AI Used In Most Organisations, But Staff Unaware

Understanding the New European Union AI Law

New research from UKG finds that AI is now used by majority of organisations, but most staff are unaware of it

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used by a majority of organisations, but staff are often completely unaware of its use.

This is according to new research from US-based HR, payroll, and workforce management software provider UKG, which surveyed more than 4,000 employees (including C-suite executives) in 10 countries.

The finding that most businesses are already using AI mirrors a similar finding in September after tech research firm Slalom found 84 percent of businesses had already begun using AI in some capacity.

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Image credit: Tara Winstead/Pexels

UKG findings

And now the research from UKG found that while 63 percent of employees say AI would increase job satisfaction and engagement, 54 percent have no idea how their company is using it.

This disconnect underscores the need for greater transparency from companies using AI and more insight into the benefits of prioritising AI at work to help build trust with employees, increase productivity, and improve business outcomes, noted UKG.

The research from UKG found for example that nearly 78 percent of C-suite leaders say their organisation is using AI today.

Indeed, executives estimate 56 percent of their workforce is directly using AI to automate or augment job tasks.

But only 42 percent of employees globally think they’re using AI-powered devices in their day-to-day work.

Outside of work, just 44 percent of employees globally believe they interact with AI in their personal lives.

This is despite at least 90 percent say they have used at least one of the following: maps and navigation (66 percent), predictive product/entertainment suggestions, such as in Netflix and Spotify (50 percent), text editors or autocorrect (47 percent), virtual home assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant (46 percent), or intelligent chatbots (31 percent).

And the UKG research found that employees want to embrace – not run from – AI, despite Hollywood depictions of AI systems taking over from humans.

AI caveats

So the UKG research shows that companies are aggressively experimenting with and implementing the technology, even as governments in the UK, the EU, the US and elsewhere express caution over its possible effects on jobs and misinformation and attempt to formulate a regulatory framework.

The good news that the UKG found that more and more employees say they’re open to using AI at work – with some critical caveats.

The UKG study found that 3 out of 4 employees would be more accepting/excited about AI if their company was more transparent about the direct ways AI could improve their workflow (78 percent), and how their organisation is using AI (75 percent).

Greater transparency around AI at work paves the way for increased trust among employees and companies, a key component of building a great workplace culture, said the firm.

“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,” said Dan Schawbel, managing partner at the firm Workplace Intelligence, which partnered with UKG for the study.

“However, 54 percent of people say they have ‘no idea’ how their company is using AI, and that lack of transparency is a real problem,” said Schawbel. “Organisations 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.”

As for those employees willing to embrace AI at work, they say it would increase their:

  • Engagement/job satisfaction (63 percent);
  • Willingness to go above and beyond (55 percent);
  • Overall happiness (54 percent);
  • Desire to stay with their company long term (49 percent); and
  • Trust in their company/leadership (48 percent).