Accenture Finds Perception Gap Around Work and Generative AI

Published On: January 28, 2024Categories: Buzz

A new report from Accenture reveals a need for business leaders to look beyond how generative AI affects specific tasks and roles and, instead, start to scale gen AI by redesigning processes across their organizations, as well as how people experience work. It concludes that leaders must commit to learning how AI can be operationalized to deliver higher economic value, drive business growth, and benefit their people. Yet two-thirds of executives say they do not have the technology and change leadership expertise to drive the reinvention needed to fully leverage the transformative power of gen AI.

The report, “Work, workforce, workers: Reinvented in the age of generative AI,” highlights organizations’ conflicting views about how to achieve the promise of gen AI and reveals a critical gap in trust. While 95% of workers see value in working with gen AI, approximately 60% are also concerned about job loss, stress, and burnout.

While almost 60% of workers worry about AI eliminating their jobs, less than one-third of C-suite leaders feel job displacement is a worry for their people. In addition, three-quarters of organizations do not have comprehensive strategies in place that will lead to positive worker outcomes and experiences.

“Success starts with leaders who are willing to learn and lead in new ways, to scale gen AI responsibly, to create value and ensure work improves for everyone,” said Ellyn Shook, chief leadership, and human resources officer at Accenture. “It starts with asking a simple question: are people ‘net better off’ working here? This not only unlocks people’s potential and drives bottom-line growth, but also paves the way for workers feeling comfortable and ready to work with gen AI.”

Just 9% of organizations are “leading” when it comes to their capabilities for reinvention and how they maximize the potential for generative AI to boost the bottom line, while increasing people’s proficiency, and level of comfort, with the technology. Over half of these reinventors are taking action to reshape the workforce by redesigning jobs and roles around gen AI, and three-quarters are actively involving their people to help shape enterprise change efforts. In addition, nearly half (47%) of reinventors are already thinking bigger—recognizing that their processes will require significant change to fully leverage gen AI.

“Our research underscores the need for organizations to have a gen AI reinvention strategy that addresses the full value chain, not just roles and tasks where AI can augment or automate how we already operate,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture. “When we look at scaling AI it needs to be through a holistic lens that reimagines how work is done, how to lead a workforce through that change, and how it can be a better experience for all.”

Nearly all surveyed workers (94%) reported being ready to learn gen AI skills, though just 5% of organizations are providing training at scale.

The research yielded data points from over 7,000 C-suite leaders (CXOs) and 5,000 workers of large organizations (>1 billion USD in annual revenue) headquartered in 19 countries and represented 24 industries.

Channel Impact®
The findings show the gap between workers’ and business leaders’ perceptions of the impact of AI in the workplace. As the future of work continues to evolve, people-centric approaches, including actively engaging employees to understand and act on concerns and build trust, will set leading organizations apart in both performance and culture.

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