AI at Work: It's Here and It's Working, Whether You Know It or Not
Don't call it a takeover, AI's been here for years. A new global study from HR, payroll, and workforce management software provider UKG reveals that many people use AI daily both at home and at work, and it's already making millions of jobs easier - employees just don't know it. This disconnect underscores the need for greater transparency from companies using AI and more insight into the benefits of prioritizing AI at work to help build trust with employees, increase productivity, and improve business outcomes.
UKG surveyed more than 4,000 employees in 10 countries, including C-suite executives and people managers1, about their real and perceived use of AI. According to the study:
Outside of work, just 44% of employees globally believe they interact with AI in their personal lives, even though at least 90% say they've used at least one of the following: maps and navigation (66%), predictive product/entertainment suggestions, such as in Netflix and Spotify (50%), text editors or autocorrect (47%), virtual home assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant (46%), or intelligent chatbots (31%).
Employees Want to Embrace - Not Run From - AI
Despite prevailing Hollywood depictions of AI systems taking over humans, 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%), and how their organization is using AI (75%). 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.
"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. However, 54% of people say they have 'no idea' how their company is using AI, and that lack of transparency is a real problem," said Dan Schawbel, managing partner at the firm Workplace Intelligence, which partnered with UKG for the study. "Organizations 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:
Executives Recognize Advantages of AI at Work
Companies and employees already embracing AI in the workplace recognize the difference maker it can be. Approximately 3 out of 4 people using AI at work say it:
Moreover, 71% of C-suite leaders say increasing/advancing their use of AI is either a high or medium priority for their organization, citing the competitive advantage AI can bring. In fact, 62% of executives say they are at least slightly concerned that their company isn't moving fast enough with AI.
There's little question in executives' minds that AI is good for business and for people, but they're split on who it's better for:
"Many businesses are finally realizing what great workplaces have known for a long time now: AI, when used ethically, responsibly, and transparently, has the potential to be everyone's favorite co-worker," said Hugo Sarrazin, chief product and technology officer at UKG. "AI is nothing new - we've been using AI at UKG since 2015 to help businesses achieve better outcomes. What is new is the transformational potential of generative AI to reshape employee experiences and provide timely, insightful feedback and recommendations with context that empower companies to create a great place to work for all people."
Where Does AI See Itself in Five Years?
Executives at companies using AI today estimate that 70% of their total workforce will use AI to automate or augment some of their job tasks by 2028, according to the UKG study. Even executives at companies not using AI today estimate that 20% of their workforce will use AI to automate or augment some of their job tasks within the next five years.
At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion great workplaces and build lifelong partnerships with our customers to show what's possible when businesses invest in their people. One of the world's leading HCM cloud companies today, UKG and our Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps 80,000 organizations around the globe and across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees' needs beyond just work. To learn more, visit ukg.com.
Footnote 1: Survey Methodology - Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Walr from August 16 to September 4, 2023. In total, 4,200 employees in nine countries completed the survey. For the U.S. only, the study included not only employees but also managers and C-suite leaders. Responses were gathered from 1,800 total workers in the U.S. (600 employees, 600 managers, and 600 C-suite leaders), 1,000 employees in Australia/New Zealand, and 200 employees in each of the following countries: Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the U.K. The survey explored issues around AI in the workplace, burnout and time use at work, leadership types and trust areas, and productivity.
Copyright 2023 UKG Inc. All rights reserved. For a full list of UKG trademarks, please visit ukg.com/trademarks. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners. All specifications are subject to change.
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