Will generative AI be a friend or foe to your workforce?

A few months ago, ChatGPT took the world by storm. This large language model developed by OpenAI quickly revolutionized the field of natural language processing. It achieved the impressive feat of exceeding the pace at which Netflix, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram reached 1 million users, demonstrating the growing demand for advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

ChatGPT went viral in large part because of its ease of access and interaction, as well as its ability to tangibly accelerate daily work and improve productivity. The tool has evolved our ability to interact with technology and made it possible to answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests.

Investment has flooded into organizations that have generative AI technology, such as Microsoft, Google and AWS. There are opportunities across organizations, with the biggest impact expected for paraprofessionals, applied sciences, middle management and education services.

Leaders are asking how they can use this emerging tech to create strategic advantage and how it will impact their organization’s workforce.

Key questions: Generative AI and the workforce

Here are five key questions you should be asking when thinking about the impacts of generative AI on your workforce: 

  1. Where can I apply generative AI in my organization to create enriched customer interactions, accelerated decision making or better content generation?
    The race is on to deploy this technology in a way that drives meaningful business results. Organizations have an immediate focus on customer interactions, but there are also opportunities in corporate functions. Beyond experimentation, a clear and prioritized plan of attack that’s linked to your organizational strategy and your workforce strategy can help create an edge in the market and improve your ability to achieve enhanced profitability.
  2. How can this change my employees’ interactions with my customers?
    Generative AI has the potential to completely change the ecosystem of customer interactions. It’s possible for direct interaction to be automated and for live team members to be supported with enhanced data. Beyond labour arbitrage, organizations should be focused on the brand enhancement and top-line revenue growth opportunities this technology presents. But generative AI also has the capability to mimic your employees’ social cues to give the illusion of interactions with live humans. This capability brings to light a host of important ethical considerations.
  3. How do I create a culture that embraces generative AI while maintaining customer experience, trust and quality?
    The new world of work, one in which humans coexist with powerful automation, requires organizations to foster new mindsets and behaviours. Leaders and employees across the business need to acquire technical knowledge and exhibit behaviours that promote broad adoption of emerging tech. Leaders will have to reward curiosity and experimentation, create time in their team’s days to try new approaches and foster the ability to balance risk taking with risk management.
  4. How could this change my workforce strategy, including role definition, recruiting, development and performance management?
    Generative AI has the potential to disrupt the day-to-day tasks of large segments of the workforce. Very few organizations truly connect their technology roadmap with their workforce plan, but given how interconnected these two elements will be in the future, an integrated plan will become a business imperative. Leadership must factor this into their overall workforce strategy and consider the knock-on impacts it will have on areas such as learning and development, performance management, rewards, recruitment and onboarding.
  5. How will I upskill and strategically redeploy displaced workers?
    Adopting generative AI can allow workers to become more strategic—but strategic capabilities take years to develop. If this is approached proactively, organizations can enhance their employee value proposition, allowing for more meaningful and strategic work, while creating an advantage that will take competitors years to match.


Contact us

Jean McClellan

Jean McClellan

National Workforce Platform and Consulting Strategy Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: (403) 629 8330

Chris  Mar

Chris Mar

Partner, National Transformation Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 687 8125