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Generative AI is your assistant, not your replacement

As generative AI makes headlines around the world and becomes more and more capable, communicators and other leaders are sprinting to understand how it will impact — or elevate — the work that they and their teams do.

  • Why it matters: Although the impact of AI on the labor market is likely to be significant, most jobs and industries are…more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI,” predicts Goldman Sachs. So the question is not will it replace people, it’s how can leaders and communicators use it to make their work more effective.

Incorporating generative AI into your internal communications strategy can add immediate efficiency and longer-term benefits to support your team and business outcomes:

1. Faster work product. Brainstorming topic ideas, producing draft copy, creating unique images, and automating mundane tasks and reports will be faster and simpler. It won’t be your final draft, but it can kickstart progress — helping folks who struggle with blank page anxiety or teammates who benefit from an extra perspective get started.

  • A preprint paper from MIT shows hard evidence that after using ChatGPT, the amount of time people spend writing rough drafts of their work fell by more than 50%.

2. Level playing field. Leaders, communicators, managers, and individual contributors all play a role in workplace communication, but their level of skill and training varies widely. Precise AI prompts — including guidance for length, tone, target audience, and more — can make what generative tools produce more tailored to your organization and ensure that, no matter who made the request, the starting block from which they work has a similar level of quality.

  • Develop org-wide baselines for your tone, goals, and overall messages so all collaborators can be in step with each other when AI is added to workflows.

3. Cost savings. Productivity improvements AI could offer the labor market will account for over 55% of all GDP gains from 2017 to 2030, according to a PwC analysis. “Businesses that fail to adapt and adopt… stand to lose a significant amount of their market share.”

  • Not only will your team be more effective, your savings can be reinvested where they matter most — your business and its future growth. Decide where best to invest that cost savings going forward — whether it’s better internal communications tools, ways to poll your audience to make sure you’re delivering what they want to hear, or adding some of the tools HubSpot considers essential for business growth — like website building tools, meeting schedulers, or other integrations. 

4. Competitive insight. Imagine asking a generative AI tool to summarize your competitors’ annual reports, recent product announcements, public stances on difficult issues, and more. It can’t take the place of thoughtful and robust analysis, but it can surface themes that can be additive to your decision making.

Going forward, AI’s abilities will continue to expand, opening up a vast number of opportunities for organizations and individuals alike. But as it becomes more integral to an organization’s work and workplace communication, leaders will still need to play a role in overseeing that content — to ensure content or messages are on-brand and effective. 

The role communication leaders play

"Because it's easier to create content, it means that it's easier to create bad content," said Microsoft Chief Communications Officer Frank X. Shaw in conversation with Axios. That’s why communication leaders need to head production when it comes to dealing with AI, what it generates, and how it will be used for messaging at your organization. They need to regulate messaging and inform strategy going forward, as well as: 

  • Think critically. AI can provide content and context, but it may not be complete, irrefutably true, or worthy of sharing with your team or audience. You will still need human intervention to vet, validate, enhance, and distribute any of the ideas or messages AI helps produce.
  • Infuse precision, accuracy, and nuance. AI is only as smart as what it was trained on. And as recent articles show, it can’t and doesn’t always get it right. Use it to move faster, but take time to ensure data and information is accurate. Build in a review process when AI is involved.
  • Create intentional guardrails. Not every communication should be generated by AI. Set your standards early on when it’s acceptable to incorporate AI — whether you expect individuals to leverage it for inspiration or only for suggestions and enhancements.
  • Format for readers. AI can produce a lot of writing and even structure it for you, but if you overload readers with too much information, they’ll get lost in your message. Review depth of detail and overall formatting to ensure it’s presented in a clear, engaging, and memorable way your audience will read.
  • Add a human touch. AI-generated content can be a great place to start, but its tone and execution can, at times, be very different from how you want and intend to deliver a message. Assuage content so empathy, understanding, and compassion are at the forefront.
  • Select the platform. Different AI platforms will provide a different quality of suggestions and personalization. It will be up to communications leaders to decide which tools serve their teams and audiences best. Determine which features will save you and your team time. Do you need image production, send capabilities, formatting abilities, templating, or something else?

The bottom line: AI will revolutionize how we think about and write internal workplace communications, but actual humans are still needed to review content to ensure it delivers a crisp, clear, on-brand experience in all circumstances. 

Go deeper: Discover how AI will impact workplace communication




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