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May 14, 2024

AI at work: New research reveals what your employees really think

Somen Mondal, GM of Dayforce Talent, discusses recent research findings that provide insight into what your employees really think about AI and how employers should respond. 


AI at work can be a polarizing topic, with people either embracing it as a tool that will help them work smarter or rejecting it as the end of human jobs as we know them. But the reality isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of middle ground between Rosie the dedicated robot maid in The Jetsons and Battlestar Galactica’s cylons, determined to wipe out humans. 

We see that gray area reflected in Dayforce’s 14th Annual Pulse of Talent survey findings of more than 8,700 workers from around the globe. And as AI becomes a bigger part of work life, employers need to know how their employees feel about this quickly emerging technology and how their organization can ethically adopt it. 

Let’s dive into the AI at work findings from our survey and get some expert tips for leaders with Somen Mondal, GM of Dayforce Talent. 

In our 14th Annual Pulse of Talent survey, half of the workers we surveyed said they think AI can improve their productivity at work. Is that stat what you would expect?  

Every new technology brings hesitation. You will always have early adopters and doubters. Personal computers were no different. Some people could see their promise and others questioned whether they could help with productivity. AI is no different. 

We’re still relatively early in the adoption lifecycle of AI, so people are still skeptical and apprehensive about it. Over time, I would expect that number to get higher. 

Our survey data shows that workers have a complex relationship with AI. Can you talk us through those findings and help us understand that complexity? 

We see in the survey that there are some real concerns about AI. Seventy-seven percent had some degree of concern about the use of AI in the workplace. The top concern was causing mass unemployment, followed by being replaced in their job, and AI systems becoming too powerful for humans to control. 

And while 35% said they have used generative AI in the past six months to support them in their work, only 12% said they plan to use it in the next six months. 

I think the reason we’re seeing this uncertainty and a self-reported decline in future usage of AI is that people are fearful for their jobs. This happens quite a bit when there are fundamental shifts in the way work is done. Spreadsheets are a great example. People thought accounting would be eliminated, but it’s still going strong today.  

I think the key for employers here is emphasizing the human side of AI at work. At Dayforce, we believe that humans need to be involved in the process, and AI will help empower people, not replace them. 

What are some use cases employers should consider to help employees feel more comfortable with AI? 

I think we can get some ideas for these use cases by looking at the ways those who reported using AI said they have used it. Almost half said they used it to get quick answers to questions or to save time on low-value tasks and 38% said they were curious about the technology.  

One area that holds real promise for organizations is career and skills development. Eighty percent of respondents expressed interest in their employer using AI to recommend internal career and skills development opportunities to employees.  

In our consumer life, we use AI every day and we often don’t realize it. For example, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify all use AI in the background. Employers should use that as a guide with their employees.  

To help people be more comfortable with AI, it should just run smoothly in the background – in helping grade candidates, in suggesting learning opportunities, and more. It should just be seamless, which is our goal at Dayforce

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