Episode 76: Transforming Employee Experience with AI and Copilot for Microsoft 365

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Richard Harbridge04/25/2024

As organizations embrace artificial intelligence (AI), transforming the employee experience through AI is no longer an option but necessary for businesses seeking to gain a competitive edge and thrive in an increasingly complex and dynamic environment. Now, with the rise of Microsoft Copilot, organizations can cultivate a culture of innovation that empowers their workforce.

In this insightful episode of #shifthappens, AvePoint Chief Brand Officer Dux Raymond Sy sat down with Richard Harbridge, CTO of 2toLead, Microsoft MVP, and AvePoint Community Champion, to explore the potential of Microsoft Copilot in transforming employee experience.

From readiness strategies to practical implementation and measuring success, this episode offers a comprehensive roadmap for businesses seeking to harness the power of AI and drive organizational excellence.

The Art of the Possible: Setting the Stage for AI Adoption

Before embarking on the Copilot journey, leaders must understand the technology they’re adopting and the unique value it can offer their business. As Richard explained, many business leaders still may not fully grasp the current capabilities of this technology or the immediate value it can deliver. Organizations can pique interest and lay the groundwork for successful adoption by showcasing real-world examples and use cases.

“I recommend art of the possible being front and center.” In the context of Microsoft Copilot, Richard’s advice is to focus on these three types of art of the possible:

  • Business contextual support like corporate communications or marketing
  • General productivity benefits, such as meetings, management, etc.
  • Leadership-oriented value where it’s about helping leaders understand how they can lead better

Richard also emphasized the importance of thorough readiness assessments. This includes evaluating an organization’s technical readiness, identifying potential pilot groups, and leveraging existing digital excellence initiatives.

By taking a holistic approach to readiness, organizations can better align Copilot with their unique needs and ensure a smoother implementation process.

Yet another standout insight from the conversation was the concept of team-based nomination and adoption. Richard advocated for a shift from individual-centric approaches, encouraging organizations to identify teams of three to eight members who can collectively learn and leverage Copilot. This collaborative approach fosters knowledge sharing and streamlines training, feedback, and support processes.

“With Copilot and AI, there are usually teams of people, three or more, who learn these technologies together. They have a shared interest and a set of processes and patterns they must deal with. And as they tackle the tool, they’re learning how to use Copilot interactively with one another and individually in that collective setting.”

The Power of Plugins: Enhancing Context and Effectiveness

Richard also emphasized plugins’ pivotal role in enhancing Copilot’s organizational effectiveness. By creating plugins that provide context-specific prompts and data sources, organizations can tailor Copilot’s responses to their unique needs, improving accuracy and relevance. This “plugin mechanic” optimizes the user experience and is a calibration tool for continuous improvement.

“Now we can tune it a bit more to do a much better job of giving people the answers they’re looking for. And then that journey will, of course, evolve over time.”

Collaboration over Replacement: Maximizing Human Potential

While some may fear the impact of AI on employment, Richard offered a perspective on embracing collaboration over replacement. The multitude of opportunities for human talents to complement and enhance AI capabilities is massive, and organizations need to invest in their employees and foster a symbiotic relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.

Richard shared that an average of 60% productivity gain and 20% quality improvement can be achieved through the free version of Copilot alone. Combined with Copilot for Microsoft 365, these numbers soar to a staggering 120% productivity gain and 32% quality enhancement.

However, while productivity and quality gains are significant, Richard highlighted collaboration as the next frontier for AI-driven excellence. By leveraging Copilot in shared contexts, teams can exponentially enhance their collaborative efforts, streamlining low-value interactions and amplifying high-value collaboration sequences. This paradigm shift can potentially revolutionize how organizations approach teamwork and collective problem-solving.

Embracing Change: A Roadmap for Employee Experience

Richard’s insights underscore the need for a comprehensive roadmap integrating Copilot and other AI-driven technologies into an organization’s overall employee experience strategy. This holistic approach not only ensures alignment and prioritization but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, empowering employees to embrace the transformative potential of AI.

“I believe an employee experience roadmap matters. The roadmap should include whatever makes sense for your organization, whether it’s Microsoft Copilot or Viva workloads. Everything must be blended into that roadmap to show dependencies and prioritization.”

Wrapping it All Up

Throughout the episode, Richard’s insights and experiences painted a vivid picture of the transformative potential of Copilot and AI within organizations. By embracing a strategic approach, fostering collaboration, and continually adapting to new learnings, businesses can unlock unprecedented levels of productivity, quality, and organizational excellence, paving the way for a future where human and artificial intelligence merge to drive innovation and success.

Eager to explore more of Richard Harbridge's invaluable expertise? Visit 2toLead's website.

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