Home > Talent Insights Blog > Artificial Intelligence > Resistance to Change and AI-Driven Talent Development

Resistance to Change and AI-Driven Talent Development

Abstract: AI-assisted talent development applications are here. Many are good enough to use now and will evolve toward great, quickly. The choices will eventually be many. Will you be an early or a late adopter? What role does effective change management play? Is it time to board the AI train?

Most new programming coming from HR and Talent Management (TM) meets initial resistance. Change can be seen through skepticism or fatigue, especially when it’s constant. With the rapid evolution of AI, change has never been required with as much speed or confidence as it is today. AI offerings are presently the #1 decision to be made inside a majority of organizations and this change elevates resistance.

Over the last 50 years, multi-rater assessments were introduced and resisted, yet they’ve become mainstream for awareness-building and enhancing effectiveness all over the world. Competency models and libraries were introduced (1991) and were resisted. Today, it is rare for an organization to not have an informal model that defines purpose, cultural attributes, behavioral norms, and the like. As organizations evolve and marketplaces present new challenges, changes to these models become necessary.  Yet these, too, will be met with resistance. When resistance finally fades, the changes are adopted and organizations can get back to work…until the next shift.

Think about these other HR/TM introductions:

  • The 70/20/10 development meme
  • The Performance/Potential nine box grid for talent planning
  • The concepts of High Potential and High Protential
  • Learning agility
  • EQ
  • New tech platform(s)
  • e-Learning
  • Performance appraisals
  • DEI
  • Automated resume reviews & video interviews
  • Talent marketplaces
  • …and many more

All have been resisted and all came with change management requirements.

Fast Forward to Today

We have spent the last year introducing our client partners and prospects to three versions of our AI-assisted career and leadership development offerings – The Career Architect©, The Career Blueprint©, and Develop-It-Yourself Digital—all offering only curated content and the added benefit of having eliminated response errors common when publicly available AI sources are used.  We’ve started with the people we most directly support, HR and TM professionals, and their responses have been universally positive:

  • “I can see this anchoring career, manager, supervisor and leader development…and it’s a great addition for our interns too.”
  • “It would take us years to develop a resource like this. Why would we?”  
  • “I want this for every single employee.”
  • “We love that the development tips are clear and actionable; can cut and paste them right into a development plan.”
  • “Your tool covers so much ground. Now we can consider reducing our online course content and the cost of upkeep by 25-33%.”
  • “We’ve been searching for a career development resource we can scale, that is not a (tech) skills-only approach”.
  • “This will support our equity and inclusion initiatives.”
  • “I thought you would quote me 5-10 times the cost per employee.”

Obviously, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have released assets that are delivering even more than what we planned, and to humble reviews. To add even more value, we must also help our client partners and prospects in the change efforts leading to adoption and scaled utilization.

The Change Management Mandate

In our profession, the positioning and adoption processes face the same mountain of change resistance as everything else we all have tried to implement.

HR/TM has had to become change management experts because most of what the function and profession wants to implement is initially resisted by the very customers being served. The profession must display significant domain knowledge of HR/TM and be change management masters.  And every change will be driven by or in reaction to shifts in mission, vision, values, and strategy.

In change management, as in marketing, the” take-off point” refers to when a product or service gains enough traction and popularity to experience a significant and material increase in adoption. This can happen due to a variety of factors, including more effective advertising or socializing, positive word-of-mouth from early adopters and influencers, cost-benefit analyses, and favorable internal or external conditions. At the take-off point, the product or service reaches a critical mass of customers/users and its growth becomes self-sustaining. What is initially new becomes the norm.

Similarly, moving from push-to-pull marketing involves a shift in strategy from actively seeking out new and resisting customers, to creating a stronger brand and value proposition that pulls new users towards the new product or service. This can be achieved through tactics such as better defining the value proposition, publishing early results or case studies, social media, and influencer engagement. By building a stronger brand and user reputation, companies can more quickly create a larger loyal customer base and generate organic growth.

In order for the take off point to be reached, the offering must be of demonstrable value.  It must be better, faster, scalable, affordable, and trusted.  We believe we can help you get to adoption faster than ever. Why?

What we are hearing

You can’t read a business publication or listen to the talking heads on podcasts without stories about AI. The technology is embedded in cars, in healthcare, in personal assistants, in talent acquisition tools, in financial management and the list grows daily. The “buzz” is in full force, yet we must learn the stories of great and not-so-great user experiences, and compelling versus flat value propositions. We must also know to heed the warnings by seeking proof. Early AI testing will reinforce these potential findings.

Most of our customers and stakeholders have invested in AI individually and/or with organizational resources. Some are dipping a toe in the water and leveraging some pull-through strategies, and some are plunging in at scale. If HR/TM moves at its traditional pace for investigation, proposals, shoots outs and pilots, their organizations will already be behind the change curve, beyond the AI take-off point and into pull mode.

Identify your Demand Case

There is customer demand for AI-assisted development lurking inside your organization. Think about these examples: 

Among data that stands out from engagement surveys: 

  • I want to know where my performance stands
  • I want more feedback
  • I want to know top management cares about my career
  • I want to see evidence that I have the opportunities to grow and develop, and I need resources
  • I want to know the organization is addressing cultural initiatives productively.

Bosses don’t look forward to performance management and development discussions.  Most are not agile at putting together actionable IDPs. AI solves that.

Where career coaching is provided, are human coaches available 24/7 and especially in one’s moment of need? Rarely.

One can’t carry around every development resource they’ve come across from an online course, a book they’ve read or a training program. Now they can.


The AI train is leaving the station. It will build up speed. The suspense will build. Like it or not. Will you grab the handle near the entry and pull yourself up? We’ll provide the boost.

The new becomes the old

Large mountains are scaled and sized

Start climbing without fear now

Schedule a Consultation

Schedule a Consultation Directly with our Team to learn about how our 360 Survey can be used in your organization.