CIOs Can Help Secure Employee Buy-In for AI at the Workplace

With a growing number of companies choosing to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools into their operations, chief information officers (CIOs) can help employers train their staff in AI and secure employee buy-in for the new technology.

Despite the potential benefits AI may have for corporations and their bottom lines, the disruptive technology isn’t always viewed positively by some employees, who may see artificial intelligence as a potential disruptor to their employment. As a result, IT leaders and even HR departments will have to take great pains to sell AI to a workforce that may not be receptive to the ongoing rollout of AI-enabled devices and AI applications to ensure corporate investment in AI isn’t for naught.

A recent Insight survey found that while a large portion of employees (75%) see adopting AI-powered tools as critical to remaining competitive, 45% believed artificial intelligence could eventually make their skills less relevant to their employers. Many employees exhibited mixed feelings about letting artificial intelligence into their workplaces, with 35% feeling cautious about letting the technology into the office and 43% fearing that AI could cost them their jobs.

On the other hand, 41% expressed curiosity over artificial intelligence, and 21% were excited about the implications of working with AI tools, which is great news for employers that have begun rolling out such products.

Furthermore, a 2024 Stanford AI Index Report found that artificial intelligence is still no match for humans in cognitive function. CommonSpirit Health CIO Daniel Barchi says this is a small comfort for folks who are afraid of losing their jobs to AI. Barchi says that rather than AI replacing human workers, employees who use artificial intelligence will replace those who don’t.

Arun Chandrasekaran, an emerging technology analyst at Gartner, says concerns raised by employees in the Insight poll suggest that CIOs should be the ones to advocate for AI in their companies. He says that chief information officers should be ‘”change agents” with a culture of experimentation. Barchi adds that the CIO should also help demystify artificial intelligence to employees, show its utility and explain how the company plans to safely adopt AI.

According to Barchi, chief information officers are “company executives and change agents first, and technologists second,” with a responsibility to fund and implement the development and deployment of artificial intelligence tools.

IT leaders should also train employees on how to use AI tools as well as craft policies and guidelines regarding their use post-deployment to facilitate smooth integration. Companies such as Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) are already showing how AI can support employees to do a better job while cutting the costs of operation.

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