New Study: 8 of 10 Seniors Execs Are Using AI “Today”

A new study out this week shows C-suite executives are using artificial intelligence applications in their companies (and at home) on a daily basis – even though their staffers believe the rush to AI isn’t exactly understood at work.

The new report from payroll and workforce management software company UKG shows there’s a likely disconnect between how management and the rank-and-file employees view AI.

In short, nobody’s throwing shade at the automated tool technology, but team members want their bosses to at least pump the breaks and explain the strategy before deploying AI implementations.

Let’s go to the numbers.

— While 78% of senior executives say their companies are using AI “in some capacity”, 56% of execs say their team members are “directly using AI to automate tasks or augment their capabilities.”

— Away from the office, 44% of staffers say they “interact “with AI in their personal lives. Yet 90% of workers say they’ve used at least one of the following:

• Maps and navigation (66%),
• Predictive product/entertainment suggestions, such as in Netflix and Spotify (50%)
• Text editors or autocorrect (47%)
• Virtual home assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant (46%), or intelligent chatbots (31%).

The vast majority of workers do see ample benefits from AI on the job (75% of employees say AI makes them “more efficient and productive” at work. Yet the same percentage say they want the C-suite to be “more transparent” about how the company uses the technology and how they immerse AI into the workforce.

“AI is already making millions of jobs easier — employees just don’t know it,” the report states. “This disconnect underscores the need for greater transparency from companies using AI and more insight into the benefits of prioritizing AI at work to help build trust with employees, increase productivity, and improve business outcomes.”

It’s All About Workplace Culture

Study researchers also say when executives are more open and forthcoming about how, where, and why AI tools are being implemented in the workplace, that scenario “paves the way for increased trust among employees and companies.”

This outlook should be a major cog in the creation of workplace culture, UKG says.

“AI is here, and it’s already providing some amazing benefits for the workforce — from automating tedious tasks to answering common questions to helping crunch millions of data points in mere seconds,” says Dan Schawbel, managing partner at the firm Workplace Intelligence, which partnered with UKG for the study. “However, 54% of people say they have ‘no idea’ how their company is using AI, and that lack of transparency is a real problem.”

“Organizations must be more upfront about how they’re using AI in the workplace if they want a competitive advantage and want to earn, and keep, the trust of their employees,” Schawbel adds.

While many company leaders aren’t on board with the AI/transparency issue, they’re forging ahead, anyway. They tell UKG that AI is “good for business” basically in two ways:

• 51% of the C-suite say employees have benefited the most (e.g., routine work tasks or other elements of their jobs are simplified)
• 49% of the C-suite says companies have benefited the most (e.g., financial returns have increased as a result of AI use).

“Many businesses are finally realizing what great workplaces have known for a long time now: AI, when used ethically, responsibly, and transparently, has the potential to be everyone’s favorite co-worker,” said Hugo Sarrazin, chief product and technology officer at UKG. “AI is nothing new — we’ve been using AI at UKG since 2015 to help businesses achieve better outcomes.”

“What is new is the transformational potential of generative AI to reshape employee experiences and provide timely, insightful feedback and recommendations with context that empower companies to create a great place to work for all people,” Sarrazin adds.

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