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Developing Skills in AI: The Importance of AI Training for Employees

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AI Usage in the Workforce

Generative artificial intelligence (“AI”) platforms, such as ChatGPT, Gemini, Claude, and Bing AI, give employees an opportunity to improve their efficiency and productivity at work. According to a recent report prepared by Microsoft and LinkedIn, employee usage of AI has roughly doubled since late 2023, with 75% of knowledge workers currently using AI in the workplace as of May 2024.  

Unlike the majority of employees, employers have not uniformly embraced AI. Some employers remain ambivalent towards its usage, while others have begun training their employees on how to use AI safely and effectively. As the technology continues to evolve, hesitation among employers to implement AI at an organizational level is understandable. Notably, AI carries many potential risks, such as the prevalence of incorrect yet convincing answers provided by AI (referred to as “hallucinations”), and issues regarding the confidentiality of information inputted into AI platforms. However, overlooking the potential of AI to improve business operations, and the practical reality that employees are using AI regardless of whether their employers direct them to do so, may be a mistake. Therefore, employers ought to consider providing employees access to AI in a structured corporate environment where the employer may offer employee training on how to leverage the technology safely.

AI Policy-Aligned Training

Implementing an AI policy is an important first step for companies to keep up with AI technology. However, an AI policy alone is not sufficient to ensure a company has proper safeguards against the risks inherent in AI usage given employees must also understand how to and how not to use the technology. Accordingly, it is critical to implement AI training alongside the rollout of an AI usage policy. The key elements of an effective AI policy-aligned training should include the following:

  1. Providing employees with a foundational understanding of what AI is and what it is not.
  2. Proper handling of confidential information.
  3. Best practices regarding when and why to use AI to create a full first draft for human revision versus using AI as a brainstorming and/or research tool for human-authored first drafts.
  4. How to formulate appropriate questions and recognize “hallucinations”.

Taking a proactive approach to AI instruction ensures the development of an adaptive internal workforce that will be able to leverage the technology’s potential. For example, PowerPoint presentations and emails can be produced more quickly with the use of generative AI, thus freeing up more time for employees to conduct deep, substantive work. Leveraging employees’ skills to engage in meaningful work may also lead to greater employee satisfaction and retention. Scaled to the organizational level, companies that are willing to train their employees on AI may be able to take on greater workloads without increasing overhead by hiring additional employees. In turn, organizations that emphasize AI training could eventually prove to be more profitable than those that do not (in much the same way that organizations that adapted and adopted usage of personal computers or the internet ultimately proved to be more successful). Continued observation of industry trends will be necessary to determine the extent to which AI is able to improve individual companies’ productivity.

How to Develop an AI-Training Program

Companies may either look inwards or outwards for assistance in developing AI training programs for their employees. Existing personnel, such as IT or technology specialists, may be tapped for their experience with emerging technologies to help management stay informed on developments in AI and to create training programs. Other companies have taken the approach of creating new positions specifically dedicated to facilitating AI implementation across their organizations. For organizations seeking to improve their employees’ skills with AI but lack internal training programs, external resources are available. LinkedIn Learning, Google, Nvidia, and various other companies provide online trainings that can serve as a good starting point.

The transition toward widespread usage of AI will require organizations to develop their employees’ skillsets by teaching them how to effectively use the technology. Employers will inevitably face questions surrounding AI, from a regulatory as well as a labor and employment perspective. Nutter will continue to monitor new developments in AI. Please do not hesitate to contact your Nutter attorney if you have any questions or require referrals to additional third-party AI training providers.

This advisory was prepared by Portia Keady and Armand Santaniello in Nutter’s Corporate Department. For more information, please contact the authors or your Nutter attorney at 617.439.2000.

This advisory is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered as advertising.

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