I recently came across some board papers from my Great Grandfather’s company from the late 1800’s. There was an extensive debate that went on for some months about some new-fangled technology that my Great Grandfather wanted to invest in, but his Brother felt was a waste of time and would never catch on. They were talking about installing a telephone!
New technology impacting on business is nothing new, but the speed at which we are having to adjust/adapt/ change to meet these new challenges seems to be rapidly increasing. Chat GPT was released in November 2022, but it is already being used, after all anyone can download the software for free.
What is ChatGPT?
“ChatGPT can help you do a variety of tasks, such as drafting messages, creating content, answering questions, and even engaging in casual conversations” (https://blog.enterprisedna.co/how-to-use-chat-gpt/).
Where is it being used?
There has already been much in the news about students using ChatGPT to write their assignments, and getting good grades for it. But what about the workplace? A recent question came up on a Chat group where an employee was using ChatGPT to answer internal e-mails, was this a good or a bad thing?
What could be some benefits of this?
On the face of it use of ChatGPT (and other such Artificial Intelligence programmes) could be of huge benefit for companies if used well. For example:
- We all spend a huge amount of time being interrupted by our in-boxes – if ChatGPT could answer on our behalf this could free up a huge amount of time to concentrate on more important and valuable tasks. NB 10 minutes per day = 40 hours per year or 2% of your annual payroll spend
- One great example I saw was trying to coordinate a meeting time. ChatGPT was able to work out the common time availability based on the responses.
- IT companies are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to write the basic code and then this is checked by a senior developer before going live. So, a senior developer may have previously been able to write and check 10 pieces of code, but can check 20 pieces of code in the same timeframe, so they need a Junior Developer to help them?
Some questions/considerations to ponder
I know very little about ChatGPT and AI, and what little research I have done has raised multiple questions for me (both good and bad). Some of those questions are:
- What is an individual’s motivation for using ChatGPT? – To free up time to do more important work = great, OR to free up time to be lazy = not great
- If you focus on output rather than hours. Is it actually wrong if someone uses technology effectively, and therefore gets their work done in half the time, v’s someone who refuses to embrace the technology and therefore still takes twice as long? NB when computer-based accounting systems took over from the old handwritten manual ledger the amount of time to prepare accounts was significantly reduced, but should we punish the person by paying them for fewer hours because they use the technology?
- Is it OK to respond to internal e-mails using AI, but not to external e-mails?
- Is it ok to use Chat GPT to do a first draft, but then a human needs to check it before sending?
- ChatGPT has the ability to hold casual conversations, is this OK for your company? Or ok, but only for some roles?
- ChatGPT can come across as robotic, so will someone using ChatGPT regularly, undermine the “human” relationship-building aspect of communications?
- Could ChatGPT minimise the “human” errors, particularly in respect of Data Entry?
- Could the use of AI free up sufficient man hours that you can reduce your staff numbers?
To help increase both my own understanding, and also to help others increase their understanding of what this is all about I am really pleased to have Sarah Ritchie from Journey Digital to join me on Friday 16th June at 10am to tell us about what this all is, and what other things you may need to consider.
If you have any questions that you would like me to add to the Q&A session please e-mail
them to me in advance.
Don’t have a AI use policy inhouse?
Sorry, on this occasion I don’t have one either, and I doubt there are many companies in the whole world who actually do as yet. This is so new and unknown that we simply can’t actually comprehend yet how to respond to this.
However, this is not a challenge we can ignore. Anyone can download the software for free, your staff may be using it already!
I will be monitoring this closely and looking to developing some form of policy to help support my members.
Regular Webinar still on
This month’s regular webinar is on Managing Sick leave abuse. Skivitis/sick leave abuse can have a hugely detrimental impact on the team. Extra pressure on those who have to cover the absence at short notice; infection of others who see someone “getting away with it”. It is also a potential indicator of other underlying issues. The good news is there are some very effective cures. Join me at 10am on Friday 26th May to find out more about the cures.
Here to help
As ever, I am here to help with this and any other HR challenges you may be facing so feel free to give me a call on 021 741 544
Lisa Mackay (and yes, please be assured this was 100% written by a Human, and yes you will be speaking to a human at the other end of the phone too
021 741 544