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Experts weigh in on the best way to prepare teams for AI

Strategies to empower workers to build skills in AI from leaders across industries.

Experts weigh in on the best way to prepare teams for AI
[Source photo: fauxels/Pexels; Google DeepMind/Pexels]

The rapid workplace adoption of artificial intelligence demands new skills and a totally fresh approach to preparing your team. Circumventing the growing pains of AI calls for creativity.

Businesses are making AI accessible by integrating it seamlessly into daily workflows. As Michael Maximoff of Belkins highlights: “Staying ahead with AI is woven into our daily operations. We use Slack for ongoing communication, regularly sharing updates about new AI tools that could benefit our work.” This ongoing conversation and experimentation ensure employees feel comfortable and equipped to leverage AI’s potential.

Another crucial strategy is to empower continuous learning. Kamil Rejent of Survicate emphasizes: “Given our diverse and remote workforce, ‘traditional’ training methods just don’t cut it.” Companies are addressing this by offering flexible online training options that cater to different learning styles and schedules.

Finally, a human-centered approach is paramount. Angela Howard of Call for Culture reminds us: “Organizations are struggling to keep up with changing workplace requirements . . . due to an antiquated way of approaching work.” Focusing on human needs and well-being throughout the AI integration process can ensure a smooth transition and avoid alienating their workforce.

From hosting an AI hackathon to conducting an AI mastery series, these 10 executives and leaders showcase real-world examples you can use to empower your team. With these strategies, you can transition from merely surviving to thriving in the era of AI.


One of the most successful programs we have run is an all-company AI hackathon. Over three days, everyone thought through how AI could transform different areas of the business and presented their findings. It reframed AI from an ominous threat to a remarkably accessible and versatile tool that could quickly build out fun applications and create real value across many areas of the business.

Since the hackathon, we have started adopting AI in the customer support organization with an intelligent chatbot for our knowledge base, increased usage of AI tools in marketing and sales, and requests to add AI to our products and processes from all areas of the company. The employees are pushing the executive team to adopt AI rather than the other way around.

Trevor Sumner, head of AI and Innovation, Raydiant


We’re preparing our workforce for the changes in AI through something we’re informally calling the “be a good people-first initiative.” AI is going to change the agency and technical development space into something that we can’t fully predict, but something that we believe won’t change is people’s desire to be treated like a real person whose needs and goals are understood, and this is where AI can really help through scalable personalization.

The core of our initiative is really just three questions:

1. Does my choice to use or rely on AI in this instance help me reach more real people effectively?

2. Does it center on my customer’s needs/desires, or am I just looking for a shortcut?

3. Will my use of AI in any way erode trust with our customers?

If the answer is not super obvious and clear in the most positive way, then we need to rethink or reframe our use of AI until the answer lands on the side of “being good people to our people.”

Larissa Uredi, CEO, No-Where Consultants


A few years back, I was working with a client in manufacturing. Repetitive tasks on the assembly line were prime candidates for automation. Now don’t get me wrong, AI isn’t here to steal everyone’s jobs. But some things it can do way faster and cheaper. The challenge was, how do we equip those assembly-line workers with new skills so they could thrive alongside the robots?

We ended up creating a two-pronged approach. First, we offered reskilling programs. We partnered with a local tech college to teach in-demand skills like data analysis and robot programming. Those who participated got hands-on experience and certifications that made them much more competitive in the job market, even if their role on the line shifted.

Second, we focused on upskilling. We developed internal training programs to help workers understand how AI could optimize their tasks and improve overall efficiency. This empowered them to collaborate effectively with the new technology, rather than feeling threatened by it.

Travis Lindemoen, founder, Enjoy Mondays


At Belkins, staying ahead with AI is woven into our daily operations. We use Slack for ongoing communication, regularly sharing updates about new AI tools that could benefit our work. Our team actively tests these tools, openly discussing their advantages and drawbacks to decide on their integration into our processes. This practical approach has allowed us to adopt numerous tools for content creation, people management, and operations.

Success for us is not just in adopting these tools but in integrating them seamlessly into our workflow, enhancing our efficiency and productivity. This continuous dialogue and experimentation with AI technology ensure our team is prepared and thriving in a tech-driven landscape.

Michael Maximoff, cofounder and managing partner, Belkins


Our tool, Survicate, already has AI integrations. That’s why, in my view, there’s no room for hesitation or excuses when it comes to integrating AI into our workflows and skill sets.

Given our diverse and remote workforce, “traditional” training methods just don’t cut it. We need flexibility, scalability, and engagement. That’s where our focus on webinars, online learning platforms, and certification programs comes into play. AI is a vast field, and everyone comes to it with different levels of expertise and experience. Online learning respects and accommodates this diversity, and it helps everyone to learn what they need to learn.

I think it’s pointless to make the whole team go through the same training just for the sake of formality; it’s much more efficient and productive for everyone to focus on the things they still have to improve. And we make sure not to “punish” anyone for needing more time and going through the basics first! It’s not about who finishes stuff the fastest; it’s about making sure that all team members will be able to seamlessly use AI after all the training. If one member needs more time and more courses, then that’s absolutely fine.

We track participation rates, completion rates, and feedback scores. But the true measure of success for me goes beyond these metrics. I think it would be funnier if we didn’t track feedback as a company that focuses on that.

Kamil Rejent, CEO, Survicate


I believe that AI technology has the potential to streamline and accelerate processes across all teams, while also dramatically enhancing user experience. When developing our AI implementation strategy, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of processes, established a cross-functional AI team, and identified priority areas for AI implementation. We focus on leveraging AI to increase cross-functional workflow velocity, boost employees’ personal productivity, and enhance user-facing features.

