Artificial intelligence, and all of the tools that come with it, is corporate finance’s hottest talking point as of late. While the constantly changing technological landscape can make quantifying the value of human work difficult, those who are embracing AI without considering the impact on their workforce may be making a big mistake. As Gartner leaders spoke about at their latest CFO and finance leadership event, CFOs must create an environment where workers undertand the value of the tech isn't to replace them, but to augment their impact on the organization.
Additionally, leaders must train staff from being the doers of certain types of work, to the operators of the machines that will perform those functions, but the transition is difficult. Multigenerational workforces, working in tandem, have different sets of experience and backgrounds, making a technological overhaul cumbersome. The ability for those to change how they do their jobs on a whim, all while putting faith in a technology they may not even fully understand, can be a team morale killer.
Based on data from KPMG’s generative AI survey of 225 executives, leadership desires AI adoption. However, they realize AI will alienate some employees. Nearly 39% of executives told surveyors they believe AI will result in fewer human interactions, and they're fearful that further limits on human interactions will negatively impact their workforce.
AI’s Impact on Human Psyche
Mental health care in the workplace has risen to the forefront in the past few years, and companies have explored ways to preserve health and wellness alongside productivity. AI, according to some, may set back mental health initiatives, even if many of those initiatives are going unused and become wasted resources.
Nearly one-third (32%) of business leaders believe AI will create additional stress in their employees. Job insecurity and uncertainty about the future are still primary tressors, but business leaders may be best keeping their employees in the loop about their technology integration to assure their value to the company vision.
AI and Risk
While data found that nearly three-quarters (72%) of executives say AI can play a critical role in maintaining and building stakeholder trust, various risk factors must be identified before implementation. A rush to incorporate AI may expose organizations to unwarranted risk, as almost half (45%) of executives believe stakeholder trust can be tarnished by unimplemented risk management strategy and tools.
Data shows nearly half of the leadership (47%) say they are in the initial stages of evaluating risk and mitigation strategies in AI incorporation. But nearly a quarter (22%) haven't even started evaluating risk and mitigation strategies around these new technologies.
If leaders can balance the implementation with effective risk management, confidence in successful implementation is there. Nearly 79% of executives believe organizations that incorporate generative AI technology like ChatGPT will have a competitive advantage in risk management compared to those who do not.
Despite an awareness of the AI implementation risk, few companies have people working specifically addressing these concerns. Data shows only 6% of leaders have teams dedicated to calculating and creating risk mitigation strategies around AI. Twenty-five percent say they are in the process of creating these teams, but nothing has come to fruition yet.
Other Impacts on People
Executives are most optimistic about the opportunities to increase productivity (72%), change the way people work (66%), and encourage innovation (62%). These initiatives, many of which were desired prior to the release of technology like ChatGPT towards the end of the last year, have been continuing to be selling points in the conversations around AI integration.
Business leaders who are hoping to take this technology forward within their organizations must be cognizant of the thoughts, concerns, understanding, and resulting demeanor of their employees in regard to the incorporation of this type of technology. Balancing both worker morale and AI incorporation may be the test that separates the best business leaders from the rest in tomorrow’s corporate world.