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Just Over Half of Employees Trust AI, Study Finds

A new global study from Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, finds that an AI trust gap has formed in the workplace. Business leaders and employees agree that AI holds great opportunities for business transformation, however, there is a lack of trust that it will be deployed responsibly, with employees showing an even deeper level of skepticism than their leadership counterparts.  

“There’s no denying that AI holds immense opportunities for business transformation,” says Jim Stratton, chief technology officer at Workday. “However, our research shows that leaders and employees lack confidence in, and understanding of, their organizations’ intentions around AI deployment within the workplace. To help close this trust gap, organizations must adopt a comprehensive approach to AI responsibility and governance, with a lens on policy advocacy to help strike the right balance between innovation and trust.”  

The study’s key findings are below.  

  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of business leaders (C-suite or their direct reports) welcome AI. This number is even lower among employees, at 52%.  
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) are not confident their organization puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI.  
  • Approximately 70% of business leaders agree AI should be developed in a way that easily allows for human review and intervention.  
  • Nearly half (42%) of employees believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.  
  • Three in four employees say their organization is not collaborating on AI regulations.  
  • Four in five employees say their company has yet to share guidelines on responsible AI use.  

Lack of Trust at all Levels of the Workforce 

When it comes to organizations adopting and deploying AI responsibly, there is a lack of trust at all levels of the workforce, particularly from employees. Only 62% of leaders welcome AI adoption in their organization, and the same percentage of leaders are confident their organization will ensure AI is implemented in a responsible and trustworthy way. At the employee level, those numbers drop even further to 52% and 55% respectively.  

There is also uncertainty among employees and leaders whether their organization will implement AI in the right way. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of employees are not confident their organization puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI, and leaders agree: 21% of leaders report they are not confident their organizations will put employee interests first.  

Human Intervention with AI 

Leaders and employees want human involvement in AI processes but are unclear on the best way to do so. The majority (70%) of business leaders agree AI should be developed in a way that easily allows for human review and intervention. However, 42% of employees believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.  

Earlier Workday-commissioned research on AI further validates concerns around companies’ abilities to implement AI responsibly and effectively: nearly three-quarters (72%) of leaders say their organization lacks the skills to fully implement AI and ML, and an even slightly higher percentage (76%) say their own knowledge of AI and ML need improvement.  

However, there is a lack of organization-wide visibility around AI regulation and guidelines. Three in four employees say their organization is not collaborating on AI regulation, and four in five say their company has yet to share guidelines on responsible AI use.  

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