How Companies Use Workday AI to Accelerate Upskilling

Our customers are leveraging Workday AI to understand the skills within their workforce—and connect those insights to skills that fuel their business strategies. Learn more from Workday Chief Customer Officer Sheri Rhodes.

As leaders, we know upskilling employees is the answer to preparing our businesses for the future of work, but a question remains: how do we get better at it? Can we get faster and more efficient at upskilling, especially since the skills our organizations need seem to be changing all the time?

The answer is yes, and AI will play an important role. It’s already happening: customers at Workday Rising, our flagship event, shared how leveraging Workday AI across the Workday platform has been instrumental in quickly identifying the skills their businesses need today and into the future. Let’s dig into this.

What Upskilling Looks Like in the Era of AI

The nature of jobs is changing fast, and consequently, so are the skills for those jobs. According to workforce research from LinkedIn, 25% of required skill sets for job roles have changed since 2015, and that’s expected to double by 2027.

So where does AI fit in? Here’s an insightful research finding from OpenAI: approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce could have 10% of their work tasks affected by the introduction of GPTs (generative pretrained transformers), while approximately 19% of workers may see at least 50% of their tasks impacted. 

That’s a remarkable change—but these findings shouldn’t be interpreted as AI replacing humans. Rather, the nature of skills is evolving as AI becomes more broadly applied. As a result, AI isn’t just augmenting skills—it’s also being leveraged to understand what skills are needed for the future.

There’s so much potential for AI to make our lives easier and be a catalyst to get so much more done. For example, generative AI is really good at spotting patterns across data and summarizing them for insights. With Workday People Analytics, our customers are leveraging generative AI to understand their skills gaps: the difference between the skills already within their workforce and the skills needed for a desired business outcome. It’s an example of how augmented analytics empowers our customers to create a strategy on how to develop or source business-critical skills.

There’s a lot more innovation to come, and we’re excited to be on this upskilling journey together with our customers.

A critical component of this progress is Workday Skills Cloud, which uses AI to understand and make recommendations on workers’ skills. Workday Skills Cloud accelerates an organization’s skills strategy, delivering deep skills management functionality built into the core of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and embedded across the platform. This unified skills-based capability enhances Workday applications to help HR leaders optimize their workforce, improve business agility, and elevate employee experiences where workers put their best skills to use while growing their careers. 

Workday deeply understands the skills space. With almost 2,000 customers live on Workday Skills Cloud and a growing partner ecosystem, our skills strategy experience and technology helps you design and deliver winning skills-based people strategies.

AI isn’t just augmenting skills—it’s also being leveraged to understand which skills are needed for the future.

AI’s Essential Role in Aligning Skills With Business Strategy

The accelerated pace of change has made it clear: a strong talent strategy enables a strong business strategy. Workday Skills Cloud is critical in linking the two.

It’s how Caterpillar, a global construction, mining, and engineering equipment manufacturer, was empowered to ensure it had a workforce with the needed skills to achieve business growth objectives, all while navigating a polarizing talent landscape.

Workday Skills Cloud gave Caterpillar visibility into its workers who have the business-critical skills, or have them in their development plans. I’ll share some observations we captured from LaShaun Flowers, vice president of global HR operations, automation, and employee support at Caterpillar: 

“Our investment in Workday Skills Cloud gave us a common language. As an HR professional, I can present myself in a way that makes sense to a leader that I maybe haven’t worked with before. Leaders are able to communicate to HR what their talent and development needs are for their teams using that same common language.” 

In turn, HR is able to share how a talent strategy impacts the organization, Flowers added. 

Flowers said the company is just starting its skills transformation, but knows Workday AI is the catalyst to push the company forward.

“We’re at the beginning part of the journey, but AI is only going to help us get better. It’ll make us more efficient. It’ll make us more effective. It’ll reveal things that we didn’t even know that we needed to be looking for. And I think that will only enhance what it is we’re trying to do in the talent management space.”

The accelerated pace of change has made it clear: a strong talent strategy enables a strong business strategy.

How AI Empowers Workers for Career Growth

When it comes to having the right skills, how are companies faring? Accenture shared insights from its 2023 skilling study at Workday Rising:

  • Skilling is the number one growing business challenge hindering organizational growth over the next 12 months.
  • 95% of company leaders in the survey plan to increase investments in skilling. 
  • Employee perception remains a challenge: only 28% of workers believe their companies are effectively skilling them for the future.

The disconnect between what employees perceive and their company’s investment in skilling highlights the difficulty of articulating a skills vision, explained Penelope Prett, former CIO and current global lead for the Workday business group at Accenture.

However, AI can help align company investment and worker perception. First, organizations need data on the skills their employees have. At Workday, we address this by making skills data available through our Workday Skills Cloud technology across the Workday platform. Prett observed that having skills data part of the Workday unified data core allows for Workday AI to mature at a fast rate.

For example, by leveraging Workday AI, we’ve built into the Workday platform the ability to generate a suggested career path for workers, which includes the skills they need to expand a current role or move into a different one.

At the Workday Rising Innovation Keynote, my colleague David Somers, group general manager, office of the chief human resource officer product at Workday, shared what that capability looks like in action  through the Workday Manager Insights Hub:

“It’s tough for managers to become better leaders and keep up with everything happening across their team. Workday can help by providing insights into career milestones and suggesting steps to support your team, such as strengthening skills they need to achieve their annual goals. You can help employees reach their goals faster . . . and look like the manager of the year in the process.”

AI-powered upskilling is clearly part of the future of work, but what’s also needed is the skill to leverage the tools that harness the power of AI. 

That’s why Learn with Workday is so valuable. It is an on-demand learning program for individuals without a Workday account to gain skills on how Workday technology drives business outcomes. Learn with Workday comes with a digital badge upon completion, and sets up individuals for success for additional training. 

As AI continues to advance, the potential for its use in upskilling will only increase, making it an essential tool for companies and its workforce looking to stay ahead of the curve. There’s a lot more innovation to come, and we’re excited to be on this upskilling journey together with our customers.

Discover how Learn with Workday can help you build a strong foundation for a career with Workday technology.

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