• Managing people

Is Your Workforce Reinvention Ready?

Gallup and PWC stress the importance of preparing employees for the AI era


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Over half of employees are actively or passively job seeking, according to Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace report. In this unhelpful context, how do senior managers find a way to reskill and reinvent their workforce to meet an AI enabled future?

PwC’s latest Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey elaborates on this concern, “Business leaders everywhere are prioritizing transformation, but what if your most skilled people are more reinvention ready than your company culture is? And what if your employees say they are even more likely to quit now than they were last year—back when everyone thought the ‘great resignation’ was at its peak?”

The PWC Survey highlights these significant findings:

Transform or die:  39% of CEOs and 49% of gen Z workers say their company won’t survive another decade without change.

Employees are restless: 26% of all workers, 35% of gen Z and 31% of millennials plan to change jobs this year. 

Financial hardships increase: 14% of all employees struggle to pay monthly bills, and another 42% have nothing left after paying expenses. 

Skills inequity on the rise: 53% of jobs require specialist training, up from 49% last year, which could further income inequality.

Workers aren’t afraid of AI: Despite the prospect of AI-fueled job losses, respondents cite the positive impacts of AI more often than the negative ones.

In an environment where skills gaps appear to be widening, employees are struggling financially, and employee engagement (at 23% according to Gallup) is too low, managers need to react. To address the multiple issues they face business leaders need the support and energy of all their people. As Gallup CEO Jon Clifton says, introducing his survey: "What can leaders do today to potentially save the world? Gallup has found one clear answer: Change the way your people are managed."

To understand how to change the way they manage leaders should first learn what their employees want and what is holding them back. The PWC Survey then suggests four actions that CEOs and other senior executives should prioritize to make their organizations reinvention ready:

1. Engage and inspire your people—especially those lagging behind

The Survey found that most workers lack clarity on how their job requirements may change. Without this clarity they are unlikely to be adequately prepared to acquire the new skills necessary to remain relevant and effective.

Leaders need to ask themselves: Do we have the skills necessary to transform? Is there a growing divide between those who have and those who lack specialist skills that needs to be addressed? And are we creating an inclusive and inspiring vision?

2. Make your culture a catalyst for change

An open, trusting, and positive organizational culture can empower people to be the company’s best source of energy, ideas, and innovation.

Sadly, the Survey found that many companies discourage people from experimenting, debating ideas, or disagreeing with the status quo—with only a third of respondents saying their manager tolerates small-scale failures or encourages dissent and debate—critical actions for innovation and employee engagement, not to mention corporate reinvention.

3. Understand how the cost-of-living crisis is sapping your people

Helping employees address their financial stress will benefit workers, while also giving organizations the human energy and attention they need to thrive. Leaders should ask themselves: Do our compensation and talent strategies support one another? Are we addressing employees’ financial wellness at work and is there more we can do assist people managing their finances?

4. Nurture employee interest in AI

The survey found that the majority of employees had a positive outlook as far as the impact of AI on their career, believing it will increase productivity, bring opportunities to learn new skills, or create job opportunities. Leaders should build on this, asking themselves: Do we have a credible ‘future of work’ narrative? Are we empowering our people to influence our AI plans?

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