Your Employees’ AI Implementation Wish List

When it comes to artificial intelligence, employees want specific direction from their companies, citing a particular interest in training and guidelines/policies around AI usage, according to a recent survey.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere suddenly. It was spoken about for years, but it’s only over the last year, with the popularization of ChatGPT, that interest and use of it has soared.

You are likely deciding at this moment how best to use it in your organization, and many of you have already implemented a plan to get going with AI to enhance efficiency and cost savings.

A newly released survey by Insight Enterprises reveals how employees feel about AI in the workplace, and the resources they would like in order to optimize it in their work lives.

Optimistic About the Possibilities of AI

So far, employees seem to feel optimistic about what AI has to offer. “The research shows nearly two in three employees (64 percent) believe AI-powered devices will change critical skills needed to do their job. Yet few report feeling anxious (13 percent), fearful (11 percent), confused (5 percent), or overwhelmed (5 percent) about using generative AI at work,” according to a post about the report that appeared on Business Wire.

I don’t have negative feelings about the introduction of AI into the workplace, but I feel tired when thinking about it. It’s something new to learn and get used to.

The goal behind the use of AI at work is typically to add efficiency, and presumably, to make employees’ work lives easier. However, keep in mind that it’s a new technology to most employees, meaning something new to get used to. For many of us, having to get used to a new technology and a new work process triggers feelings of stress and exhaustion. What is the best way to combat those feelings? I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

One way is to introduce AI as an option, rather than a requirement, in your workplace. You could train employees on it from the perspective of a new tool at their disposal that will make work faster and easier. The other approach, where you introduce it as a requirement, may trigger feelings of dread and resentment. You don’t want this exciting new technology to be viewed as a chore.

Give Employees Structure and Guidance about AI

As upbeat as employees appear to be about implementing AI in the workplace, they don’t want to be left dangling. In other words, they don’t want you to send them a directive to start using it and then be left to figure out the rest on their own.

“Moving forward, employees overall want specific direction from their employers, citing an interest in training (49 percent) and guidelines/policies (46 percent) around AI usage,” according to the Business Wire post.

Not everyone responds well to large-group training, as most of you are doubtless aware. I’m one of those people. So if I attend a large-scale AI kickoff meeting and training session with hundreds of other employees at the same time, it is likely I will want one-on-one support afterwards.

When introducing a new technology like AI, you can make the chances of successful implementation and widespread use more likely by offering employees the opportunity to make an appointment for one-on-one training. If I attend a large-group training session, get distracted, or find the session is moving faster than my capacity to understand and ask questions, I am probably not going to do what is being taught. I’m going to get overwhelmed, feel tired, and decide to keep doing things the way I have been doing them.

Is AI Going to Be a Necessity or Luxury in Your Workplace?

Along with employee training, an organization’s leaders must decide how AI is going to be viewed in the corporate culture.

Is this a new, nice-to-have, icing-on-the-cake workplace tool, or is this a new, mandated way of doing business?

No one knows yet how AI will affect work processes and employee morale in the long run. For that reason, it could be beneficial to start off by thinking of this technology as a nice-to-have, rather than as a mandate. Then, if the employees who quickly adopt it have a highly positive experience, and the company observes irrefutable work-life and financial advantages, it can slowly become a necessary, mandated tool in your workflow.

Giving employees time to get accustomed to using AI and become adept at it is the way to go. Pushing it out to them as an immediate mandate could alienate some from ever fully embracing this exciting new tool.

Do you already know how you will use AI in your organization? What kind of training are you rolling out to capitalize on employee excitement and openness to trying a new way of doing their work?