The push/pull challenge of change management is never easy to embrace. After all, resisting disruption is human nature. But the process of unlearning and relearning is often a powerful path to progress. And with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) at work, this is an especially important time to help your team get on board with AI.
In only a few short years, AI has shifted from a futuristic buzzword to a force that is revolutionizing how businesses operate in endless ways. For instance, many companies already rely on AI to help boost efficiency, cut costs, facilitate collaboration, spark creativity, improve decision-making, and enhance customer experiences. But AI also continues to raise legitimate concerns about privacy, ethics, fairness, and other serious issues.
The Reality of AI at Work
With so much at stake, business and HR leaders must ensure that employees are prepared to embrace AI successfully. You’ll want to stay aware of advancements on an ongoing basis, so you can make better decisions about which AI tools and solutions will be most beneficial for your team.
As AI continues to find its way into all aspects of business operations, it’s also important to consider its implications from a broader HR perspective. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll soon be asked to help integrate AI into your business in one capacity or another. As a leader, you play a critical role in identifying and bridging any gaps between humans and technology. That’s no small task. After all, even though AI promises tremendous upside, it also brings plenty of potential issues.
This raises a critical question: How do you get employees on board with AI while addressing their concerns and overcoming any barriers to a successful rollout? This short guide offers some suggestions…
5 Ways to Get Your Teams On Board With AI
1. Share Your Reasons for Integrating AI
A predicted global AI market of over $500 billion may be enough to convince ambitious leaders to sign up for new AI-powered solutions. But others are likely to be less enthusiastic if it means they could jeopardize their team’s security. So before you invest, take time to evaluate how AI fits into your HR and business technology stack, and build a coherent business case for change.
Once you’re confident about the benefits, you’ll want to communicate early and often about your plans, no matter how extensive the scope may be. Think about the change from an employee’s standpoint, and develop communications, accordingly.
Often, to get people on board with AI, it helps to address the most important questions upfront, in a proactive way. For instance, focus on issues your teams are facing, and discuss how AI can be a key asset in helping your organization tackle these challenges. Be sure to emphasize how this approach can improve workflows, enhance daily operations, and add value by supporting your organization’s mission.
Articulating specific AI benefits is crucial, whether it is to automate repetitive tasks, free up teams to focus on more strategic work, or generate more actionable, data-driven insights. Also, be sure to offer feedback loops, so everyone has an opportunity to ask questions, suggest ideas, and contribute to ongoing improvement. This encourages everyone to feel part of the process.
By promoting transparency about AI’s role and purpose you can build a solid foundation of trust across your staff. What’s more, when the roll-out eventually begins, you’ll receive fewer negative reactions, because employees will already know what to expect.
2. Emphasize How Employees Add Value
Many people are rightfully worried about the rapid growth in investment and influence surrounding artificial intelligence. Naturally, this translates into concerns among employees who will be directly and indirectly affected by AI-related initiatives.
Therefore, it’s wise to anticipate any pressing employee concerns and proactively fill the void with reliable information. For example, you can offer online forums, live events, and related content that explains how AI-driven tools work side-by-side with people to enhance their roles, rather than replace them.
Truth be told, AI cannot replicate the experiences, complexity, and nuances of the human brain. So you’ll want to let concerned employees know that you understand and share their perspective.
In fact, experts advise organizations not to fully entrust AI with highly technical services or those requiring constant human supervision and skill. For example, relying on an automated bot to replace a human account manager is destined to leave huge gaps and errors in consultative service logic, quality, and continuity. The same concerns apply to methodical, strategic cybersecurity services like red teaming or penetration testing, which require deep human understanding and execution to achieve the best results.
Addressing these worries head-on will make the inevitable transition much easier.
3. Put People at the Heart of AI Deployment
Don’t just talk about AI and implement it behind closed doors. Actively involve your workforce in selecting, piloting, and integrating new AI tools and systems. Engaging staff from across departments helps them feel invested in an initiative’s success, rather than threatened by it.
Formally ask employees to test new solutions, so they become part of the implementation process. Also, provide details about the impact you expect this technology will have on their daily responsibilities. In addition, be sure to underscore why and how this technology aligns with your company’s values and culture. Then be sure you can support this agenda with thoughtful implementation and ongoing performance measurement.
Keep in mind that AI initiatives don’t end with the initial implementation and deployment. The best solutions are managed on an iterative basis by employees who continue to monitor, test, report, evaluate, and improve any process you intend to improve.
Let teams take ownership of understanding the uses, risks, and outcomes of new technology. This builds crucial first-hand knowledge of how these tools can augment their workflows, which further motivates people to get on board with AI.
4. Upskill Employees
From the outset, make it a priority to develop workforce AI capabilities. Helping employees expand their skills boosts adoption and eases anxiety about AI’s role in their daily roles.
Focus on in-depth training in AI fundamentals, as well as role-specific guidance on the practical use of AI software and tools. Also remember to focus on relevant “human” skills like adaptability, that enable people to thrive alongside AI in their unique roles. This ensures that individuals and teams, alike, will benefit from the upskilling process.
For high-quality, accessible learning experiences, consider investing in interactive content like simulations. This makes the learning process more engaging and immersive. It also facilitates timely feedback, so you can easily identify and resolve specific knowledge gaps on an individual basis.
Also, be sure to adjust performance metrics to accommodate AI-assisted work. You’ll want to establish fresh, fair criteria that align with new and modified roles, tasks, and projects augmented by AI.
5. Implement AI Responsibly
AI deserves a thoughtful implementation strategy. A simple “launch and leave” approach isn’t enough to ensure success. Here’s why: Salesforce recently found that 54% of workers think generative AI will advance their career, but 62% need upskilling to use it effectively.
Rather than imposing a sudden “clean sweep” change, you can encourage gradual AI adoption that helps people become accustomed to new processes over time. Along the way, they can naturally build competence and confidence. In addition, you’ll need time to communicate and reinforce how you’ll govern AI-supported activities.
You may want to run pilot tests or beta versions of AI tools before deploying them broadly across your organization. Encouraging people to evaluate these solutions and provide honest feedback will help determine if crucial elements are missing, so you can consider enhancements or alternatives. You may even want to make approval of a proposed AI solution dependent on employee evaluations.
Regardless, HR and line managers will want to establish appropriate performance benchmarks based on expectations for any new solution. Then, continually monitor team AI usage, solicit ongoing feedback, and offer assistance to optimize performance before, during, and after deployment.
A Final Note On AI Adoption
AI has established a prominent and undeniable presence in organizations that business and HR leaders can no longer afford to ignore. With a thoughtful strategy, HR and business leaders can provide a pathway that helps employees get on board with AI more smoothly and successfully.