- Experiences Can Impact Employee Outlook on AI Adoption
- Effective or Ineffective – Don’t Overlook the Past
- Successful AI Adoption Begins Before Implementation - Upskilling
- Successful AI Implementation Requires a Proactive Approach
Experiences Can Impact Employee Outlook on AI Adoption
Technological advances in themselves are not new in the pursuit of progress as companies engage in a continuous search for improved quality, efficiency, and competitive advantage in the business environment. But while leaders may understand that this type of change is not new in the context of continuous business evolution, your employees may not feel the same.
Consider that, as a leader, while you may see and approach tech adoption of artificial intelligence as an overall strategy to help the organization compete, employees may see it as another obstacle in their daily interactions within the company as they try to perform in their role. Thus, it can easily become another leadership decision that they view as a hurdle and need to overcome.
A key differentiator for employee reactions will be driven by what that employee has experienced or perceived to date from your organization as well as what metrics they are held to surrounding their own job performance. This will have a large impact into whether they willingly engage in, or reluctantly tolerate, an adoption meant for improvement.
So, what does this mean for AI and the future of work?
Effective or Ineffective – Don’t Overlook the Past
Humans are creatures of habit.
Even those who embrace change likely do so within the personal boundaries they have consciously or unconsciously established—considering how any new item or event can potentially affect their current environment or the future pathway they may have envisioned. Thus, how a change initiative within our organizations (such as adopting AI) is conveyed or unrolled to employees has a large impact on how it will be received.
This can also take on added importance if leaders have been effective to date, having developed employees that feel very connected to their roles and take pride in their contribution to overall organizational goals.
Leaders need to be mindful in this environment as having employees with a connection to their place of employment or dedication to their job doesn’t mean organizations should assume a green light to implement AI technologies (such as the adoption of generative AI), without allowing the individuals time to process the decision and provide feedback and input. Without this, leaders could undo previous efforts undertaken to create positive workplace experiences and a desirable culture at the individual, team, and organizational level.
Conversely, we should also consider that leaders who have not been attentive to interpersonal skills within their organization to date and have largely created a disconnected workforce don’t have a greenlight on AI either, at least one without repercussions. In contrast to “effective leaders,” it might be normal for leadership in this culture to adopt and implement change without further thought to the nuances at ground level – leaving the human-technology interaction to the employees or managers to figure out.
This approach will not serve to improve or enhance employee experiences and will likely lead to an increased divide between the employee and organization. Further, it may serve to enhance turnover intention which has been shown to be a significant predictor of voluntary turnover behavior; creating further issues.
Upskilling – Successful AI Adoption Begins Before Implementation
Whatever your current situation, strategic and targeted consideration of AI implementation doesn’t begin and end with adoption and affects not only the individual, but teams or groups, as well as the overall organization. To be effective in AI implementation and use, proactively engaging in efforts that anticipate and address potentially negative reactions from those affected will help to identify talking points and areas of focus to foster smoother integration.
For example, one study surrounding human and AI interaction at the team level highlighted the need for upskilling employees through training opportunities that enhance technological competence before AI collaboration. Another study spoke to the importance of training opportunities at the individual level where this training would include technology assistants and instructional materials prior to and through implementation.
While only two studies, they are not alone. The common thread being that successful AI adoption begins with training and preparing your team members ahead of time; addressing areas that educate stakeholders surrounding the “what, why, and how” as it relates to their roles. Important in this journey is creating opportunities that welcome, as well as provide for, team member input along the way.
Of note, the benefits of seeking team member input goes beyond making team members feel heard or valued. According to a systematic review of empirical work surrounding AI use in the workplace, team members who ultimately see the adopted technology as a good fit in relation to tasks performed will not only place more value on the technology, but will likely use it as intended as well; creating more certainty around the planning process and post-adoption use.
Successful AI Implementation Requires a Proactive Approach
To be effective in embracing AI for your workforce doesn’t require you to be a technology expert. In fact, for many, focusing too much on the technology itself may cause you to overlook key contributing factors as to its ultimate success or failure and may even neglect other areas of competitive advantage. For leaders concerned about a starting point for successful adoption and implementation of AI, consider that focusing on the individuals ultimately affected is an important step in the ultimate success or failure of your planning efforts.
The more your team members know about, and have contributed to, the decisions in and around an organization, such as helping to determine what is considered or adopted regarding AI, the better off the change process will be. The good news is that this step doesn’t require you to wait until you know the specific AI technology that might be implemented. Proactive leaders can focus on important interpersonal skills today that can have positive impact on the ultimate success of AI adoption.
As organizational outcomes have been shown time and time again to be connected to its people and the interpersonal skills in place that support an environment of creativity, connectedness, and trust, building the first step from materials that demonstrate inclusion and concern for the workforce will likely returned with less resistance and help create a stairway that leads to success.
So, how will AI change the world and our workplace…it appears that one way is by highlighting the continued importance of relational and social aspects surrounding human interaction in pursuit of the future and, as with most endeavors, a well-balanced approach is key.
To learn more about how to adopt AI in the workplace as well as key skills affecting a variety of workplace topics, visit dalecarnegie.com today; we look forward to connecting with you.