs and senior IT leaders has never been more crucial. They steer the deployment and implementation of technology and determine the strategy that allows organizations to navigate uncharted territory. Workday explicitly promotes flexibility, especially in times of economic volatility. With over 10,000 global customers consolidating their HR, finance, and planning operations on our Enterprise Management Cloud Platform, we provide a digital backbone that supports innovation, growth, engagement, security, compliance, and process optimization.
The future of work is gradually taking shape, driven by AI, fueled by innovation, and guided by ethics. At Workday, we are committed to shaping a world where AI and humans collaborate to create better working conditions – a future that is dynamic and propelled by the limitless possibilities of AI and ML technologies. It’s time to embrace this transformation.
Jens Löhmar is CTO of continental Europe at Workday
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, helping customers adapt and thrive in a changing world. Workday applications for financial management, human resources, planning, spend management, and analytics are built with artificial intelligence and machine learning at the core to help organizations around the world embrace the future of work. Workday is used by more than 10,000 organizations around the world and across industries – from medium-sized businesses to more than 50% of the Fortune 500. For more information about Workday, visit workday.com.