Addressing employee concerns about AI

We spoke with Adeta Gayah of Visit Orlando about how she guides her team in embracing automation and the future of work.

You’ve definitely heard about it —artificial intelligence (AI) is the future, the future is here, and it isn’t going away.

The rise of ChatGPT has spurred lots of conversation about how our new robot overlords this bold new technology will affect our lives, from impacts on the educational system to potential implications on national security. But one of the biggest concerns floating around the digital workplace centers on the rise of AI tech and how it’ll affect the world of work. As communicators, we often spend much of our time crafting written messages, so this is a necessary conversation to have.

That’s why Ragan spoke to Adeta Gayah, director of social media and content at Visit Orlando, to learn how we can communicate about AI to employees and assuage some fears around this bold new tech.

A powerful tool of the trade

Recently, the rise of ChatGPT has raised a number of questions for those in the communications field. Content-heavy sites like Buzzfeed have begun to use the OpenAI software to generate written content, spurring concerns that the trend of automating written content might be a wave that eliminates writing jobs across the industry. Gayah said that it’s fair for employees to express concerns about the speed with which programs like ChatGPT can create prompts, but she urged communicators to not look at AI with fear and instead view it as something that can streamline workflow.

“It’s best to view AI as we would any other tool that helps us do our jobs,” Gayah said. “It allows you to do things quickly and efficiently, and knowing how to use that tool is only going to make you a more marketable and powerful communicator.”

Gayah conceded that we should approach this new technology with some caution, invoking everyone’s favorite web-slinging hero, Spider-Man, by claiming that with great power comes great responsibility. But she also said that AI still needs human input, and that’s where communicators can show their value.

“AI on its own doesn’t have the human mind attached to it,” Gayah said. On our team, we use AI to help with blogs and social – it’s very helpful, but it’s not perfect. People need to understand that they won’t be replaced, and the human element of fact-checking AI and giving the material a personal touch is still very needed.”

Maintaining a personal touch

One of the biggest skills a comms professional brings to the table is the ability to lend a human touch and personality to the messaging their organization puts out. Gayah’s work with Visit Orlando exemplifies this, as families from across the world visit Orlando in order to create memories with their loved ones, a genuine human bonding experience. Gayah says that while AI hasn’t nailed down a personalized tone, it can still be harnessed by smart communicators that can add that personal flair.

Visit Orlando uses AI as an ideation tool, giving it prompts such as asking it to generate a vacation plan for a couple with no children in Orlando. But there’s still a need for the humans on her comms team to then create personalized messaging that’ll resonate with the demographics they want to reach.

“AI is great for coming up with ideas, but you still need people to sift through and make sure the messages have a touch that appeals to the real people you’re trying to get to,” Gayah said.

Confronting concerns head-on

Using AI as an ideation tool may have some employees relieved that they can focus on the more creative parts of their roles, but it also might stir worries in other employees who feel their skills are being outsourced. Gayah said that communicators can ease employee concerns by positioning AI as something that can help them realize their full potential at work — not something that’s taking their jobs.

“I’d present it as something that can stimulate creativity and leverage ideas — to me, it’s a tool that enhances talent, not one that replaces it. AI can enhance creative processes, but it can’t replace them,” Gayah said.

Gayah also emphasized that AI can’t give opinions as another reason why employees shouldn’t fear the advance of tech.

“I’d tell employees that a big part of the reason you’re hired for your role is because of what you know and what points of view you bring to the table,” she said. “As an employee, your voice matters, and leaders look for your take as a subject matter expert in your area. That’s not going to change.”

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time, he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint, and ’90s trivia night.

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