Artificial intelligence is changing the workplace, but what does your team think about it? Here’s how to start meaningful conversations about AI and job security.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to turn the world of work upside down. From streamlining data analysis on production lines to automating document drafting and enhancing fraud detection, AI's influence is expanding — and becoming more user-friendly for everyday employees.

But while some workers may embrace this change, others may be feeling anxiety or concern. A recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey report found that a quarter of workers (24%) are worried that AI will take over their jobs. On the other hand, over half of the respondents said that AI has not been discussed at their workplace at all.

As an employer, how do you address the robot in the room?

First, by simply acknowledging it's there. This can be the perfect starting point for useful chats with your team, where you can tackle any worries head-on and discuss AI's advantages. To make these talks as helpful as possible, try the following:

recognize your employees’ viewpoint

Ask your employees what they think about AI. Chances are there will be multiple perspectives, from excitement to indifference to fear. In particular, the CNBC/SurveyMonkey research found that workers of color, younger workers and lower-salaried workers are more likely to be concerned. Listen and acknowledge their different views, making sure you don’t trivialize or dismiss any anxieties.

empathize with their concerns

Find out what their biggest fears are. For many, it’s about being replaced by a machine. Others might stress about keeping up with new tech, or maybe they just don't feel comfortable with the whole idea. Hold off on jumping straight into fix-it mode. First, let your team know it's normal to have these concerns and that you're listening to what they say.

make them part of the discussion

You might not have all the answers about how AI will fit into your business. That's okay. Be honest with your team about this and use it as a chance to get them involved in the conversation. Ask them how they think AI could make things better at work. Encourage them to throw in their ideas — looking into AI themselves can help them understand it better and might even give those feeling nervous a sense of control.

Some employees may already see AI as an opportunity. Randstad’s 2024 Workmonitor found that nearly one in three workers (29%) put learning to use AI at the top of the skills they want to develop. Offering training in AI can position these employees for top jobs within your organization, enabling them to lead the charge in spreading a positive message about AI across your company.

focus on how AI is a helping hand, not a replacement

Steer the conversation towards the supportive role of AI in the workplace, highlighting its ability to automate mundane tasks while underscoring the irreplaceable nature of human creativity.

Consider generative AI tools like ChatGPT: they excel at summarizing pre-existing ideas but aren’t the go-to for truly original thinking. They rely on human ingenuity to spark unique concepts and fact-checking to avoid “hallucinations” (that's when AI presents incorrect or made-up information as if it's true). So, your team's role in bringing fresh, creative ideas and ensuring accuracy is more crucial than ever. With AI taking care of the routine stuff, everyone has more space to focus on innovative and high-level tasks.

promote a culture of continuous learning

Of course, certain roles might evolve or change, as they always have. Motivate your team to embrace upskilling, enhance their current job skills or even consider reskilling for a new direction within the company. This approach benefits employees by expanding their capabilities and fortifies your organization against potential talent shortages.

In the digital era, finding the right talent that is “AI-ready” and adaptable is more important than ever. That's where Randstad comes in. Contact us today to access a pool of talent that can grow and thrive in an AI-enhanced workplace.