The Learning Challenges of AI Adoption: Mindset and Culture Can be More Important than Skills

Jun 04, 2024

Get Our Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest expert commentary, analysis, and news on enterprise learning and capability academies delivered straight to your inbox.

Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption is accelerating, but with it comes a unique set of challenges that extend beyond just acquiring new skills. According to a recent report from IBM’s Institute for Business Value (link at the bottom of this post), the strain on employees is beginning to show as organizations push forward with AI implementations. While many focus on the technical aspects of AI, the real hurdles often lie in the mindset and cultural shifts required for successful integration.

In a worldwide survey of 3,000 CEOs from 30 countries and 26 industries, 64% said succeeding with generative AI will depend more on people’s adoption of it than the technology itself. At Nomadic we agree with this perspective, our approach to human-centered AI starts and finishes with the human being, with skills as a helper.

Adoption Starts with a Learning Culture

Embracing AI isn't just about learning to use new tools; it requires a cultural transformation within the organization, promoting openness to new ways of working and continuous learning.

Leaders play a crucial role in fostering this shift. They need to communicate a clear vision of how AI will benefit both the organization and the employees. Transparency about AI will be an enabler rather than a replacer will help alleviate fears and build trust. In the IBM report, most CEOs (81%) said that inspiring their team with a common vision produces better outcomes for AI adoption.

Collaboration across departments and inclusion of diverse perspectives can back-up this leadership vision. When employees from various backgrounds and expertise levels contribute to AI initiatives, they feel accountable for its success and engage with it more actively. This approach fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability, while accelerating the acceptance of AI tools.

Addressing Employee Strain

Perhaps because of a lack of emphasis on developing a shared mindset and a culture that sees AI as an opportunity, it's evident that the rapid pace of AI adoption is leading to significant strain on employees. This is where leaders must step up to ensure that the workforce is not just equipped but also supported throughout the transition. Organizational learning can play a crucial role.

While there is a huge emphasis on upskilling employees to use AI tools, such as training for prompt engineering, there hasn’t been the same attention paid to helping employees develop a shared language to talk about AI and AI transformation. Or on organizations helping their people develop a shared mindset that recognizes the opportunities of AI adoption, but is also honest about the potential negative implications.

Organizations, and particularly leaders who are responsible for preparing their workforce for massive change, need to look at programs and approaches that allow that conversation to take place. They need to invest in programs or platforms that communicate the CEO’s vision for AI but allow employees to challenge that vision and interpret it for their own circumstance, while developing the essential skills for an AI world. But skill development on its own will never be enough.

Conclusion

AI is going to revolutionize the workplace, but successful adoption hinges more on cultural and mindset changes than on technical skills alone. Leaders must prioritize these aspects, ensuring that employees are brought along on the AI transformation journey. By fostering a supportive and inclusive culture, organizations can mitigate the strain on workers and pave the way for successful AI integration.

For more insights on the challenges of AI adoption and Nomadic’s view of a Human-centered approach to AI, check our other articles on the topic:

Want to learn more about Nomadic’s work helping organizations with AI readiness? Get in touch here and we’ll reach out shortly!

Celebrating One Year at Nomadic: Pascale Nau's Journey

Pascale shares her experiences, growth, and what keeps her motivated at Nomadic. From the close-knit, supportive team to the flexibility of remote work, Pascale highlights how Nomadic's unique culture has impacted her both professionally and personally.