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Navigating New Workforce Challenges: Industry Leader Insights

By February 29, 2024March 13th, 2024Commitment to Community, Learning

When it comes to understanding how changes, technology and even wider issues are affecting today’s workforce, it’s important to understand the impact of trends and parse out real insights vs. hype. Recently, we hosted a roundtable for Fortune 500 business leaders to do just that. Our CEO Michelle Reid-Powell shared data and new ideas from top industry research sources that speaks to big issues surrounding today’s workforce, and our four-person panel provided their thoughts and experience on how they’re helping manage workforce challenges, shaping the future of work within their respective organizations.

We want to thank our panel:

  • Renee Czeryba – Sr. Director, Change Management at Cushman & Wakefield
  • Megan McCampbell – Head of Learning and Development at Astellas
  • Jennifer Purrenhage – Director, Technology at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Mary Pat Zolna – Director, Compliance, Vendor Management, Training, Communication and Change Management at CNA

Here’s what they had to say:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Implementation:

AI is revolutionizing various aspects of business operations, from enhancing productivity to driving personalized learning experiences. Our panelists noted that their companies are using AI in some way—either in pilot programs, for coaching, for learning and development content, to enhance productivity and more. As one panelist highlighted, “We’re implementing AI in our learning and development programs to personalize content for employees based on their learning styles and preferences.”

“We’re implementing AI in our learning and development programs to personalize content for employees based on their learning styles and preferences.”

This approach not only caters to individual needs but also boosts engagement and knowledge retention. However, with great innovation comes great responsibility. Another panelist emphasized, “One of the challenges we’ve faced with AI implementation is ensuring data privacy and security while leveraging employee data to improve learning outcomes.” Striking the right balance between innovation and ethical considerations continues to be a challenge when it comes to AI adoption.

Upskilling and Reskilling Initiatives:

As technology continues to disrupt traditional job roles, upskilling and reskilling have become imperative for workforce readiness. Panelists shared what their companies are doing in this area, such as launching reskilling programs focused on critical thinking and problem-solving skills. “Our upskilling initiatives include technical training boot camps to equip employees with the latest digital skills required in their respective fields,” noted one panelist.

A bootcamp is a prime upskilling approach. This kind of intensive program could provide employees with hands-on experience and knowledge to align their skill sets with their organization’s evolving needs.

Our panelists emphasized the importance of making upskilling and reskilling opportunities accessible to all employees, regardless of their background or tenure within the organization. This inclusivity ensures that individuals at various career stages can participate in learning initiatives tailored to their needs and aspirations. Additionally, they mentioned the need for incorporating feedback mechanisms, allowing organizations to tailor their upskilling programs based on employee input, ensuring relevance and effectiveness.

Leadership and Management Development:

Effective leadership is essential for navigating uncertain terrain and driving organizational success. “One of the things that we’re noticing is there are simple change-related questions our leaders have, like how do I bring my team together amongst conflict? Or how do I manage the team through change?” explained one panelist.

“One of the things that we’re noticing is there are simple change-related questions our leaders have, like how do I bring my team together amongst conflict?”

They discussed the importance of leadership and management development programs to cultivate a culture of forward-thinking leaders. “In our leadership development programs, we emphasize the importance of inclusive behaviors and coaching skills,” shared a panelist. Additionally, adapting to global perspectives emerged as a key focus area in management development, where leaders learn to navigate diverse cultural norms and practices, fostering collaboration and innovation on a global scale.

Human Sustainability and Wellness:

Research and our panelists agree, employee wellness is emerging as a top priority for many organizations. Panelists discussed various initiatives aimed at promoting physical and mental well-being, such as implementing no-meeting Fridays to allowing employees to focus on deep work and recharge.

“Our employees can now get reimbursed for spending a certain amount of money each year to go towards a wellness purchase of their choice,” explained one panelist. “In addition, we have much more generous and human-centered policies around bereavement since the pandemic.”

Similar Workforce Challenges Ahead:

From budget constraints to talent retention, the panelists agreed that their organizations face a myriad of similar workforce challenges. They shed light on their strategies for overcoming these obstacles, such as leveraging online courses and peer-to-peer learning networks to address skill gaps amidst budget constraints.

“Retaining top talent is a constant challenge,” acknowledged one panelist. To tackle this issue, organizations are investing in mentorship programs and career development opportunities to engage and retain high-potential employees.

“Retaining top talent is a constant challenge”

Bright Future Outlook 

Overall, our panel provided a very grounded and upbeat perspective on today’s big workforce challenges, and we are grateful for each of their insights and partnership. It’s exciting to think about the future of work being characterized by innovation and a commitment to employee well-being.

By embracing AI, investing in upskilling and reskilling initiatives, cultivating effective leadership, and prioritizing human sustainability, we’re confident that organizations can navigate the complexities of the modern workplace and drive sustainable growth in the years to come. As the panelists demonstrated, success lies in continuous learning, collaboration, and a shared vision for a brighter future of work.

If you need LearningChange Management and Communications expertise to tackle your workforce’s challenges, CARA has solutions to support you. We can facilitate leadership training, design upskilling and reskilling programs, consult on all areas of human sustainability and of course, help you manage the change. Let’s connect!

Nina Kuhlman

Author Nina Kuhlman

Nina Kuhlman is The CARA Group's Marketing Director. A career advertising, marketing and media professional, Nina has worked in a variety of industries, including B2B professional services and cybersecurity. She is responsible for CARA's brand and demand generation efforts as well as community engagement. Nina writes about marketing, data security, AI and other topics related to Communications, Organizational Change Management and Learning and Development.

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