Embracing AI and automation: Empowering employees and fueling growth

Following speculation that AI could replace 300 million jobs, it is understandable that employees are apprehensive about this technology

Embracing AI and automation

Following speculation that AI could replace 300 million jobs, it is understandable that employees are apprehensive about this technology. However, combining AI and the human touch will be paramount in 2024 as innovation shifts to implementation. 

Additionally, as an increasing number of businesses look to leverage AI and automation tools,  employees’ skills need to adapt to this shift. Over two-thirds (66%) of Gen Z and millennials – the emerging and existing workforce – agree that they need to update their skill sets to maintain a competitive edge in today’s job market. 

Below, I’ll explore the benefits of AI and how business leaders can encourage their employees to embrace it, as well as hone their skills along the way. 

Harnessing the benefits of AI

In the age of remote and asynchronous work, AI has the power to propel businesses forward and optimise daily operations. Companies across various industries are increasingly leveraging AI to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving business landscape. 

AI can streamline business processes, from assisting with customer service operations to analysing and digesting large datasets. For example, AI chatbots and virtual assistants provide instant and personalised responses to specific queries. As such, they can guide users to relevant FAQs or product pages, enabling self-service and alleviating pressure on stretched customer support teams. Additionally, prescriptive AI analyses data and provides businesses with insights, predictions, and strategies to drive returns. 

These are just a few examples of the multiple benefits AI can offer, but no matter how companies choose to leverage this technology, the common denominator is its time-saving benefits. Ultimately, less time spent on internal processes leaves employees with greater capacity for dynamic and strategic activities. 

Choosing the right AI and automation tools

Navigating the AI technology market can be overwhelming given the number of products available. To cut through the trends and buzzwords, business leaders need to be sure the AI tools they opt for will truly benefit the business.

The first step in a company’s AI journey is to conduct an internal audit to identify any activities that take up time but don’t contribute to revenue-generating outputs. From there, leaders should use the findings to identify which technology provides the right solutions for them.

While the right AI tools enhance productivity, it is important that they are integrated with existing company platforms for a streamlined user experience. For example, data from our Global Productivity Survey shows that workers believe they could save over 10 hours weekly by consolidating their tech stack. Therefore, it’s important to consider whether it is actually necessary to implement AI and other technology tools before embarking on the process. 

Encouraging enthusiasm towards AI and automation 

According to a recent survey, 43% of UK workers are unsure about AI and automation, while 22% have expressed negative sentiments towards them. Although headlines have suggested that robots could replace humans in the workplace, research shows that our jobs aren’t being taken as quickly as we anticipate

AI anxiety among employees is inevitable, but as AI becomes more widely adopted, company leaders must emphasise how it can enhance their daily activities. For example, hosting interactive training days or skills workshops can showcase how AI and automation tools are able to dramatically reduce time spent on mundane tasks and enable employees to focus on more creative areas of their work. 

Businesses also need to encourage best practices, optimise use, and counter any potential risks. In order to achieve this, leaders can set up a dedicated task force to construct internal use policies and provide AI learning incentives. Both of these ideas not only ensure employees are using AI effectively, but also give them the opportunity to continuously enhance their skill sets, setting up companies for long-term success.

As a growing number of businesses explore the capabilities of AI and automation, company leaders should encourage employees to embrace the new technology, especially given its pivotal role in shaping the future of work. As a byproduct, familiarising workers with such technology helps reduce AI anxiety and eliminate concerns, leading to a more motivated and engaged workforce. 

Will Hale
Will Hale

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