Artificial intelligence. Some leaders love it. Some have accepted it. Others still have serious questions about it. But whatever your opinion may be, there is no doubt AI is a force employers can no longer deny, discount, or ignore. For example, consider the journey of generative AI (gen AI). Only one year after its launch, this juggernaut form of AI is fundamentally transforming the way people communicate, collaborate, and carry out daily work tasks.
Gen AI: A Promising New Work Partner
When harnessed effectively, AI can amplify human potential, accelerate productivity, and enhance workplace communications. Ultimately, it helps organizations improve team performance and build a culture where people are more deeply connected, aware, unified, and engaged.
Leaders Are Moving Quickly But Thoughtfully
Executives understand the potential of AI at work — and they’re investing accordingly. In fact, 75% of C-level leaders told Accenture they plan to increase AI and data-related spending in 2024 (up from 50% in 2023). Nevertheless, many still have reservations. For example, in the same survey, 55% of leaders named innovative technologies like AI as a top concern for the coming year.
This cautious optimism makes sense. AI can be a powerful tool for HR, IT, Operations, Marketing, and other business functions. But it also introduces new risks. And that means anyone who selects, implements, or safeguards the digital applications and data their teams use must accept a new level of responsibility.
Unlocking Human Potential With Gen AI at Work
Just as email and the internet once radically changed the nature of work, AI is fundamentally redefining business processes and communications. For example, with gen AI tools, tasks that once took an entire afternoon for humans to complete now take only seconds.
Goldman Sachs estimates that by automating mundane tasks like data entry, document creation, and employee onboarding, AI will reduce the average U.S. employee workload by up to 50%. Some may see this as a threat to the workforce. But it’s also an opportunity to unlock greater human potential.
With an AI-assisted productivity boost, teams can generate more innovative ideas, contribute higher-level thinking, develop more effective workflows, and operate at a faster pace without jeopardizing quality. These are only a few ways AI can make a beneficial impact. Other scenarios include:
1. Personalized Productivity Assistance
As a dedicated professional assistant, AI can help employees and leaders manage their schedules, prioritize tasks, streamline decisions, and draft custom communication of all kinds. With gen AI as a productivity sidekick, you can easily develop an agenda that keeps you on track while producing timely, branded content that aligns with specific audience interests, needs, and preferences.
2. Training and Development
Gen AI is also highly effective at assisting with employee onboarding, training, and career development. The learning-related possibilities are limitless. For instance:
- Digital chatbots that deliver quick answers to common questions and related resources, on demand.
- Dynamic learning paths that map an employee’s competencies to their specific career goals.
- An adaptive learning partner that recommends appropriate courses, resources, and learning experiences to help individuals upskill and stay competitive over time.
3. Accessibility and Inclusion
Many people are familiar with AI’s ability to facilitate real-time transcription by automatically summarizing the text on a page. But it can also include voice-to-text capabilities, image descriptions, gesture recognition, and more. Tools like these help create a more inclusive workplace, ready to support a more diverse talent pool. It also bridges language barriers with real-time language translation, making it easier for teams from different regions to collaborate.
When employees have the time, space, and energy to think outside the box, new opportunities arise that can take your organization to new heights. Sometimes, this starts with AI tools that take collaboration and communication to the next level.
For example, the Association of Union Constructors was struggling with communication tools that were “clunky” and time-consuming to use. When looking for a more efficient way to share timely news with members, they found an AI-powered email platform that dramatically simplified the content development process, and slashed newsletter production time by 50%.
How Gen AI Improves Work Communication
Effective internal communications can directly improve employee engagement and autonomous decision-making while elevating teamwork and collaboration. By adding AI to this mix, organizations can improve efficiency, foster inclusion, and help employees feel more connected with one another and with the organization.
Benefits of Gen AI in Internal Communications
Many gen AI tools are designed to assist people with reliable, real-time writing guidance whenever they develop content. This helps create clearer messaging that focuses on key objectives and priorities. It also improves overall communications in other ways, by:
1. Streamlining the Process
AI has the power to analyze team communication patterns and help identify bottlenecks, miscommunications, or missed opportunities. Also, by suggesting ways to structure and phrase information, an AI sidekick helps develop clear, concise updates that engage busy recipients. As a result, everyone gains ongoing access to the information they need and want in a context they understand. This boosts team cohesion and productivity.
2. Optimizing the Structure
AI can also help drive a more consistent, predictable internal communications cadence. This clarifies expectations and helps deliver messages that are more likely to resonate with employees on the receiving end of content.
3. Personalizing the Experience
Many businesses already realize how effective AI can be when tailoring messages for individuals, based on criteria such as their job role, interests, and communication history. The more personalized the content is, the more engaging it will be for employees.
LRN is a market leader in compliance education solutions. After acquiring a competitor, LRN’s leaders faced the tough task of merging companies, culture, and communications. By relying on an AI-based internal communications platform, LRN developed and delivered a weekly centralized news update to keep the combined workforce in the loop. Now, 96% of employees say these weekly updates are a valuable source of information.
Working In Partnership With AI
Although AI has huge potential — especially to improve workplace communication — it still depends heavily on human knowledge and oversight to be successful. This is why organizations must take responsibility for integrating and configuring AI in a way that ensures data privacy and safeguards against misuse.
You can start by defining several things early in the process. For instance, you’ll want to specify how your organization will apply AI, whether you need a dedicated team to implement and maintain it, how HR and IT teams will be involved in AI governance, and what AI-centered protocols you’ll need to adopt.
Tips for Safeguarding AI at Work
AI is not a replacement for human interaction — it’s a complement to it. When implemented in a balanced way, your organization can evolve into a culture where humans and AI work hand in hand, ensuring that team members move together toward the same goals in a safe, reliable way. Keep these considerations in mind:
1. Embrace, Educate, and Experience
Find the points in your organization that could benefit most from AI — whether it’s in recruiting, onboarding, internal communications, customer service, or a combination of high-priority needs. Invest in the tools that will take you to the next level, but don’t forget to train your employees so everyone gets the most from this technology. Encourage hands-on experience with AI tools. This approach helps teams understand how AI can fit into daily operations in a practical, non-threatening way.
2. Trust But Verify
While ChatGPT and other AI tools can generate human-like output, its foundation lies in human-generated content. This means its responses may not always be accurate or make sense, contextually. Define standards and practices that encourage accuracy and precision. Use AI to craft the content you need, but always add the human element back into the workflow. This can help you spot and resolve “hallucinations” — or whatever AI may have missed when trying to fill gaps in its knowledge.
3. Beware of Bias
Just like humans who enter data, AI can produce biased results. Always review any AI-generated content. Be sure to challenge your expectations and logic to ensure that preliminary and final content deliverables are accurate, relevant, and non-discriminatory. It’s particularly important to involve diverse perspectives in any review process, to help identify and remove bias.
The Bottom Line on Gen AI as a Work Partner
Any company that wants to get AI right will need to invest in ongoing testing, tuning, and adaptation — especially because this technology will continue to evolve. However, by thoughtfully implementing AI tools, organizations can realize significant benefits.
This is a unique opportunity to elevate the way your employees work and interact while saving time and money in the process. Also, by embracing AI before others, your organization can gain a competitive advantage. With so much to gain, it’s worth the time and effort to explore what gen AI can help you accomplish.