Women working with AI on their workplace

Adopting AI Tools in Your Workplace: 5 Things to Consider

AI in your workplace. A short while ago, you would only expect to see those words in sci-fi books or flashy movies; now, they have become bona fide assets to no less than 75% of desk workers across the globe, according to Microsoft and LinkedIn’s 2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report. This sounds huge – and it is. 

With the exponential growth of AI tools for businesses in terms of availability, capabilities, quality, reliability, and much more, professionals whose work depends on computers have adopted them in droves.  But how can adopting AI tools in the workplace benefit your business? What key factors should you consider before implementing new tools? In this article, we explore these questions, making sure you’re not only getting the right tools but getting them for the right reasons. 

How AI is Changing the Game 

AI is transforming the workplace in numerous ways, from automating routine tasks to enhancing decision-making processes and improving efficiency. It’s no surprise that this is having a drastic impact on the work dynamics of companies of all sizes and industries. For some, it could mean something as simple as reduced time spent on certain routine tasks, or as radical as a full reshape of the organizational structure of a business (depending on their profile).  

Advantages of AI in the workplace 

For most, AI in the workplace offers many practical benefits, including: 

  • Automating business processes, like generating scheduled reports on employee time-off balances, department budgets, absenteeism, and more, with built-in trends and insights. 
  • Analyzing data and providing insights, such as reviewing résumés and making a shortlist of candidates based on criteria provided, to help HR executives browse through hundreds of résumés more effectively. 
  • Creating visual, written, or audio content, like generating a presentation for a company meeting in a fraction of the time it used to take. 
  • Communicating with internal and external stakeholders, like using customer service chatbots to answer common questions. 

Key Considerations Before Adopting AI in Your Workplace

As a seasoned HR professional, you are likely among the 75% of businesses looking into adopting AI tools in the workplace, and you might even be leading the charge to integrate these cutting-edge tools to keep your company competitive in today’s market. If so, we’ve got you covered. 

Here are five steps to implementing this emerging tech:  

  • Define your objective  

This may sound obvious, even silly, but trust us, it’s anything but. Considering the reasons why you might need AI is key to making sure you are aware of the challenges you are facing, and that you are looking for real solutions. Ask yourself “why do I want to use AI?” Then, consider whether you have some written plan or roadmap that could help you get there. 

Another important aspect is that this technology doesn’t need to be adopted on a grand scale all at once; in fact, this can be a classic less-is-more situation, where a trial run may allow you to identify any issues and adjust as necessary before going companywide. You can also try AI in the workplace on a limited basis to see whether it provides value before making a long-term commitment. 

The next thing you want to do is to check on the competition. Are they adopting AI? Is it improving their service? Imagine this: your competitors use customer service chatbots to reduce wait times, but you do not; as a consequence, customers might switch to them, as they provide faster customer support. In this scenario, you might want to quickly sort out how to get that going, so that you don’t lag behind in offering superior customer service right from your website. 

Finally, whatever objective you choose, make sure it properly aligns with your broader business goals. This is essential to maximize your chances of generating positive outcomes in company growth, therefore getting a meaningful return on your investment.  

  • Find the right AI tool  

Once you know your objective, you can start looking for the right AI tool. It’s important to ensure the tool has the capabilities required for the project or task and that you take the time to understand how the tools works; in other words, do your research and read the fine print! For example, if the capabilities you’re looking for are part of an expensive bundle that brings in tons of tools you’re never going to use, search for alternatives that are better suited to your specific needs, instead of simply going for it. 

It’s also important to remember no AI tool is perfect or infallible. It‘s a known fact that most AI products out there have “hallucinations” every now and then, where they produce factually incorrect information. Others have produced biased results against specific groups, which could result in discrimination and all the HR headaches that come with it. Want to steer clear of all that? Conduct thorough research to gather all the necessary information for a comprehensive impact assessment before adopting AI in the workplace. 

  • Conduct an impact assessment 

Before adopting AI tools, run an assessment to understand how to integrate the tool into your organization and the effect it will have. This step builds on your previous research to provide a comprehensive overview of the AI tool, its functions, and how your organization can use it. Get the appropriate stakeholders, such as the IT department, to collaborate on this project to ensure effects on all areas of the business are accounted for. This is important because it goes beyond the technical aspects of setting up new tools: it is the moment you get everyone to reflect on what kind of effects should be expected, and how best to deal with them. 

A key part of this assessment is identifying risks associated with the tool and measures to address them. Why? Because anticipating risk reduces the chances of problems along the way! You also need to determine whether you have the necessary resources to establish and maintain the AI tool. You’ll have to answer important questions. What data does the tool need? Where can it get data from? How secure is that data flow? What steps does the team need to take to ensure privacy rules are followed? 

You also need to consider whether employees have the necessary knowledge to implement and maintain the tool and, if they don’t, what kind of training they need to receive. This is a vital step to ensure you adopt and use AI in the workplace responsibly and effectively, meeting and exceeding the high expectations that this kind of project raises, with minimal roadblocks and disruption to your usual workflows. 

  • Establish rules for use 

When introducing AI tools in the workplace, it’s crucial to establish clear rules for their use, and to document and communicate them to the employees. There are four important aspects to this step: 

  1. First, you need to determine what legislation applies. For example, privacy legislation regulates the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, which affects your ability to use it in AI tools. Governments and regulatory bodies may also publish guidelines for the use of AI, such as the Guide on the Use of Generative AI from the federal government, so be sure to do your homework and be up to date with the legal aspects of this project. 
  2. Once you know what legislation applies, you can establish rules for use, including who can use the AI tool and how it can be used, so it might be a good idea to come up with a clear hierarchy diagram. Your organizational chart can be a good place to start, but take roles and their needs into account, too, so that you don’t make decisions purely on rank.
  3. Your impact assessment should identify the potential for misuse, and violations should be addressed in your policy, including consequences for them; as you would expect, you must ensure relevant policies and procedures are transparent about AI use.
  4. Bear in mind that the effects might go beyond the employees. Case in point: Ontario’s Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, which will require employers to disclose AI use during the hiring process, so be sure you have no blind spots when rolling out this technology. This requirement is expected to come into force on a future date to be determined, so consider the impacts now to prepare for this obligation.  
  • Implement, monitor, and evaluate  

Finally, with your rules for using AI in the workplace established, you can create a detailed implementation plan setting out a timeline and assigning responsibilities for implementing the AI tool. Draw on the work you have already done in your impact assessment and build on it, highlighting key project aspects like deadlines, milestones, objectives, training, and more.  

Be prepared to answer questions for your audience once the AI tools go live. For example, job applicants may be concerned about bias discrimination if AI is used in the hiring process; usually, the best way to go about this and other concerns is to be transparent about AI use and the measures you have put in place to mitigate risks and ensure fair processes.  

You should also monitor the AI implementation plan and ensure the tool is working as intended, making any adjustments as necessary, again with the help of internal partners like IT. Once the rollout finishes, you should carry out an evaluation to determine whether the tool has fulfilled the objective it was adopted for. If it was a trial, this is a moment when you determine whether to continue using it. Evaluating your implementation plan is key to determining whether you have successfully implemented AI or if it needs to be adjusted in some way – or cancelled altogether. 

Final thoughts 

By the looks of it, AI is here to stay, so making detailed implementation plans is a necessity for the HR professional moving forward. While adopting AI tools in the workplace will be inevitable in the foreseeable future, taking time to consider exactly what your company needs and how to make the most of the tools you choose can be the detail that sets your organization apart from the competition. 

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