Generative AI (GenAI) is increasingly becoming a topic of interest among Learning and Development (L&D) leaders. In the recent webinar Skills for L&D Leaders in 2024: Embracing Generative AI and Leading Through Change, Udemy CLO Melissa Daimler and Co-Founder at NilesNolen, Amanda Nolen, discussed how L&D leaders can prepare themselves, their teams, and their companies for a workplace that not only embraces AI but also leverages the technology in innovative ways. 

Here, we’ve gathered essential takeaways from the conversation and questions from the L&D leaders in the audience, focusing on GenAI’s effects on the future of work. 

Key AI takeaways for L&D leaders

Critical skills for leading into the future

L&D and HR leaders must navigate their teams and organizations through the changes and challenges of generative AI. To successfully lead through this moment of change, Daimler and Nolen recommend that leaders focus on developing the following skills: a mix of business, technical, and soft skills.  

Augment, automate, and amplify to boost L&D teams 

How can L&D leaders use AI to help employees work differently and more strategically? Daimler and Nolen recommend finding opportunities to augment, automate, and amplify work with AI. 

Communicate your goals of finding ways to augment, automate, and amplify work with your team. These aren’t exercises to replace their work but rather to enhance it. Daily work will change in some capacity because of AI, and it’s the responsibility of L&D leaders to assuage their team’s fears and highlight the opportunities available thanks to GenAI.

How to boost AI skills within the company

The first step in integrating AI skills within an organization is to create a safe space for employees to experiment with the technology. To encourage employees to spend time experimenting with GenAI, our panelists recommend L&D leaders do three things:

  1. Offer clear guidelines: The data used in AI applications can have various sensitivity levels. Work with cross-functional partners to develop guidance on what data employees can use in generative AI tools and how they can use it. Work with your legal, IT, data science, HR teams, and other relevant departments to create an AI policy tailored to your organization’s unique needs. 
  2. Encourage failure: Employees aren’t going to create perfect generative AI prompts on the first go. Help them get comfortable with failure by sharing your own less-than-ideal experiences with AI. Encourage employees to form discussion groups or communities of practice to hone their AI skills. 
  3. Get strong leadership buy-in: From C-suite to managers of small teams, leaders are a vital component of adopting AI skills. To foster a sense of psychological safety for employees to experiment and fail at AI skills, leaders must role model their own experiences. Schedule time in the next all-hands meeting for the CEO to share their trials and errors with GenAI. Employees are more likely to experiment with new skills when they know their colleagues are doing the same. 

Frequently asked questions from L&D leaders

Based on the lively discussions in the webinar chat, AI is a topic at the top of L&D leaders’ minds in 2024. Here are some of the most common questions our speakers fielded during the webinar. 

How do we mitigate the risks of fake data and hallucinations in AI output?

According to Nolen, there must be some human supervision when using AI. You can’t take for granted that your GenAI output is reliable; always question the results. All three speakers agree to think of an AI tool as an assistant or an intern. It’s not as familiar with the context behind your query nor the intricacies of your organization, so human verification of the AI’s work is a critical step when using AI. 

What’s one piece of advice for how L&D and HR leaders should think differently about AI? 

Daimler and Nolen recommend that L&D and HR leaders embrace experimentation and failure when adopting AI into their team and company workflow. “AI is unchartered territory,” Nolen says. “Failure is part of the learning journey.” In practice, experimentation looks like L&D leaders having frequent conversations with their teams about how they’ve used AI in their work and diving deeper into the pains or efficiencies in these use cases. Try automating a repetitive task. If it doesn’t work, note why and experiment with another AI tool.  

What do L&D/HR leaders need to do to stay ahead of GenAI news, and how can they help their teams through this transition?

According to Nolen, this is where horizon scanning and business acumen skills are essential. By staying up-to-date with the uses of GenAI, you can be proactive in finding applications for the technology in your team and across your company. In understanding your company’s business, business strategy, and customers, L&D leaders can be predictive when creating learning programs that align with company needs, such as upskilling employees with GenAI skills that will increase productivity.  

Skills for L&D Leaders in 2024: Embracing Generative AI and Leading Through Change

In this webinar, Melissa Daimler, Chief Learning Officer at Udemy, and Amanda Nolen, Co-Founder at NilesNolen, discuss practical ways L&D leaders can prepare themselves and their teams for the here, now, and the future.

Watch now

The webinar discussion shed light on the top considerations for L&D leaders when leveraging GenAI in their learning programs. Skills such as coaching, clear communication, self-awareness, and prompt engineering are essential for L&D leaders as they navigate the integration of GenAI into their work. Rewatch the discussion on-demand by visiting Skills for L&D Leaders in 2024: Embracing Generative AI and Leading Through Change.