The Ways AI Can Work for Work: The Workforce Institute Weigh-In

The Workforce Institute Weigh-In for September 2023: With AI increasingly built into workplace solutions and the rise of large language models such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, what are the best/possible use cases for generative AI (GenAI) to help people at work? 
“It’s clear GenAI can make us more productive, but that’s not nearly as exciting as the possibility that it can make us wiser. GenAI coaches can potentially check for relevant research on a topic, identify cognitive biases, and offer alternatives to our routine options. Once plugged into our everyday work, they can be machines of loving grace, looking over our shoulders, and noticing if we are getting stressed or sloppy or overlooking important tasks. In discussing this with [my fellow advisory board member] John Frehse, he said, ‘So, you are suggesting that machines can make us better people?’ Yes, John, that’s exactly right.” — David Creelman, CEO, Creelman Research 
“‘Best’ is not achievable with GenAI. Because of the framework and how it’s built, it will constantly improve with the various data sets it learns. I believe the most probable or viable option is to utilize GenAI to help recommend and prescribe information that is consumable for the decision makers — specifically managers. Because of our reliance on managers fighting the battle at the helm with production, GenAI will help revolutionize the opportunity to be intentional with their decisions and their people. I don’t expect everyone to be a data scientist. However, I do see GenAI making data easier to consume, leading to proactive decision-making and increasing capacity to creating memorable experiences for employees.” — Chas Fields, co-host, The People Purpose Podcast 
“David Creelman and I have long debated the virtues and vices of the AI future [as mentioned above]. Although these new technologies can make us better, missing data sets can create dangerous outcomes. How we hire, and sometimes fire, talent is becoming more reliant on evaluating these datasets. What happens when not all the data is available? Scraping LinkedIn won’t accurately measure an employee’s passion or dedication to a job, nor will any diagnostic. Human engagement in the human-capital process is critical, and, although AI can make it easier, it cannot completely replace genuine leaders. Not yet.” — John Frehse, senior managing director, Ankura 
“When thinking about GenAI in the HR and employment field, areas that are being considered are generally embedded in some form of employee self-services, such as programmatic on-demand translation services for all employee communications, comprehensive education for selection of employee-welfare benefits, personal performance management and career-progression advising, sourcing, screening, and skills matching of applicants along with auto-routing of applicants for open positions based on their CV information, and employee-verification processes. Additionally, policy and procedure creation, retaining and skills development, data analytics, roadmap creation for workflows and applying best practices, and the list goes on. One subtle opportunity exists for HR professionals. HR professionals who embrace and become skilled with GenAI tools sooner rather than later — some are already doing so — and ultimately leverage those skills by improving outcomes for employees and the services HR delivers to the organization, will tend to ensure their longer-term employment and future marketability, as opposed to those who are late or really late adopters.” — Dennis Miller, associate vice president, HR and benefits administration, The Claremont Colleges 
“GenAI in the workplace feels scary because of the possibility for ‘evil’ uses like cheating, lying, fraud, and spreading of inaccurate information. However, when used with integrity, it can be an invaluable tool that saves time and resources. And, since it isn't going anywhere, it is better for us to keep educating ourselves and advocating for ethical use than to fight a losing batter against it. No matter one’s work responsibilities in the organization, there are ways GenAI (like ChatGPT) can be used to help save time and be more efficient. It can create checklists and reminders of daily, weekly, or monthly tasks to make sure deadlines are met. It can also be used to help with scheduling work shifts and meetings to help avoid conflicts and ensure optimal coverage. It can provide translation, pronunciation guidance, and practice common vocabulary in environments where employees speak different languages. It can draft and review emails, messages, and reports to make sure communications are clear, concise, and correct. There are free versions of GenAI software for desktop and mobile devices that can bring real value to individuals and companies to those that are willing and diligent with its use. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!” — Sarah Morgan, director of equity and inclusion, Humareso 
“GenAI can positively impact workplace wellbeing by reducing stress by automating repetitive and mundane tasks. It can reduce workloads by allowing employees to focus on more meaningful and creative aspects of their job. Additionally, GenAI can aid in continuous learning and skill development by providing a baseline for employees to learn, adapt, and improve their skills — contributing to their personal and professional development. There’s also a benefit when workers use AI in managing schedules, generating content, and automating emails. Employees can better manage their time, resulting in an improved work-life balance. Finally, by providing suggestions and developing email drafts, GenAI can help employees get started on tasks, overcome initial inertia or writer’s block, and communicate more effectively with colleagues, customers, and leaders.” — Laurie Ruettimann, host, Punk Rock HR podcast