putilov_denis - stock.adobe.com

Survey reveals generative AI employee fear

IBM/Oxford Economics global CEO survey shows generative AI success relies on employee training and business leader vision

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of CEOs surveyed in a recent poll say their organisation must take advantage of technologies that are changing faster than employees can adapt.

The global poll of 2,500 CEOs, conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM IBV) in cooperation with Oxford Economics, found almost two-thirds (61%) are pushing their organisation to adopt generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) faster than some people are comfortable with. 

While business leaders consistently say GenAI technology will support human employees, according to IBM, employees remain wary that they may be replaced by AI.

“Until they’re convinced, they won’t take the initiative to rethink how work is done,” IBM said in the 6 hard truths CEOs must face report, which published the results of the poll.

The authors of the report recommended that business leaders need to invest in training that will help employees see GenAI in a new light. “If they understand how this technology can make their jobs easier – and more rewarding – organisations could see a major uptick in adoption,” IBM said.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of CEOs believe success with GenAI will depend more on people’s adoption than the technology itself, and that 68% of CEOs agree governance for GenAI must be established as AI-based systems are designed, rather than after they are deployed.

IBM recommended that business leaders help employees connect the dots between strategy, governance and security as transformation continues to accelerate. “They’ll need to create thoughtful guardrails – not processes and policies alone, but requirements built into AI solutions themselves that free people to innovate within a safe framework,” the report’s authors wrote.

Read more generative AI articles

Three-quarters of the CEOs polled say trusted AI is impossible without effective AI governance in their organisation. However, only 39% say they have good GenAI governance in place today. According to IBM, this may be because employees are not exactly sure what they are being asked to do.

The survey reported that 81% of CEOs say inspiring their team with a common vision produces better outcomes than providing precise standards and targets. However, 40% of the CEOs surveyed acknowledge that their employees do not fully understand how strategic decisions impact them. The report’s authors noted that overcoming this confusion will be essential as adopting GenAI becomes a more urgent priority.

IBM’s research found that less than half of organisations are focused on GenAI pilots – and another 24% are doing nothing at all. But almost half (49%) of the CEOs polled expect to use GenAI to drive growth by 2026. According to IBM, this is very ambitious, as only purposeful transformation will make it possible.

“To create a culture of acceleration, CEOs need to help employees see the value of using generative AI – and their role in driving growth,” the report’s authors said.

Next Steps

A vision of an AI future that might not include humans

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

Data Center
Data Management