Technology is continually changing what is required of information technology (IT) professionals. If they aren’t already, it’s likely that these professionals will soon work alongside a version of ChatGPT. Whatever your beliefs about the technology, it’s already making waves in the business world. That means that now is the time to ensure that your training accounts for the changes that generative artificial intelligence (AI) can bring to the world of work.

A recent report from LinkedIn details just how much jobs — and the requisite skill sets — are changing. For an IT consultant, for example, skills have changed an average of 46.4% from 2015 to 2022. That means that nearly half of the skills required today weren’t required in 2015. Eight of the top skills needed in 2015 are no longer necessary.

We’re already seeing job descriptions asking for IT professionals to have familiarity with ChatGPT. The technology is also responsible for creating a new job category — prompt engineering. A prompt engineer can “develop and improve machine learning models that can accurately process and respond to user prompts.”

If you are training IT professionals, your first order of business is to become familiar with ChatGPT. Start playing with it, learning its strengths and weaknesses and how to write good prompts.

Used correctly, ChatGPT can be another tool in our kit to improve productivity. IT teams must develop processes that enable them to use it responsibly and ethically.

Find Use Cases

To show how their organization can use ChatGPT to boost productivity, trainers should explore primary use cases to see how it works in their day-to-day job. Since it’s still so new, there’s nothing better than firsthand experience with subject matter that an individual is familiar with — and in the case of trainers, that would be their training curriculum.

Engage SMEs

As trainers build programs for various topics, they should work with specific subject matter experts to test the accuracy of ChatGPT’s results and efficiency for particular use cases. So, if you’re a health care company, you’ll want healthcare subject matter experts (SMEs). ChatGPT is still learning and often produces nearly correct answers. There may be nuances familiar to SMEs — and not current versions of ChatGPT — who can act as a stopgap or field the impact of any action suggested or taken due to ChatGPT output.

Rethink Productivity

Think of ways ChatGPT can boost productivity. As you explore, think about what that means for the IT pros in your organization. Does it open free time for individuals using it to take on different roles? Does the human resources (HR) department need to change job descriptions to represent these new roles? Trainers could then work with their HR teams to create a feedback loop.

Document Best Practices

Encourage your IT teams to play with ChatGPT. Trainers and IT should document their developing best practices, enabling other folks within the organization to apply what they’ve learned. Using these best practices throughout the organization, you should start to benefit from productivity gains at a larger scale.

Keep Decision-making in the Hands of Humans

As you communicate the benefits and risks of ChatGPT to your organization, stress that everyone should avoid letting the technology make bold decisions. If IT implements ChatGPT in their daily practices more often, they must check their work and verify the responses provided. ChatGPT is not flawless; we can’t wholly trust its answers. We’re still learning and experimenting with how to use the technology best.

Your organization’s IT professionals may also find that using ChatGPT frees them up to do something else — additional research, upskilling or implementing a new way to tackle their job or take on new tasks. Or it might give them additional capacity to do their current job. All of this is good for career advancement (and thus also good for retention).

Implementing ChatGPT in the Workplace

Employers may be anxious to have teams dive into ChatGPT or build it into their products.

But the technology is here to stay. Organizations should proceed cautiously and start developing company policies, plans and overall expectations. They should anticipate that they will need to put some rules and regs around how it’s used based on its general capabilities.

Because it’s changing so frequently, no one has written a book on implementing ChatGPT. Learning and development (L&D) leaders will have to learn along with their teams. A great way to do that is learning by doing. In this way, training and learners will be evolving alongside ChatGPT.

This is the time to reemphasize and exercise those skills necessary to adapt to change, including the willingness to embrace change. Many organizations have not done an adequate job identifying these soft skills that are becoming increasingly necessary in the 21st-century workplace.

In addition to soft skills, you should consider the types of hard skills that will be necessary going forward. Do you have folks in the organization who need upskilling in certain areas to get them more comfortable with technology like ChatGPT? Do you want folks to get better at prompt writing? If so, consider developing a curriculum that develops those skills.

Begin evaluating the skill sets within your organization. Do a talent review. Get clear on your talent and the skill sets they bring to your organization and think about what you will need in the future. Develop your training program based on those insights.

Generative AI like ChatGPT will be changing the landscape of IT professionals. We need to assess the behavioral traits, hard skills and attributes such as readiness to ensure our organizations can respond to changes coming down the pike. Those changes are still unknown. But by leveraging data-based assessments and then developing training programs from the insights, we can still prepare our organizations for the changes ahead.