By: Ilana Jucha
Blog 1 minute read

Barriers to adopting AI: Getting employee buy-in

October 7, 2021

Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of technological business disruption. 

McKinsey’s survey on the adoption of artificial intelligence reports that telecom, high-tech, and financial-services firms are sectors leading the way in adopting AI. However, the survey observes that across all industries, AI is taking hold. 

At Stat-Market, we have seen firsthand how even traditional industries, such as insurance, are seeing significant business value from implementing data intelligence systems. 

When we look beyond a business perspective, we can see the positive impact AI can have on a societal level; from advances in healthcare diagnostics to the establishment of digital educational infrastructures, AI has the power to shape every aspect of our lives.

While many companies are rushing to adopt AI and Machine-Learning (ML) into their organizational processes, they still encounter several barriers when thinking about implementing these technologies. 

Advanced analytics models that have the capacity to replicate the cognitive patterns of humans are not for the faint-hearted. Professionals often see AI and ML as the unknown, difficult to comprehend, and a headache to implement. 

In this new blog series, we look at some of the common obstacles companies face when adopting AI solutions and provide some practice steps on overcoming these challenges. 

First, let’s start by addressing the concerns of the most important people in your organization – your employees. 

Employees: Will we lose our jobs!? 

“AI will take my job!” is a common concern we often encounter. 

Many employees express concern about the potential of AI to jeopardize their job security. 

What happens when a machine can mimic the cognitive ability of a human and execute tasks that only humans could have once performed? 

While it is true that AI has the potential to take over many aspects of modern work as we know it, this is not necessarily something to fear. 

Fervent outcries that technology will take over our jobs is not a new thing. Over the last century, numerous technological advancements have created huge shifts in work paradigms. We can take a quick look back in time to when computers were invented and see the major disruption this caused on the way we work. Hindsight shows us the major benefits this technology has brought to our life. Their utility to keep us working during the current pandemic only serves to exemplify the necessity of the synergy between technology and humans in the worksphere.  

AI and ML will trigger the next evolution of the job market – this is inevitable. Deloitte’s State of AI in Enterprise report notes that 71% of AI adopters state that AI and ML has already changed their job roles or skills. A report on the future of jobs by the 2018 World Economic Forum estimates that around 75 million jobs roles will go extinct as a result of new technologies, emerging tasks will generate an upward of 130 million new job roles. 

Data intelligence systems will allow employees to focus on more complex and stimulating aspects of their job roles while reducing time spent on mundane tasks. Repetitive and administrative tasks which can often consume vast segments of the day can now be automated and optimized through AI. 

Deloitte reports that, in general, companies do not favor automation over their employees. In its State of AI Enterprise report, it was noted that when organizations were asked about the most important AI benefit for them, ‘reducing headcount’ was the least popular option. Instead, most companies reported that ‘freeing up workers to be more creative while automating tasks’ as one of the most important objectives for their organization.  

Deloitte researchers conclude that companies that utilize AI primarily for reducing costs will fail to capture value from AI in the long term. 

When AI is adopted in the right way, employees should see improvement in their work, creating a healthier bottom line.

Getting employees on the AI train  

So how can you get your employees to understand the value AI will bring to their jobs: 

Start with strategy: 

From an organizational perspective, consider the mantra that AI is not here to replace your employees but instead will amplify their capabilities. Business leaders need to develop a clear strategy and vision of how AI adoption will impact their business and employees; this strategy needs to be effectively communicated to employees to understand how digital transformation will affect their work.

Foster a digital culture: 

Consider ways in which you can promote innovation in your organization and get employees actively involved and excited about the process of digital transformation.  Employees that have had a positive exposure to technology are more susceptible to adapting to change. Managers can promote digital transformation in many ways, including giving employees access to information, setting out a clear vision of what digital innovation looks like, and ensuring change management is executed correctly. 

Educate employees and upskill talent:

Educate your employees about the reality of AI and help them overcome their suspicions of the technology. Provide your employees with the knowledge, tools, and training to work with AI and improve their skill set. 

Celebrate and communicate milestones:

As you go along your AI journey, it’s essential to share the progress and successes of your transformation with your employees. Demonstrating ROI and value derived from your AI implementation is key to getting your employees excited about how this technology has positively impacted your business and their day-to-day work. 

Final thoughts 

AI has the potential to overhaul many of the roles and skills needed in the workforce. This can be a scary prospect for many employees unfamiliar with AI and machine learning mechanisms and implications. Business leaders need to develop a clear pathway into what AI adoption looks like for their organization and reassure their employees that digital transformation will positively impact their roles and tasks. Through clear guidance and support, organizations can help impede any challenges that will arise when employees are required to adopt AI into their job roles. 

To learn more about successfully adopting AI into your organization, get in touch with Stat-Market today.