UK employees embrace AI in the workplace, but want more training

Date: 30th Sep 2019

New research from Genesys finds employees across the UK are positive about the uptake of AI-based technologies, with 59% saying they don’t feel it threatens their jobs. Employees in UK businesses are optimistic about the future impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their jobs according to a nationwide study conducted by Genesys, the global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions. The survey found nearly two-thirds of employees value new technological tools such as AI in the workplace. In fact, 64% of UK employees say it makes them more effective and allows them to focus on other tasks.

 

The findings reveal an overwhelmingly positive outlook from employees, despite the negative headlines anticipating such technologies would replace humans in the workplace. More than two-thirds of employees say they don’t feel threatened by technology at work. They don’t expect the technology to become a threat anytime soon either, given that 59% don’t believe AI or bots will take their jobs within the next ten years. In fact, employees see AI as pivotal to business success with more than a fifth saying they believe AI or bots will be crucial to their companies’ ability to stay competitive in the future.

Steve Leeson, Vice President for UK and Ireland for Genesys said:

“It’s encouraging that UK’s workers recognise the potential new technologies such as AI have to make their jobs more fulfilling and the value it can bring to businesses. Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI. It’s increasingly important for companies to assess the need for training programs to help employees further skills like creativity, leadership and empathy, which AI just can’t replace. Businesses that adopt a blended approach to artificial intelligence, where AI-technologies work in unison with employees, will get the best out of their technology investment and their skilled workforce.” 

Even while the survey shows that people are more excited about AI technology than fearful, in the long-term they want assurances from their employers in the form of training. The research showed an overwhelming majority (86%) of employees expect their employers to provide training that helps them prepare for an AI-enabled workplace. 

A few additional UK findings related to overall attitudes toward AI include:

  • A fifth of employees say they are already working with AI
  • Only 16% of employees report a negative experience of new technological tools in the workplace
  • 64% of employees believe there should be a requirement that companies maintain a minimum percentage of human employees versus AI-powered robots and machinery
  • 41% of millennials say they spend fifty per cent or more of their time interacting with machines and computers rather than humans

Christian Berenger Ezitracker MD said:

"The cleaning sector will begin to attract younger and technically qualified workers who understand the technology used to clean complex environments, so it is critically important that cleaning contractors invest in upskilling their staff with the new technologies that will inevitably come into play during the next 5 – 10 years. Soft FM service providers can manage the employee lifecycle of hundreds of cleaning operatives in a sector that has a notoriously high staff turnover rate. Employers will need to increase workplace training, learning and development to avoid a looming skills and productivity crisis, but also to keep up with changes in technology."

READ OUR ARTICLE: The Rise of the Cleaning Robots

By recording key data, performing analytics, and even providing predictive insights, it’s clear that automation at each stage of the employee lifecycle is extremely powerful. By facilitating the employee journey through automation, from onboarding, to training learning and development, flexible rostering and real-time attendance verification, all the way through to accurate payroll, we can collectively raise standards and upskill the sector.   

Download: A Cleaning Contractor’s Guide to Workforce Management Technology here.

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