Workday Global Survey Reveals AI Trust Gap in the Workplace

Ahead of the WEF's Davos Meeting on 'Rebuilding Trust', Workday Report Finds a Lack of Trust When It Comes to Responsible Development and Deployment of AI

From improving data-based predictions to enhancing productivity and efficiency, AI is transforming the way the world works. However the dramatic rise in AI adoption also poses risks and challenges, highlighting concerns about how trustworthy the technology is

The topic of trust in AI is of paramount importance: so much so that The World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, is taking place this year (15-19 January, 2024) on the theme of ‘Rebuilding Trust’.

Ahead of this year’s Davos meeting, Workday has commissioned a report called the AI Trust Gap that shows that while business leaders and employees believe AI holds great opportunities for business transformation, there is a lack of trust that it will be deployed responsibly. 

The report finds that 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. Only 62% of business leaders (C-suite or their direct reports) welcome AI. This number is even lower among employees, at 52%. 

“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 at 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.”

Workday report: A lack of trust at all levels of the workforce

When it comes to organisations adopting and deploying AI responsibly, Workday’s report finds there is a lack of trust at all levels of the workforce, particularly from employees. Only 62% of leaders surveyed said they 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 organisations will implement AI in the right way. Almost one-quarter (23%) of employees said they 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 needed with AI processes 

Leaders and employees told the report that they want human involvement in AI processes, but the report is clear that they 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.

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