Leaders and Employees Have a Lack of Trust When it Comes to the Responsible Development and Deployment of AI

Workday, Inc (NASDAQ: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today published its latest global study, which found that an AI trust gap has formed in the workplace. Business leaders and employees are in agreement that AI holds great opportunities for business transformation, however, there is a lack of trust that it will be deployed responsibly, with employees showing an even deeper level of scepticism than their leadership counterparts. 

Key findings include:

  • Only 62% of business leaders (C-suite or their direct reports) welcome AI. This number is even lower among employees, at 52%.
  • 23% of employees are not confident their organisation puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI.
  • 70% of business leaders agree AI should be developed in a way that easily allows for human review and intervention. 
  • 42% of employees believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.
  • 3 in 4 employees say their organisation is not collaborating on AI regulation.
  • 4 in 5 employees say their company has yet to share guidelines on responsible AI use.

“There’s no denying that AI holds immense opportunities for business transformation. However, our research shows that leaders and employees lack confidence in, and understanding of, their organisations’ intentions around AI deployment within the workplace,” said Jim Stratton, chief technology officer, Workday. “To help close this trust gap, organisations must adopt a comprehensive approach to AI responsibility and governance, with a lens on policy advocacy to help strike the right balance between innovation and trust.”

“Ethical standards in the use of AI and ML are vital for long-term success. As we introduce more and more AI technologies, we are focused on building trust with customers and employees,” said Dan Cohen, chief information officer and director of operations at The Amenity Collective. “Our aspirational goal is to create a culture, at the very core of our brand, that adopts AI and empowers each person in our company to use it to do the right thing for our customers. I applaud Workday’s commitment to understanding and addressing the sentiment of leaders and employees so we can work to close the AI trust gap.”

Lack of Trust at all Levels of the Workforce

When it comes to organisations adopting and deploying AI responsibly, there is a lack of trust at  all levels of the workforce, particularly from employees. Only 62% of leaders welcome AI adoption in their organisation and the same percentage of leaders are confident their organisation will ensure AI is implemented in a responsible and trustworthy way. At the employee level, that number drops even further to 52% and 55% respectively.  

There is also uncertainty among employees and leaders that their organisation will implement AI in the right way. 23% of employees are not confident their organisation puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI, and leaders agree: 21% of leaders report they are not confident their organisations will put employee interests first. 

Human Intervention with AI 

Leaders and employees want human involvement in AI processes, but are unclear on the best way to do so. 70% of business leaders agree AI should be developed in a way that easily allows for human review and intervention. But 42% of employees believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.

Earlier Workday-commissioned research on AI further validates concerns around companies’ abilities to implement AI responsibly and effectively: nearly three-quarters (72%) of leaders said their organisation lacks the skills to fully implement AI and ML, and an even slightly higher percentage (76%) said their own knowledge of AI and ML applications needs improvement.

Need for Smart AI Governance with Transparency

Asked to imagine a future where AI is a part of everyday life, 42% of leaders and 36% of employees cite organisational frameworks and regulation as most important for building trustworthy AI.

However, there is a lack of organisation-wide visibility around AI regulation and guidelines. Three in four employees say their organisation is not collaborating on AI regulation and four in five say their company has yet to share guidelines on responsible AI use.