Should your organisation have an AI policy?
Posted on: November 6th 2023 · read
If you work outside of the tech industry, you may not be aware of the extent to which artificial intelligence (AI) is already integrated into our day-to-day experience. For example, when your bank calls an account owner in regard to fraud, it is likely that AI is responsible for detecting the fraud in the first place.
Over recent years AI has increasingly been used within organisations to help streamline recruitment, analyse onboarding data as well as take over repetitive tasks which don’t require creative or critical thinking. Naturally this could lead to concern for job safety and the impact of AI on UK employment and the demand for skills.
In 2021 PWC completed a report for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy looking at the potential impact on UK employment and skills demand of AI and related technologies. Their findings estimated that “around 7% of existing UK jobs could face a high (over 70%) probability of automation over the following 5 years, rising to around 18% after 10 years and just under 30% after 20 years”(1*). The report also noted that AI will also create many jobs as a result of the boost that it would give productivity and economic growth. “Whilst some of these extra jobs will be in areas linked directly to AI and related technologies … most of the additional employment will not be in high tech areas. Instead, these additional jobs created will mostly be in providing relatively hard-to-automate services (e.g., health and personal care) that are in greater demand due to the additional real incomes and spending arising from higher productivity generated by AI”.
What does AI mean for the labour market and business in general?
Most businesses are a long way away from implementing technologies with autonomous sophistication. Rather the most commonly used are technologies such as Chat GPT and WalkMe Digital Adoption Platform (DAP).
ChatGPT is likely the most used technology in recent months as it is a free conversational chat bot that produces plausible human-like response text form from user inputs. The introduction of ChatGPT may reduce the time and effort for many written tasks, such as summarising documents, generating social media post ideas, interview guides and drafting job descriptions but this could have an impact on jobs built around those activities. The use of various AI can cause some concern for employers, but it can also offer significant benefits. Adopting AI can mean the creation of jobs in which people skills such as empathy, collaboration, teamwork and listening are integral to the role.
It is essential for employers using AI such as ChatGPT to understand the limitations and to ensure that functions using the tools have established safeguards, standards and guidelines on appropriate use. Key boundaries to consider include ensuring that no sensitive data is used in conversations with ChatGPT as this data will not remain private. It is likely hat existing policies around the Data Protection Regulations and Privacy Notices will need to be updated to include usage and the protection of sensitive personal data.
Given its increasing prevalence it is our view that all organisations develop an AI policy. If you are thinking of introducing an AI policy, it is essential that in the first instance you have identified which AI tools may be helpful to your business. Once you have weighed up any pros and cons you will be able to decide whether you will permit workers to use AI for work purposes. Equally if you chose not to permit the use of AI then this should be specified in writing within your existing policies.
An AI specific policy for chatbot usage, like any employment policy, can be advantageous in setting out clear guidelines and standards to ensure that systems are used in an appropriate and consistent manner minimising any risks of ethical concerns.
Be sure to include sections within your policy such as;
- Transparency and accountability, including what AI applications are permitted and that any worker or employee remains responsible for the content created.
- Employee training and education
- Acceptable use of chatbots for work related activities
- The right to monitor the usage of AI.
- Prohibited use
- What happens if the policy is breached
Given the dynamic growth in AI development and its increasing integration into workplaces, establishing an AI policy is a vital step in defining explicit guidelines for employees regarding the acceptable and unacceptable use of AI within your organization.
Crafting a comprehensive and unambiguous policy not only safeguards your business against potential risks such as intellectual property or confidential information breaches and professionally embarrassing errors, but also enables you to harness the efficiencies and advantages that AI offers.
HR Solutions at MHA can discuss with you your requirements for an AI policy and draft any amendments to existing policies documentation as required. We can also advise you on how best to implement a new policy.