4 Strategies for Prioritizing Employee Experience to Maximize AI Benefits

4 Strategies for Prioritizing Employee Experience to Maximize AI Benefits

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, it’s no longer a question of if organizations will embrace artificial intelligence (AI), but when. Already, nearly all business leaders have AI initiatives on their agenda, recognizing its power to unlock new efficiencies and innovation.

However, organizations that fail to fully embrace AI risk being left behind – echoing the cautionary tales of those slow to cloud adoption a decade ago; just as organizations missed significant opportunities by not shifting from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud before the pandemic’s onset, those unsuccessful in AI adoption will fall behind.

AI presents an unprecedented opportunity, but unlocking its full potential requires more than just incorporating it into existing workflows. Organizations must foster a fundamental culture shift that prioritizes the employee experience. To guide this transformation, we've outlined four key strategies.

4 Strategies to Maximize AI Investments

1. Focus on Return on Employee (ROE)

    First, it’s critical to understand why you are implementing AI within your organization. While many view AI as a means to enhance employee productivity, its potential extends far beyond mere efficiency gains. Business leaders recognize AI’s capacity to alleviate challenges like “blank page syndrome,” empowering employees to ideate more effectively and expedite production processes. However, measuring success solely in terms of productivity overlooks a critical aspect: employee satisfaction and fulfillment.

    Shifting focus to the concept of Return on Employee (ROE) presents a more holistic approach to assessing the impact of AI implementation. ROE encompasses not only enhancements in productivity facilitated by AI but also factors contributing to employee’s overall digital employee experience (DEX). By prioritizing DEX, organizations acknowledge the interconnectedness of employee satisfaction, productivity, and long-term organizational success. can include AI, but also encompasses all drivers of employee productivity that you may be looking to improve. Embracing this broader perspective, catalyzed by the integration of AI, promises enduring impacts that transcend immediate operational gains.

    2. Upskill with the Right Training

      Currently, less than half of organizations offer AI-specific training, signaling a significant gap in preparing employees for the AI-driven future. Hurried AI implementation without investing in ongoing training initiatives is akin to neglect and a recipe for underutilized tech and disenchanted teams.

      To maximize the benefits of AI investments, organizations must prioritize a robust training program aimed at upskilling and motivating their workforce. According to AvePoint's AI & Information Management Report, this approach should be two-pronged: one focused on AI literacy and the other on information literacy.

      Building AI literacy is crucial for employees to develop a foundational understanding, foster trust with users, and address concerns around AI usage. Equally important is information literacy, enabling employees to discern inaccurate information and AI bias from accurate results. This skill becomes increasingly vital as concerns about AI bias affect 58% of organizations, emphasizing the need for employees to critically evaluate and interpret AI-generated insights.

      By investing in AI and information literacy training, organizations empower their employees to navigate the complexities of AI safely and effectively. This not only mitigates the risk of erroneous output but also cultivates a culture of continuous learning and adaptation essential for long-term organizational success. Through strategic training initiatives, organizations can foster a workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the AI-driven era.

      3. Elevate Your Model Users

        Your star employees embracing AI aren’t just productive – they’re influential. Model users serve as invaluable assets, showcasing the potential of AI to enhance efficiency and spur innovation. By spotlighting their achievements and sharing their successes across the organization, businesses not only honor their contributions but also inspire others to follow suit.

        Championing model users acts as a catalyst for organizational change. By celebrating and incentivizing exemplary usage of AI, businesses demystify the technology and alleviate employee apprehensions, fostering broader adoption of AI tools.

        These “model” users can also serve as an internal community of champions, evaluating how new AI tools can help the organization. They play a pivotal role in promoting the benefits of AI technology internally and facilitating its seamless integration into daily workflows.

        4. Optimize Your AI Tech Stack

          Don’t treat anything “AI-powered” as a silver bullet to solve every problem. That path leads to cluttered, bloated tech stacking, draining resources and effort. Consider this: organizations today maintain an average of 125 different SaaS applications, yet it’s unlikely that every application brings substantial value. This results in wasted resources and employee efforts, a scenario that could be mirrored with AI if organizations are not cautious in developing their tech stack.

          Instead, focus on key applications tailored to specific organizational needs, especially "everyday AI," which enhances productivity by optimizing existing workflows. By taking this targeted approach, organizations can identify the applications that offer the most value and focus their efforts accordingly.

          Once identified, establish an enablement practice to ensure effective utilization of these applications. Incorporating behavioral profiles into the enablement process enables organizations to tailor their approach to different user types, ensuring that training and support are personalized and effective.

          Additionally, leveraging workstyle analytics allows organizations to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about the technologies aligned with their DEX goals. Already, analytics tools are emerging to measure usage and engagement on AI platforms, such as Copilot for Microsoft 365. This provides organizations with valuable insights into the effectiveness of their AI initiatives and enables them to make data-driven decisions about optimizing their tech stack for maximum impact.

          Empowering Employees: Key to AI Success

          Ultimately, prioritizing the employee journey is more than a feel-good mantra – it’s a strategic imperative for thriving in an AI-powered future. Employees are the driving force behind any organization's success, and their engagement and satisfaction are paramount to achieving optimal results with AI. The AI revolution isn’t about systems and models alone; it’s about fostering a culture where your employees can fearlessly embrace change and unlock their fullest potential alongside AI.

          By prioritizing the strategies outlined above, organizations can ensure that their AI endeavors yield tangible benefits. This holistic approach not only enhances productivity but also equips the workforce to effectively navigate and capitalize on opportunities in the digital landscape.

          Ultimately, the choice is yours: will you merely implement AI, or will you pioneer a transformative movement that puts your employees at the center? Success in this ever-evolving landscape belongs to those who remain agile and receptive to change.

          Hear more on this topic in our recent episode of the #shifthappens podcast, People First, Tech Second: Leading with Kindness in Times of Digital Transformation. Tune in to continue the conversation!

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