AI training and policies amiss at UK and Irish businesses
While the use of AI tools in the workplace is rapidly increasing, many organisations are lagging in providing guidance and training in the use of these technologies, according to new research by Ricoh Europe. This governance gap comes amidst growing interest within companies to implement automation solutions.
The poll of 1,000 workers across the UK and Ireland, conducted by Opinium, revealed a gap between workers' use of emerging technologies and organisations' efforts to support and manage that usage.
The research found that 33% of employees in the UK and Ireland use AI tools, such as Chat GPT, with 10% of these respondents using it once or more a day. However, the adoption of AI is outpacing employers’ implementation of formal policies and procedures. Only one in ten (12%) companies have offered training on how to utilise AI tools. Without proper guidance on how to harness the technology, businesses could miss out on the purported productivity and business benefits. Further issues are more likely to arise related to the incorrect or unintended use of Gen-AI, such as the spread of misinformation.
Similarly, a mere 14% of businesses have implemented risk management measures to ensure the safe and transparent use of AI – despite associated copyright and privacy risks. Clear company guidelines, along with dedicated training, is needed to help employees use tools safely, in a way that delivers tangible business value.
While AI has the promise to revolutionise the way we work, it must work in collaboration with other automation tools. Once basic process automation is applied, for example to streamline repetitive workflows and tasks, companies can build on this solid foundation by incorporating more advanced AI capabilities and intelligence.
Glenn Griggs, CEO, Ricoh UK, comments: “The rapid pace at which AI technologies are emerging, means organisations must bridge the governance gap to unleash the full potential of automation. To produce the most value for both employees and organisations, the adoption of targeted training and guidance can make the most of productivity gains and avoid potential pitfalls. As the benefits of automation tools evolve, collaboration, clear guidelines and robust employee training are the keys to a smarter future of work. Getting it right stands to benefit the individual, and the business as a whole - with AI and automation, people can free up time for more creative and strategic work.”
With the right automation tools and technology in place, 65% of employees in the UK and Ireland believe they would deliver more value to their organisation. However, determining the right approach takes careful evaluation, as 68% agree they need to learn more about the benefits of these automation tools and technologies before using them at work. Investing in training and guidance will provide the clarity needed to engage employees in the benefits and opportunities that these new technologies create.
Nicola Downing, CEO, Ricoh Europe, says: "Businesses are aware that with the right automation solutions matched to their needs, they can transform operations to be smarter, faster and more efficient. This presents new opportunities to empower employees' full potential, regardless of where they choose to work. Once organisations identify where automation brings the most benefit, they can build on these capabilities by incorporating advanced AI technology, but only while proactively managing risks.
“Our research highlights European employees lack the right guidance from their employers on AI’s safe and secure utilisation, despite many using it on a day-to-day basis. Without proper governance and training, companies may leave themselves susceptible to copyright, legal or reputational breaches. Organisations that put robust guidance in place and equip employees with the skills to harness these technologies ethically and compliantly will be best placed to capitalise on the benefits they can bring. Moreover, investing in upskilling employees and giving them the opportunity to learn and grow, is a win-win for both employees and customers."
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Ricoh is a leading provider of integrated digital services and print and imaging solutions designed to support digital transformation of workplaces, workspaces and optimize business performance.
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