HP wants you to start hyping up AI benefits to staff

Staff meeting in an open plan office space with senior leader presenting to co-workers.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Business leaders in the UK need to do more to emphasize the potential benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) for employees, according to new research from HP. 

HP's new Work Relationship Index, which surveyed more than 15,000 respondents across 12 countries, found that only a quarter of UK office workers have a healthy relationship with work, with many becoming increasingly deflated in their roles.

Running parallel to this is the fact that many are deeply skeptical of the improvements AI could bring to the workplace, despite efforts among leaders to hype up the technology. 

Only four-in-ten respondents told HP they think it will make them more productive, compared with 58% globally.

Fewer than half, the study found, believe that AI will allow them to offload repetitive or tedious tasks while just 46% of British workers think the technology will make their job more interesting.

By contrast, business leaders in the UK are more optimistic about AI, with 69% thinking it will make their job easier. But while 72% of business leaders think their employees will have a better work life balance, just 43% of desk workers believe the same.

HP said the research highlights a growing disparity between senior leadership and workers on expectations of the technology. 

Dave Shull, president of HP workforce solutions, said leaders must reiterate the potential benefits of AI in terms of the productivity boosts it could afford staff long-term.

"AI represents a significant opportunity to transform our work dynamics and unlock a more positive and productive environment for all," he said.

"To foster greater understanding and acceptance of AI – and ensure employees know how to reap its benefits – business leaders must take the initiative to educate employees on AI’s potential and spearhead its effective integration."

Education on the topic of AI, HP said, will be a critical focus for many enterprises moving forward. At present, there are preconceived notions about its potential impact on the workforce, and many workers already lack appropriate knowledge on the technology.

Four-in-ten said they're unsure of when to use AI in the workplace, and both business leaders and employees want to see more training - 72% and 64% respectively.

"In an evolving work landscape where businesses are striving to unlock heightened engagement, retention, and productivity, as well as keeping their employees inspired, the strategic integration of AI emerges as a potent force for transformation," said Stella Low, chief communications officer for HP.

"Knowledge workers around the world are looking to senior leadership to show them how to navigate the AI terrain effectively: the stage is set for business leaders to seize the opportunity to both empower their employees and drive success."

The findings echo another recent survey from social enterprise Code First Girls which found that British workers are skeptical about the effects of using AI at work.

While more than eight-in-ten British workers are using ChatGPT in their workplace, around one-quarter are worried that the use of AI will drive women out of the workplace.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.