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How to address AI anxiety in your workplace

In this issue, steps for alleviating workplace AI anxiety

How to address AI anxiety in your workplace

Throughout 2023, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of news articles, podcasts, and think pieces focused on breakthroughs in AI (possibly rivaled only by the number of headlines dedicated to Taylor Swift). For workers, this deluge of media and the introduction of powerful, consumer-facing applications like Chat-GPT are leading to a mix of wonder, anticipation – and anxiety.

In a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 38% of employees are afraid that AI is going to replace them at work. Of those who said they were concerned about AI, 66% also reported believing that their employer thinks they have a mentally healthier workplace than they actually do.

For years, there have been debates about the coming promise and peril of AI. Now that it is here, and rapidly integrating into the workplace, it’s a critical time for leaders to take steps to address the impact of AI on employee mental health. Throughout 2024, Health Action Alliance will be rolling out resources to support you as you navigate this new terrain. As Jen Porter of Mind Share Partners says, it starts as a collective responsibility:

Here are three steps to consider taking:

1. Build a culture of transparency: A new survey by UKG, a human resources and workforce technology company, reveals that 54% of employees have no idea how their company is using AI. Yet 75% said they would be more excited about AI if their company was more transparent about how they were using it.

Action: Clearly communicate your company's approach to using AI, how the tech is being used, and how worker privacy is protected. Build that transparency into your values.

2. Position AI as additive: As research shows, work overload is a contributor to burnout. What if repetitive, menial tasks could be turned over to AI, so that the employee can work on more rewarding, human-centered projects? That same survey by UKG shows that among workers already using AI, 75% say it makes them more efficient, productive, and accurate.

Action: HAA’s Mental Health Playbook points to three factors to help stave off burnout: personal resilience, a culture of wellness and continuous improvement of your company’s systems and workflows. Consider how AI can help with those improvements, and communicate the benefits to your employees.

Workplace Mental Health Playbook 2.0

3. Use this moment as an opportunity for continued skill development: Randstad’s 2024 Workmonitor report recently revealed that of the top five skills workers are most interested in cultivating, AI and tech literacy are the top two. Interestingly, the rest are all soft skills, including well-being and mindfulness, communication and presentation skills, as well as management and leadership skills. As AI continues to advance and integrate more and more into the workplace, these soft skills will become increasingly important.

Action: Incorporate a company training strategy to upskill and re-skill your workforce.

Finding success alleviating AI anxiety in your workplace? We want to hear from you – email hello@healthaction.org to share your story with our team.

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