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Strategy

7 tips to identify and retain top talent for Gen AI careers

Paul Baier
CEO, GAI Insights
August 2, 2023

Paul Baier is the CEO and co-founder of GAI Insights, an advisory and analyst firm to empower companies in achieving ROI through the use of generative AI. Mr. Baier is hosting the GAIworld.com conference, an event focused on enterprise Generative AI case studies Sep 12-13 in Boston, MA.

This guest blog from Paul examines how to identify and retain your most ambitious and talented employees. They will see Gen AI as a massive career accelerant, and your company will have to move fast to provide them with the runway they need to innovate and grow.

Findem helps companies identify and nurture employees, past applicants, and potential candidates with the skills needed for innovation and growth in a hot new job market.

Gen AI is massive career accelerant

Can you hear that? Every ambitious and talented employee in your organization is running to the Gen AI career rocket. They know that Gen AI is the best and fastest career accelerator that has ever existed.

Because of the pace of Gen AI change and the massive associated talent shortage, battlefield promotions are happening everywhere. We have seen people get promoted from manager to director to VP. We know several who are looking to leave for a better position after completing their first Gen AI project. Executives at digital native firms like Wayfair and others have told us that it is very hard to keep Gen AI talent longer than 18 months or 2 years.

We recommend seven steps to identify and retain your top talent so they can innovate and grow with generative AI at your company, not your competitors.

1. Acknowledge the reality of Gen AI

Yes, we know it’s unfair. Yes, this opportunity didn’t exist when you were building your career. Yes, that person’s compensation plan is rich. Yes, there is jealousy and resentment in parts of your organization. But, you also know the reality. Top talent will go to the best opportunity — full stop. Bubbles always find a way to the top of the water line. The only business question is whether the top Gen AI talent will be on your team or your competitors.

2. Create space for Gen AI early adopters

Create “safe lanes” or “walled gardens” for the Gen AI early adopters and enthusiasts in your organization to experiment and learn. Outright bans of ChatGPT are useless. Employees are telling us they use it for work at home and then email results to their work email. 

A better approach is to create clear boundaries, something like: feel free to use ChatGPT work with non company info or with any company info that is on our public website, but if you put in confidential information you will be fired on the spot. Don’t stunt the Gen AI energy in your org. Rosemary Brisco from our GAI Insights community posted a sample employee use policy.

3. Support cross functional Gen AI “Learning Labs”

Support and foster cross functional GenAI “Learning Labs” by function, business problem/opportunity, or division. We continually say that learning Gen AI is like swimming. It can’t be learned via a book or Youtube video. It’s experiential. To learn to swim, you initially have a swim coach and have multiple learning sessions over several weeks. You need time to mentally and physically acclimate to the water environment and to learn skills. Learning Gen AI is no different for individuals, teams, and companies. 

Weekly “Learning Labs” (we like 1 hour meetings) are environments where the Gen AI early adopters share case studies and help each other learn. We know of a large firm that is having Gen AI intro class for ALL of its employees.

4. Create multiple levels of ways to contribute

Not everyone has the same excitement level and time. Create participation levels for all levels. A responsible AI panel for enthusiasts and skeptics provides a safe space to ask questions about responsible and ethical use to make sure enthusiasm does not overwhelm sensible use. Non-users can be very helpful in this role if they have a meaningful way to participate in the conversation and be heard.

5. Define “mini Gen AI milestones”

Every 15 to 30 days to foster real examples using your own data, your company language, and your business needs. These tools are SO powerful and easy to use that much can be done in 15 days. One zero risk example is taking, say, 500 PDFs about technical support and using an LLM to access. See how Findem has thoughtfully and carefully begun to incorporate generative AI into recruiting and analytics workflows while protecting PII and company data.

6. Channel the excitement and energy of Gen AI adopters

Use the excitement and energy of your early adopters to accelerate Gen AI learning and adoption for the rest of the organization. For example “Adopt a Gen AI learning buddy.” Your talent team should take time to reflect on who is succeeding with Gen AI and if skills are emerging that you might develop or hire for.

7. Personally spend 5 hours using Gen AI

You would never hire an employee or let them influence capital allocation if they never used the internet. The same is true for Gen AI. It’s simply too transformational and important. Every executive needs to spend 5 hours (ideally over 2-5 weeks) learning basic Gen AI and finding their own “wow” moments.

Gen AI and career development

GenAI is a massive career accelerator that will set your workforce ahead of the competition, if you choose to support your early adopters. Findem’s Talent Data Cloud helps you identify the talent you have, the talent you need, and the talent your competitors are looking for by attributes, not keywords. 

Paul Baier is connecting CEOs, board members, and top-level executives with AI pioneers and innovators from across the business landscape. Findem is working with innovative talent leaders across all leaders to define the future of talent in and AI world.

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