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Understanding AI in the workplace. Friend or Foe?

I recently had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable of Agile HR Leaders in Perth to shed light on the numerous challenges and opportunities in the way of work today.

Accompanying us for this session was international Agile HR thought leader Natal Dank. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) got plenty of airtime among attendees and there's no surprise there. One of the discussions raised was a shortage of skilled AI professionals and the shrinking pool of talent with these skills due to current demands. One of the leaders suggested some don't like using AI, highlighting a big need for better understanding and acceptance of this technology.

In the last 12 months, Twenty2 Collective has been using the technology in meetings, workshops and training sessions (with client consent) to improve the customer experience and create efficiencies. In our Agile Basecamp and Scrum Master courses we have used AI to teach participants about building users' stories. Research from Slack and Salesforce, which surveyed 1,000 professionals, indicates that AI usage at work has surged from 36% in 2023 to 53% currently. This uptick is more evident among younger employees, with 63% of Millennials and 57% of Gen Z employees leveraging the technology, in contrast to 44% of Gen X and 20% of Baby Boomers.

AI trust issues bubbling away

However, the integration of AI into the workplace is not without challenges. The Slack and Salesforce report does highlight a "trust gap" in the workforce concerning generative AI. Despite the technology's growing presence, only 59% of employees trust generative AI. This discrepancy in adoption and trust levels underscores the need for organisations to address and bridge this gap, ensuring that employees across all age groups understand and feel confident in utilising AI technologies.

The disparity in AI adoption and trust among different generations suggests a vital area for intervention. This involves clear communication about AI's benefits, transparent discussions about its implications, and providing the right training and resources to understand the technology and what can be used. Then there's what guidance is available within the company.

Does education fill the gap?

Linkedin has been lighting up with a great debate on AI education during March. Commentary has been around whether building AI education into the school curriculum will help to boost Australians' confidence and uptake of the technology.

Another survey of 5,000 people in Australia and New Zealand by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Salesforce found that only two out of five people think the benefits of AI outweigh the risks, as reported in The Australian Financial Review.

In Singapore, the government is subsidising courses in AI for people over 40 years old.


Calls have been made closer to home for a standardised national AI framework with mandatory human oversight in government decisions. Prioritise transparency, clear rules, and data protection mechanisms.

These recommendations converge on a common theme: educating the public and demystifying AI is essential for fostering a culture of trust and informed engagement with these technologies. By adopting approaches that includes education, transparency, and frameworks, workplaces can navigate the challenges and harness the potential of AI to drive innovation and societal progress.

As the conversation around AI continues to evolve, it's going to be crucial for internal stakeholders across various sectors to collaborate in shaping a future where AI is understood, trusted, and effectively integrated into the fabric of society.

If you need support to assess the capability of your workplace in adopting AI, contact us.


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