Three AI Functionalities that Help Build Workplace Trust, Retention, and Satisfaction

two employees walking down a hall and talking to each other while holding tablets.

Today, there’s a great deal of scrutiny around artificial intelligence (AI) and its capacity to imitate human behavior. However, the progress in AI’s abilities to streamline information gathering and tailor technology usage can provide support to workers in many simple, low-risk, and impactful ways. 

Many organizations, especially in frontline industries, have been dealing with significant issues like high employee turnover and decreasing productivity. Workers are also showing signs of dissatisfaction, which is evident in declining workforce participation and rising labor union activities.  

Yet we know one thing that makes a difference to workers in the workplace is trust. This holds true in how AI is applied and adopted. A study UKG conducted with more than 4,000 workers worldwide showed that 3 out of 4 employees would be more accepting of AI if their companies were more transparent about how their organizations are using it (75%), and if they understood the direct ways AI could improve their own workflows (78%.) 

Trust is built through transparency and flexibility – being clear about where and why an organization is doing something and empowering individuals to determine what works best for them. A research article in Harvard Business Review shows the companies that are most successful in adopting AI trust their employees to experiment with it and figure out how to best apply it to their work. Leaders “can set broad objectives such as increasing accuracy or doing a particular task faster, but they should allow employees to experiment to determine how best to segment their work.”  

The key to success in developing and deploying AI in the workplace in all its forms is to meet workers where they are and apply AI where workers themselves can most benefit. With proper privacy and security, AI can positively impact workforce productivity and employee experience with little ethical, privacy, or copyright risks through three principles:  

1. Personalization of individual usage 

Each employee’s needs are unique, and AI can offer personalization in digital systems which would simply and efficiently provide information and education while saving the time it would take for employees to manually conduct that research themselves.  For example, a retailer can use AI to recommend open shifts to employees or co-workers to swap with based on real-time understanding of both shoppers’ and employees’ needs. 

2. Flexibility in functionality and features 

Every employee’s experience is different, so AI can be applied to support flexibility in helping workers achieve personal needs and wants. AI ends one-size fits all functionality and features that undermine equity and fairness. For instance, before a manager meets with an employee, they can receive guidance on providing the information that aligns with the employee’s preferences and needs from the job. This guidance is based on using best practices for building trust between the manager and employee.

3. Transparency in information sharing 

AI can contribute to enhancing transparency across various aspects of an organization by streamlining information sharing and fostering inclusivity. This will be particularly true around how AI itself is deployed and to never allow it to replace human decision-making responsibilities. For example, systems can highlight whenever AI makes suggestions recommendations, providing clear explanations to users about their role in decision-making or what steps to take next.   

These factors of AI can help workers reclaim time, leading to increased productivity on the job and better alignment with their personal preferences. However, it's essential to recognize that the goal of implementing new technology should extend beyond just minor productivity boosts. Instead, it should aim to drive broader and more significant business outcomes.

Offering employees personalized professional support, transparent information sharing, and empowerment in decision-making are important factors in fostering a culture of trust, which forms the foundation of a great place to work. Now is the time for organizations to explore how they can leverage the newest AI technologies to achieve meaningful goals.