Amazon implores workers not to share corporate secrets with ChatGPT, Employee engagement sees annual decline

Plus, how managers influence mental health.

1. US employee engagement dips for the first time in nearly a decade

A survey by Gallup showed that employee engagement dipped in 2022 for the first time in nine years. The study also showed that younger workers women and on-site workers with remote capabilities showed drops in engagement by demographic.

According to Gallup:

After trending up in recent years, employee engagement in the U.S. saw its first annual decline in a decade — dropping from 36% engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in 2021.

This pattern continued into 2022, as 32% of full- and part-time employees working for organizations are now engaged, while 18% are actively disengaged. Active disengagement increased by two percentage points from 2021 and four points from 2020.

We talk about employee engagement a great deal here, and while this is concerning data for certain, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done about it. If you want your employees to be engaged – you need to put forth the effort to engage with them! Rely on tools like check-ins, pulse surveys, and more to get a feel for what your employees really want out of their jobs at your organization. That way, you can tailor both your communications and the way you interact with them to help them become their best selves at work. Communicate that you want them there, and they’re likely to respond in kind.

2. Amazon begs employees not to share company trade secrets via ChatGPT

It feels like ChatGPT, the AI prompt-writing software, has been the conversation of the moment lately, especially in comms circles. But now, a certain tech giant seemingly has to contend with the abilities of the popular program.

According to Futurism:

After catching snippets of text generated by OpenAI’s powerful ChatGPT tool that looked a lot like company secrets, Amazon is now trying to head its employees off from leaking anything else to the algorithm.

According to internal Slack messages that were leaked to Insider, an Amazon lawyer told workers that they had “already seen instances” of text generated by ChatGPT that “closely” resembled internal company data.

This issue seems to have come to a head recently because Amazon staffers and other tech workers throughout the industry have begun using ChatGPT as a “coding assistant” of sorts to help them write or improve strings of code, the report notes.

We’ve long talked about the rise of AI and how it would affect the future of work, but the speed with which a tool like Chat GPT has taken the world by storm is remarkable. There have been reports of the software passing written exams at business and law schools, opening up the debate to ask the question — what does this mean for communication and the future of communicators?

In this one writer’s opinion, ChatGPT is a fascinating, useful tool, but it’s not going to replace comms pros entirely — it’ll just free us up to complete tasks that require deeper involvement. Now, as for the security issues at hand here in Amazon’s instance, that’s certainly a concern going forward, as AI is built to work and construct on what’s already fed into it. But there’s no replacement for a truly deft writer, and we’re confident things will stay that way, even with the rise of AI.

3. Managers at work affect employee mental health more than medical professionals do: poll

Do you feel out of sorts these days? Perhaps you think you’re dealing with a case of the winter blues? According to recent research, your managers at work might have more of an impact on your mental wellbeing than any therapists or doctors you’re dealing with. A fall 2022 survey by UKG found that managers affect mental health just as much as a spouse, and that work-related stress doesn’t stay at work.

According to HR Dive:

Workers recognize the strain and say they’d be willing to make sacrifices, with 4 in 5 valuing good mental health over a high-paying job and two-thirds saying they’d take a pay cut for a job that better values their mental health.

Leadership isn’t immune, either; 40% of C-suite respondents said they’d likely quit within the year due to work-related stress, with younger leaders saying they were the least enthusiastic about work.

In an age of increased work burnout, this is some pretty gripping news. If you’re managing a team, pay close attention to the results of this study. Empathetic communication is so unbelievably key in management — if you’re beginning to get the sense that work is affecting the mental health of one or more team members, get in touch with them and ask how you can help make their work lives a little smoother.

As communicators, we need to recognize that communication is a two-way street, and as managers, we should be attuned to the needs and feelings of our reports. When done consistently, this can  help them be both successful and happy within their roles.

4. How about some good news?

Have a great weekend comms all-stars!

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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