16th Apr 2024
3 Min Read

What do you really need to know about AI in IC?

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
IC & Engagement

There’s so much noise about AI in Internal Comms, it’s hard to filter out the useful from the unnecessary. Digital expert Tony Stewart sends reassurance to comms folks about the tools and tech on the horizon and shares the five things you need to know about AI.

1. Release the fear. Don’t be scared.

AI is not coming for your job. What it presents are brand new ways to create richer employee experiences and ways to flex your own IC skills and experience. But acknowledge your fear of the unknown; you’re not the only person in IC who feels uncomfortable on the topic. And that’s ok.

You’re capable and you’re going to work it out. But you’ll need to ditch the fear first.

2. You don’t have to know the tech.

You don’t need to know how a large language model works any more that you need to know how Google’s search engine or Netflix recommendations works. These are both “powered by AI” and I’m pretty sure you’re already using and benefiting from them.

You just need to know the tool exists and take some time to understand what it can do to support your internal comms strategy.

3. Have an open mind.

When the new arrives, it can make us want to cling onto what we have. “I know how my Intranet news page works; you can’t take that away from me!”

But here lies an opportunity to make it work even better for you and your employees. Or open new ways of engagement that can feel exciting and refreshing for everyone in your business. Be curious and take time to play around with the tools you have available in your organisation and experiment. Realising how imperfect AI is and how it still needs your skill and craft will help calm those nerves, and it’ll inspire you to explore new ways of working for you and your team.

4. Be aware of the ‘moral stuff.

There are some ethical ‘bits n pieces’ you need to consider with the use of AI. But unless you’re swearing a lot in your newsletters or spamming your employees with all-staff emails every day, then you’re already considering governance and ‘what’s the right thing to do’, so this isn’t anything new. The moral questions you ask might be a little different, sure. But the first step is knowing that you need to ask them.

We know that, at a macro-level, trust is being stretched, and that can lead you to ask questions about how and when you use AI, how transparent you are about using it and whether the way you use AI builds or undermines trust. Do you want an AI-generated video of your CEO saying everything script-perfect at your next results drop without any mistakes? One of the most consistent things we hear in IC audits is that employees want their leaders to be authentic, and that insight can give you a sense of what those standards and markers are in your organization and where it might not land that well.

It’s a new conversation, but it’s one you can manage - and you’re not making these decisions in isolation. Which leads me to…

5. You’re not alone.

This new tech is already having a deep impact on our world. But we’re all figuring it out at the same time. And we can do that together.

At scarlettabbott we’ve already helped some of our clients navigate the new seas of AI; from conversations about governance and what’s okay, to exploring smart ways to use AI to understand sentiment and feeling. As a critical friend and trusted advisor, we’ll help you wrestle with the tricky questions on how and when to use AI.

And with an IC strategy that has well-formed outcomes, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to look at the potential for AI to support those activities and bring your employee experiences to life.

So, if you want to talk through the types of AI and how they’re used, how AI might support your strategy, or you want to prepare for a senior exec conversation who’s suddenly very excited about this new tech, let’s chat.

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