Tech

Technically HR: UKG study reveals transparency gap in company AI use

While nearly 80% of execs say their companies use AI, only 42% of employees report using AI at work, survey finds.
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Francis Scialabba

less than 3 min read

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Like breathing oxygen, AI is all around us, and we don’t even know we’re using it.

A recent UKG survey of more than 4,000 global workers found that while 78% of C-suite execs report their organizations are using AI today, only 42% of employees think they’re using the tech at work.

The survey from the HR and payroll management company revealed an expected disconnect between top brass and the rank and file on company AI use, and underscored a need for better transparency on the technology’s deployment, according to UKG’s chief product and technology officer, Hugo Sarrazin.

“This is a technology disruption, and there will be more; there have been others,” Sarrazin told HR Brew. “If you want to bring along employees, I think it’s important to talk about what you’re trying to accomplish and link it to business outcomes.”

When generative AI adoption skyrocketed following the release of ChatGPT a year ago, business leaders and executives were quick to find new ways to incorporate the technology into workflows.

While some adoption may be overstated, according to Sarrazin, what’s clear is companies are moving with haste to embrace the tech.

“When GPT came out, and the way OpenAI exposed that to the world…that’s where the imagination of everybody went, ‘Oh, my God, something just happened,’” he said.

While many employees have used ChatGPT or Bard to write a poem, Sarrazin said, they’re not coming to work and interacting with generative AI—or any AI—in the same way, so their understanding of what AI looks like at work doesn’t match their experience.

“There’s the gap of understanding,” he said. “There’s a gap of definition. There’s a gap of connecting my personal experience when I’m surfing the web with…my day job.”

Zoom out. It’s on employers to explain where they’re using AI at work, what its limits are, and how to best and safely leverage generative AI to enhance productivity. After rushing to adopt new gen AI tech, employees can benefit from some transparency around company strategy and how it will affect their workflow.

“What the survey highlighted for us is there’s not enough transparency, there’s not enough communication, there’s not enough training, there’s maybe not enough understanding of all the things that need to be in place to do this properly,” he said.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.