How AI use can boost productivity by more than 30 per cent

Expert shares how employers can 'redesign work for this accelerated digital world'

How AI use can boost productivity by more than 30 per cent

Four in 10 executives predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will deliver gains of more than 30 per cent in productivity, according to a recent Mercer report.

Thirty-six per cent of Canadian executives and 40 per cent of executives globally make this claim.

“AI represents a generational shift in the tools and ways of working, and how humans and technology engage in the workplace,” says Christie Rall, partner for transformation, Mercer Canada, in talking with Canadian HR Reporter.

“We know that 98 per cent of executives are planning organizational changes this year, and digital acceleration is the number one priority influencing three-year planning for executives in Canada. And the key to this is really to unlock productivity.”

If deployed correctly, generative AI can help reverse a decades-long decline in productivity and add almost two per cent to Canada’s GDP, according to previous research from The Conference Board of Canada.

How do you adopt artificial intelligence?

The challenge here is “getting the AI equation right,” says Rall.

Three in five (61 per cent) executives believe tech is advancing faster than their firms can retrain workers, and only one in three (33 per cent) believe they can meet this year’s demand with their current talent model, according to the Mercer report.

One of the challenges for AI adoption is “the structure of work and how it happens,” says Rall. The solution there is reskilling your workforce, she says.

“How do you redesign work for this accelerated digital world? And one of the keys there is focusing on building those skills-based pathways so that you can really unlock the talent in your organization, versus constantly looking into the market for new skills. And skills that don't necessarily even exist in our world yet.”

Employers are keen on adopting AI, but finding AI talent is a challenge, according to a previous report.

The other piece of the puzzle is how employers can “drive and adopt a digital-first mindset across organizations, so that they can really meet the moment,” Rall says. 

A previous report found that many leaders and employees across the world don't think their organizations will implement AI responsibly at work.

Digital-first culture for AI adoption

When thinking about AI adoption, a digital-first culture is a must, she says.

“So how do you build that digitally fluid organization and not think just about [the] technology, but how the human and the tech come together to unlock productivity and add value?”

High-growth companies develop a digital-first culture, she says.

And among workers in companies with that kind of culture, 86 per cent (versus 65 per cent of those who are not in companies with a digital-first culture) feel more psychologically safe, and 77 per cent (versus 65 per cent) have a positive attitude to work.

“Seventy per cent of employees in a digital-first culture feel like they're thriving and 60 per cent have a lower intent to leave,” says Rall.

Previously, a Canadian academic predicted a “more intense integration” of AI in HR systems this year.

Mercer’s report – titled 2024 Global Talent Trends – is based on a survey of 12,000 C-suite executives, HR leaders, employees and investors globally.

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