Unlocking the Power of Employee Voice: 3 Strategies for Optimizing AI in HR

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May 22, 2024 | Sarah Mathias | 4 minutes

The HR landscape is rapidly evolving, and generative AI (GenAI) is reshaping how organizations engage their workforce. Now, embracing new technology is more than a trend—it’s a strategic imperative.

Gartner reports that HR leaders' adoption and implementation of GenAI doubled from June 2023 to January 2024. Only 13% are not planning to use the technology. However, frontline workers are less optimistic about GenAI’s potential to improve their workplace (42% vs. 62%).

Yet strategic adoption with frontline input is critical. In his article on leveraging Voice of the Employee (VoE) for AI adoption, Sowmyanarayan Sampath, Executive Vice President and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, asserts that while leadership has a role to play, “the success and the failure of AI [should be owned] by an empowered set of stakeholders who can see results and customer engagement and feedback as it comes in.”

Frontline employees are closest to the work—they can identify where AI works in operations and where it doesn’t. More importantly, the frontline owns “the budget and the service level agreements, [and] must live with the end result, [so] they will often focus their attention on projects that can benefit both these metrics, which means you get use cases that drive measurable outcomes.”

Below, explore the benefits of VoE and get three critical strategies for successfully adopting and implementing AI-powered tech in HR.

In this Article

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A business case for VoE

According to Gartner, using GenAI to elevate VoE will bring the most value to your organization while making the highest impact. The Harvard Business Review asserts, “When employees can voice their concerns freely, organizations see increased retention and stronger performance.”
“VoE is emerging as a more comprehensive way to gather better information on employee perceptions, consolidate feedback and deliver valid insights with actionable guidance, based on a much wider set of employee experience inputs.”Gartner

Mutually beneficial within any organization, VoE allows business leaders to understand their employees and clients better while allowing employees to positively impact the decision-making process and the organization as a whole.

To illustrate, HBR reports that at several financial services firms, business units whose leadership listened to employee suggestions boasted better financial and operational results than others. At “one national restaurant chain, managers were able to persuade senior leaders to make improvements that reduced employee turnover by 32% and saved at least $1.6 million a year.”

New AI technologies have the potential to change the way your employees work—and VoE should play a central role in how they are adopted and implemented for the best outcomes. By preparing employees with AI-related skills, involving them in the design and implementation process, and building trust through secure AI engagement platforms, HR leaders can confidently navigate the complexities of GenAI integration.

1

Prepare employees with AI-related skills and proficiencies

There’s a strong case for embracing GenAI in HR—especially to elevate VoE. But to get your people on board and make the most of the technology, you’ll need to prep your people by planning for AI-related skills, needs, and proficiencies.

Gartner suggests that instead of focusing on reducing headcount, you should focus on educating your team on how to use AI most efficiently. Empowering employees to understand the technology and its many benefits promotes trust and adoption. HBR agrees that while prioritizing learning and development is crucial for boosting recruitment and retention, making it “real and truly connected to your employees” matters.

Engage employees for their thoughts and opinions. Ask them what functions they need GenAI to fill and explore their training needs to ensure your initiatives are effective and their experiences are positive.

2

Design and implement new tech with employee input

Seek your employees’ input in designing and implementing GenAI. This new technology will affect how they work, and their insights are key to getting them on board and promoting effective use.

A recent MIT Sloan School of Management study suggests that when deploying new GenAI tools, accessing workers’ voices can help ensure they benefit “workers, organizations, and society.”

It suggests that organizations can involve employees in four stages of the technology development process: “defining the problem, codesigning the technology and work processes, education and retraining, and fair transitions for affected workers.”

“Input from workers can increase the likelihood that organizations use generative AI tools effectively and workers’ job quality improves.”

Gartner agrees that by working with IT, legal, compliance, and subject matter experts to harness collective insights and solutions, leaders can overcome GenAI implementation challenges, such as accuracy, reliability, and transparency.

3

Build trust with better VoE tools

Rely on the right AI-powered employee listening platform to tap into VoE, build trust, deepen engagement, and improve employee experience. Demonstrating how GenAI can elevate VoE rather than replace it will encourage employees to embrace and effectively use AI software at your organization.

To provide honest feedback, employees must know they can share their thoughts freely without fear of bias or discrimination and that their privacy and well-being will be safeguarded. At ThoughtExchange, we take privacy and data security seriously—because we know that capturing the best data requires trust.

ThoughtExchange provides one comprehensive platform for all your engagement and survey needs. It allows leaders to engage with their people deeply, using features like interactive two-way interviews, deep dives, and in-survey chats to refine responses.

With ThoughtExchange, quickly and accurately gather and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data, and pinpoint what actions to take for effective change—all with the responsible AI trust and privacy you expect.

Optimize GenAI with confidence

In the evolving HR landscape, leaders are looking to effectively manage change when adopting new technology like GenAI. GenAI has many benefits for HR teams—especially when used to elevate VoE. When done right, effective AI-powered engagement builds trust, improves employee experience, and drives organizational success.

If you are among the 97% of HR leaders currently adopting and implementing AI technology at your organization, it’s important to do it with employee support. To make the most of this innovative technology and elevate VoE, prepare your people with AI-related skills, involve them in the design and implementation process, and build trust through secure AI engagement platforms.

Above all, demonstrate how AI can improve employee experience and deliver the best outcomes. Choosing AI technology that deepens employee listening and quickly surfaces their ideas and insights can boost employee confidence in AI technologies and optimize your business.

ThoughtExchange deepens engagement, enhances data, and provides faster, easier analysis and actions—so you don’t waste a moment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Sarah Mathias
Sarah discovered her love of words when she penned her first journal in grade 4—she hasn’t stopped writing since. With a BA in Sociology and an MPC in International/Intercultural Communication, Sarah honed her corporate writing skills in the travel insurance and fashion industries before working with ThoughtExchange. She brings her collaborative spirit and commitment to antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with her penchant for grammar jokes.

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