July 12, 2018
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Artificial Intelligence is the future of business. CRM systems, intelligent customer service solutions, marketing strategies, and competitive intelligence are all getting a boost from AI. But, this shift may have employees who can’t calculate millions of possibilities in seconds wondering what it means for them.
AI isn’t going to make humans redundant. In fact, according to research, the combination of AI and the human touch is the key for success. Making this clear to your employees is critical if you’re implementing new technology, or moving to greater AI integration, and to do that, you need to understand the source of their apprehension. Here are some common employee challenges associated with new tech adoption.
There have been multiple articles and reports about how AI is going to force millions of people out of the workforce as their jobs become redundant. While it’s true that increased automation and AI enablement will replace jobs, there is an expectation that AI will create more jobs. A Gartner reportsays that from 2020, AI will create 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million, creating a net jobs gain. As noted by the Foundation for Economic Education, technology changes “can improve people’s lives and lead to a more creative, intellectually engaged workforce. AI often means that employees can spend more time on complex tasks for which they are uniquely suited, like interacting with customers or brainstorming innovative new campaigns.”
AI is already disrupting industries but we’re talking smaller disruptions like business relationships. One fear of integrating AI into a sales or marketing funnel is the loss of the human touch between vendors, customers, and employees. It’s not just employers who are concerned about maintaining the human experience – a recent PwC study found that two-thirds of consumers want more human interaction, not less, in customer service.
Harvard Business Review notes that people require “psychological safety” in uncertain environments. “When the workplace feels challenging but not threatening, teams can sustain the broaden-and-build mode. Oxytocin levels in our brains rise, eliciting trust and trust-making behavior,” HBR adds. Unlike meeting a new team member, with whom employees can create trust through human-to-human interaction, technology adds uncertainty – it is new and unfamiliar.. A separate Harvard Business Review article found that when people don’t trust technology, there are low adoption rates and low results.
So how can you help your employees get over their concerns about the implications adopting new technology?
While AI can evolve based on information and practice, it doesn’t have the human touch.
Algorithms are great when it comes to sales, marketing, customer service and recruiting, but where humans excel is creative thinking and problem-solving, developing new strategies, delivering exceptional customer experience, and finding new opportunities, supplemented by technology. When you give employees control over technology instead letting it control their actions, you get the best out of both the technology and your people.
According to PWC, adopting AI “will be an emotive subject” in your organization. Therefore, it’s crucial to be transparent with employees about the role new technology plays in your company.
If you’re implementing AI, prepare your employees for the transition process by creating a communications roadmap that addresses all potential questions and encourages discussion.
As with any new technology, there’s an educational curve for employees. One way is for companies to pivot their training to focus on AI-related jobs. That may mean an increase in educational spending along with a feedback process that allows companies to adjust to the employees’ needs.
Cloud and AI technology aren’t going anywhere, but they are only as good as the people who trust and work with them. Preparing your employees means leveraging the best of both worlds - human and machine - to get the best results for your company and your team.