We launched a corporate AI club to help our team embrace the change. This community of Headway’s AI enthusiasts from different domains initiated regular meetups where they shared experiences with integrating AI into our day-to-day operations, eventually accelerating AI-powered projects at all levels in the company. Furthermore, through collective brainstorming sessions, we have identified specific AI tools that can enhance existing processes and avoid the temptation of using AI merely for the sake of it.

The critical success metric for us is AI penetration across functional teams, with every department currently leveraging multiple AI tools on a daily basis. We also consider the overall efficiency increase brought about by each AI-related initiative.

Anton Pavlovsky, CEO and founder, Headway


Organizations are struggling to keep up with changing workplace requirements, and broader than technology it’s due to an antiquated way of approaching work. Emerging AI technology can potentially lead to work becoming more human—ironically—by creating more personalized experiences at work. But the shift can be daunting.

One initiative we implemented at Call for Culture and with our clients is taking a human-centered design and change management approach to broader societal and cultural changes, such as AI usage within organizations. Our methodology hits on building the skill, capability, and mindset to make large-scale change more brain-friendly and sustainable. Here are a few key tips for helping employees adapt to the change:

Invite your employees into the change conversation. Ensure varied voices are heard and are involved in the codesign around the change.

Then, be deliberate and inclusive in communications. Acknowledge that communications and training will not only provide awareness around the change or shift, but they are important to keep everyone informed about new expectations, etc.

Next, create a listening strategy to ensure you have a pulse on sentiment and thoughts around the change so you can target future communications, design, and conversations.

Finally, ensure your leaders are role modeling and sharing the vision around the change, and create space for human emotions and reactions throughout!

Angela Howard, founder and CEO, Call for Culture


At Ascendant, we recognize that AI is not just a technological shift but a transformative force that will reshape how we work. To embrace this change, we’ve implemented a comprehensive AI literacy program that equips our employees with the knowledge and skills to thrive in an AI-driven world.

Our program starts with awareness and education. We conduct regular workshops and seminars to demystify AI, dispel misconceptions, and showcase its practical applications across various functions. This helps our employees understand the potential and limitations of AI, reducing fear and resistance.

Next, we focus on upskilling. We’ve partnered with leading educational institutions to offer AI-specific training programs tailored to different roles and levels of expertise. From data scientists and developers to marketers and sales professionals, everyone has access to resources that help them leverage AI tools and technologies effectively.

To ensure practical application, we encourage employees to identify pain points or inefficiencies in their workflows and explore AI-powered solutions. Our innovation labs provide a safe space for experimentation, prototyping, and piloting AI-driven projects.

Measuring success is multifaceted. We track metrics like AI literacy levels, adoption rates of AI tools, and the number of AI-driven projects or processes implemented. However, we also value qualitative feedback, such as employees’ confidence levels in working with AI and their perception of how AI has enhanced their productivity and job satisfaction.

Ultimately, our goal is to foster an AI-ready culture where our workforce embraces technological advancements and sees AI as an enabler, not a threat. By empowering our employees with the right mindset and skills, we’re not just preparing for the future but actively shaping it.

Matthew Franzyshen, business development manager, Ascendant Technologies


In response to AI’s evolving landscape and its impact on industries and job roles, Inspace has initiated “SmartSolve: AI-Driven Innovation.” This forward-looking program is designed to empower our team to harness AI effectively as a tool, address client challenges, and significantly boost our operational efficiency and client service quality. SmartSolve is a strategic endeavor that places AI within well-defined parameters for responsible and impactful use.

Through SmartSolve, we offer our employees extensive training and resources for ethically applying AI in their daily operations. The focus is on streamlining routine tasks, extracting valuable insights from data, and developing tailored solutions that resonate with our clients’ specific requirements.

We evaluate SmartSolve’s success using key performance indicators, including enhanced client satisfaction, reduced project turnaround times, and noticeable improvements in productivity for both our team and our clients. Additionally, we continuously monitor our employees’ ability and confidence in employing AI tools through regular assessments and feedback, ensuring the program evolves to meet our workforce’s and clients’ needs.

SmartSolve aims to elevate our service offerings and establish Inspace as a frontrunner in the ethical implementation of AI as a tool in our sector, pioneering new standards for innovation and client engagement.

Melinda Babin, VP of marketing, Inspace


In the changing landscape of technology, particularly AI, I’ve witnessed the transformative impact it can have on businesses and their workforce. At Savvy Gents Inc., we embraced AI’s potential early on, especially in predictive analytics and generative AI for digital marketing. One initiative that stands out in helping our employees adapt to these changes is the “AI Mastery Series”: essentially a comprehensive training program focused on enhancing our team’s understanding and practical skills in AI-related projects.

The AI Mastery Series covers a range of topics, from the basics of AI and machine learning to more advanced subjects like AI-powered web design tools and content creation. It’s a mix of in-house workshops, online courses from leading tech-education platforms, and hands-on project work designed to give our team a real-world application of their new skills. The success of the program is measured by several metrics, including project delivery times, client satisfaction scores, and an internal assessment of team members’ proficiency before and after the series.

A notable success story from this initiative was the significant improvement in our team’s ability to leverage AI for predictive analytics projects. Post-training, we saw a 40% increase in efficiency in these projects, leading to better-targeted and more effective marketing strategies for our clients. This, in turn, resulted in a notable uptick in client retention rates and attracted new business due to our enhanced capabilities in leveraging AI for digital marketing.

I believe the key to adapting to AI-induced changes is investing in continuous learning and development programs like the AI Mastery Series. Not only does it prepare your workforce for the future, but it also positions your company as a forward-thinking leader in the industry.

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