Preparing for an AI Future: 3 Vital Steps to Implementing AI into Your Workplace 

AI has become an undisputed corporate priority across industries, with many business and HR leaders viewing the technology as a critical component of their success in the future of work. According to Gartner, a staggering 76% of HR leaders believe that failing to adopt AI solutions within the next few years could leave their companies trailing behind in organizational success – and C-suite leaders share this concern, with 72% of CEOs saying generative AI is a top investment priority.  

Under immense pressure to digitize rapidly and fuel AI transformation, many companies are aggressively deploying AI across their organizations without laying the necessary foundation to underpin their efforts. However, the journey to becoming an AI-ready organization is not a ‘flip the switch and go’ process. From basic applications like AI-powered virtual work assistants to more advanced use cases like utilizing automated recruitment systems to streamline candidate selection, the adoption of AI in the workplace demands meticulous planning and preparation.  

To pave the way for a successful future with AI, business and HR leaders should consider three foundational steps to implementing the technology into their workplace: develop a comprehensive AI policy grounded in ethics, implement standards for AI accountability and prioritize AI education and workforce upskilling.  

Step One: Develop a Comprehensive an AI Policy Grounded in Ethics  

Before scaling AI initiatives, it is imperative for HR teams to collaborate with C-suite leaders, including the CEO and CTO, to implement a comprehensive AI policy that outlines the purpose of AI, the scope of its applicability and standards on safety and security. A well-crafted AI policy sets the stage for effective governance, enabling organizations to foster responsible and ethical AI integration.  

Research shows that 86% of business leaders recognize the critical importance of having clearly established guidelines for the responsible use of AI. However, for many, there is a stark gap between their intentions and actions. Just 6% of companies have AI policies in place to guide the ethical implementation of the technology.   

Leaders should recognize the disruptive nature of AI and the responsibility they hold in balancing innovation and risk – and use AI policies as the guiding light to address proper uses of the technology, including security, privacy and employee accountability. Depending on AI for tasks like candidate screening or performance management, for example, may inadvertently perpetuate biases present in historical data. HR leaders must remain acutely aware of these ethical considerations and prioritize fairness and equity at every step of AI deployment.  

Beyond establishing boundaries for AI use, companies should also ensure their governance frameworks for AI align with regulatory compliance standards. While AI regulations are still in their early stages, the wider adoption of AI legislation is a question of “when,” not “if.” The recent passing of the European Union’s landmark AI Act is a testament to this. As other regions and jurisdictions follow in the EU’s footsteps and the legal framework surrounding the technology continues to expand in size and complexity, it is important that HR teams keep a pulse of the latest legal developments and remain agile in their approach to AI.  

By approaching AI strategically and ethically, HR and business leaders can harness the technology’s transformative power while mitigating its negative consequences.  

Step Two: Implement Standards for AI Accountability and Continuous Improvement  

To ensure the ethical and effective use of AI, HR and business leaders ought to do more than just craft an AI policy. They should set and adhere to high standards for AI accountability and transparency and foster a culture of continuous improvement.  

As part of this, organizations should implement robust AI auditing procedures. AI audits serve as crucial checkpoints evaluating the ethical, legal and technical aspects of AI systems. Through rigorous examination, companies can identify potential biases, errors or unintended consequences of algorithms and proactively address concerns.  

Incorporating stakeholder involvement into AI auditing procedures is also critical. This collaborative engagement–whether it be with employees, advocacy groups or academics–aids companies in uncovering potential issues that may not be apparent from a technical standpoint alone, helping to shape more inclusive and responsible AI practices.   

AI governance is not just about ensuring one-time compliance. It’s about sustaining ethical standards over time and establishing procedures for continuous improvement. HR leaders should perform annual full-scale AI audits, in addition to smaller checkups throughout the year. With this commitment, leaders can foster trust, accountability, and innovation.   

Step Three: Prioritize AI Education and Upskilling  

As leaders race toward AI deployment, many are overlooking more than just their AI policies. They are neglecting their most valuable asset: their people. According to IBM, fewer than one in three CEOs (28%) surveyed have assessed the potential impact of generative AI on their workforces, though 36% say they plan to do so in the next 12 months.  

In the rush to adopt cutting-edge technologies, the human element often takes a backseat. Yet, this oversight is significant and costly. Employees are the backbone of any organization and, without proper attention to their needs and development, organizations will fail to harness the full potential of AI. 

IBM data suggests one of the top challenges hindering successful AI adoption are limited skills and expertise (33%). Therefore, if business and HR leaders want to remain competitive in the AI race, AI education and upskilling should remain a top priority.  

By fostering a culture of continuous learning around AI, HR and business leaders can empower their workforces to adapt to technological advancements, enhance employee engagement and retention and future-proof their organizations against the disruptive changes that are ahead.  

Slow and Steady Will Win the AI Race  

Rushing into AI implementation without a solid foundation risks harmful outcomes and missed potential. Business and HR leaders that want to pave the way for a sustainable AI future should take a thoughtful and strategic approach to the technology’s implementation into the workplace by crafting a comprehensive policy to guide its use, implementing accountability measures and prioritizing AI workforce training and education. 

Emily Mackenzie is AVP, Market Planning & Product at Brightmine.

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