Most employers don’t have guidance for using AI, study shows

About 71% of organizations don’t provide guidance around when, where or how to use artificial intelligence tools in the workplace, according to a Feb. 8 report from Gallagher.

On top of that, 13% of communicators were unsure if their organization even used AI, and half were skeptical about the impact of AI.

“For many organizations, it’s the Wild West with regard to how they are adopting and implementing AI,” Ben Reynolds, global managing director of Gallagher’s communication consulting practice, said in a statement.

“That said, with an AI plan in place, the technologies may help communicators overcome what they’ve identified as two of the top three barriers in 2024, which are the lack of time and lack of financial resources,” he said.

In a survey of more than 2,300 communication and HR leaders across 56 countries, communicators who are using AI are three times more likely to believe the technology will reduce workloads. AI adopters were also 20% more likely to believe it will improve the quality of communications.

While adopting AI, organizations should focus on the basics, training opportunities and feedback mechanisms to measure ROI, according to the report. 

At the same time, new AI tools haven’t replaced the importance of human connection. About 84% of communicators said they rely on managers for communication to some extent, especially around strategy, vision and purpose; values, behaviors and culture; and organizational change integration.

Even still, 3 in 5 respondents said manager communication was below expectations, and 18% said “poor people manager communication skills” was one of the top barriers to success in 2024. Companies are trying to improve outcomes through on-demand learning (82%), written or downloadable resources (74%), a managers-only forum or communications channel (67%) and one-to-one coaching or mentoring on communications skills (63%).

“Managers who were evaluated on their communications skills were twice as likely to meet/exceed expectations as those who were not evaluated,” Reynolds said. “And those who weren’t evaluated/accountable were more likely to receive tools, training and resources.”

Despite the importance of internal communication and its role in company culture, only about half of employers say their employees understand the company’s strategy, vision and purpose, according to a previous Gallagher report. This lack of clarity can lead to dips in engagement.

In particular, many front-line employees may feel communication with managers is lacking, according to a survey by SafetyCulture. About 40% of workers said communications from management were “out of touch,” and 30% said internal communications got in the way of performing their roles.

On top of that, managers may think they’re better at their jobs than they are, according to a Checkr.com report, especially when it comes to relating to their direct reports and worker well-being. More than 70% of managers said they have great relationships and open communication with workers, but only 58% of employees agree.