Skip To Main Content

Leading Through Change: Guiding Your Team through the AI Transformation

Adaptability, openness to new approaches, and empathetic leadership will be pivotal in managing the evolving AI workforce.

Reading Time 


Posted On Feb 16, 2024 


Artificial intelligence is quickly changing the technological landscape of many jobs and will continue to do so—experts agree that several professions will be automated within the next five to ten years. Understandably, the workplace atmosphere is tense, as employers and employees struggle to foresee how this new reality will affect them during the transition to an AI-focused business model. However, where there is change, there is also opportunity.


The age of AI is presenting risks—that’s a given. But is this technology the existential threat that many have feared? While it will certainly call for seismic shifts in the workplace and labor markets, we believe that it will be a force for good—driving increased productivity and economic growth—if integrated correctly. To navigate these changes, managers and leaders must develop new proficiencies in managing AI technology while simultaneously addressing employee anxieties of technological unemployment. First and foremost, business leaders will need to reassure employees that the implementation of AI is going to augment their roles—not replace them.


Adaptability, openness to new approaches, and empathetic leadership will be pivotal in managing the evolving AI workforce. Providing necessary support to employees and effectively painting AI as a positive influence will take a convincing vision, communication, and rapid adoption.


Understanding the Changing AI Workforce


Understanding AI and its effects on the workforce will be vital for organizations and individuals to stay ahead of the curve. As AI technology advances, specific tasks and job functions may become obsolete while new roles start to emerge. According to our 2024 Workforce Trends Report, an equal percentage of employers and employees (34%) believe that AI technology will replace some employee lead roles/responsibilities within the next year. This shift will require organizations and individuals to constantly adapt and reskill to remain relevant in the AI-driven workplace.


While there are challenges associated with implementing AI, such as ethical considerations, costs, and data privacy, it also offers numerous opportunities for increased efficiency, productivity, and innovation. By understanding and addressing these challenges, business leaders can leverage AI to gain a competitive edge in task management.


Leading with Empathy and Emotional Intelligence


Empathy, emotional intelligence, and employee reassurance will be some of the most valuable leadership methods amid the rise of AI technology. For certain, staff in every industry are already thinking about the threat of AI in their role—good leaders will get ahead of that fear. These new changes are causing employees to feel anxious and insecure despite recognizing the potential benefits. According to our 2024 WorkForce Trends survey, 52% of employees aged 35-44 and 23% aged 16-24 believe their company will replace employee lead roles and responsibilities with AI in the next year.


It’s critical then, for leaders to acknowledge and address these concerns to alleviate unnecessary workplace stress and retain top talent. As unemployment fears drive shifts in career paths, business leaders will need to empower their employees to thrive alongside AI advancements. As we move into the age of AI, constant reassurance that this technology is a tool to enhance their capabilities, rather than replace them, will be fundamental for ensuring employees view AI as an asset rather than a threat.


Reskilling and Upskilling the Workforce


As AI technology continues to evolve and automate specific tasks, managers must facilitate a culture around learning. There’s no doubt that workers will need to develop new skills or enhance existing ones to remain relevant in the workforce—and it will fall on leadership to establish a strategic framework that provides opportunities for staff to expand their competencies.


It’s clear that internal mobility will be the name of the game moving forward. More employees are staying with their current employers, but only if given upskilling and career opportunities (73% of surveyed employees). By investing in reskilling and upskilling, employers can help workers take advantage of AI's new opportunities rather than feel at risk of automation. This proactive approach will enable their workers to maintain job security and adapt to new roles in the changing workplace. Empowering workers to stay competitive, boost their employability, and navigate the age of AI with confidence and success will turn out to be a win-win—for business leaders and their teams.


Being Open to New Ways of Working


It’s true that in order to optimize AI technology, businesses will need to foster a learning environment for upskilling their employees. However, they will also need to attract new talent with the necessary skills and expertise. This talent may come from diverse backgrounds and require flexibility in terms of where, and when, new employees will work. To meet these needs, employers will need to think innovatively and offer new, more amenable work arrangements. This includes designing work models that allow for remote work and facilitating in-person interactions as needed.


When surveyed about the alternative rewards or benefits they value in a job offer, 32% of employees prioritized flexible and remote working options. This number is likely to be even higher when considering a more specialized talent pool. So business leaders will need to remain pretty open to shifting needs, at least until the pool of AI-skilled candidates grows.


Leading Change and Building a Future-Ready Workforce


As the leader of an organization, it’s your job to set a vision and motivate and inspire others to achieve it. It’s no different when it comes to AI—developing a clear vision for the future of AI within your company is going to be a crucial part of successfully integrating it. Take the time to develop an in-depth understanding of how AI can transform your industry and create a strategic roadmap that aligns with your vision or organization's goals.


Once you know how AI will fit into your company, it’s time to communicate these changes to your employees. Workers need to understand how AI will enhance their work, improve productivity, and create new opportunities for them to grow. By remaining honest and transparent, leaders will foster buy-in and enthusiasm among their people. Promoting an open environment that encourages questions and open discussion will guide your team into a stronger and more trusting position as you navigate the transition into AI.


Leading through change and building a future-ready workforce in the age of AI requires a combination of clear vision, effective communication, and constant adaptability. By embracing these pillars, organizations can navigate challenges and capitalize on the opportunities presented by AI technology, ensuring they remain in a position of advantage.


Download our infographic to learn more.