Employees have mixed feelings about AI, Slack finds

Dive Brief:

  • Workplace adoption of AI increased 24% in the last quarter as 1 in 4 employees turned to AI tools for assistance, according to a Slack survey of more than 10,000 desk workers globally. 
  • As workplace adoption rises, employee sentiments represent a mixed bag. More than 2 in 5 employees are excited for AI to replace tedious tasks, while more than one-quarter expressed concern. Nearly one-third described their feelings about AI growth as neutral.
  • Among AI adopters, nearly 4 in 5 desk workers believe using the technology is already improving their productivity, Slack’s research found. Employees most frequently use AI to assist with writing, automating workflows and summarizing content. 

Dive Insight:

Employees across the business are getting exposed to AI capabilities as enterprises pilot solutions. But leaders might be underestimating the change management procedures needed to get workers ready to use tools effectively. 

“Building a culture of agility, innovation and experimentation are important, and then superimposing that with soft skills is key,” Sunil Senan, global head of data, analytics and AI at Infosys, told CIO Dive. “The interpersonal and teamwork skills were something that we always looked for in our people, but now, it’s even more so.”

Infosys isn’t alone in prioritizing soft skills amid increased focus on AI. Communication, analytical skills and leadership are the most in-demand soft skills among current job postings for engineers, according to a LinkedIn report published last week. Employers are also looking for engineers with problem-solving, teamwork and management chops. 

As AI embeds in daily workflows, executives hope the technology will yield gains in productivity, innovation and efficiency, as well as enhance decision-making and user experiences, according to Slack’s research.

But enterprises without clear training strategies and policies risk losing out, Senan said. 

Nearly half of desk workers said they had received no guidance from their bosses or organization on how to use AI tools at work, according to Slack’s research. 

“The larger community that will be actually working with these AI systems need to be AI-aware,” Senan said. “Building out that culture, talent and skills fabric to cover the wider community of users and consumers of AI is perhaps even more important than covering people who understand how to build AI systems.”