Free AI in the workplace policy

As AI technology continues to make headlines, employers are looking to leverage the benefits of tools such as ChatGPT to streamline workflows and increase productivity. With its promise to automate everyday tasks, it’s no wonder that ChatGPT has been reported as the fastest-growing app of all time. However, as businesses weigh the potential advantages of incorporating this AI-powered tool into their operations, there are important considerations to keep in mind. In this blog, we’ll explore the topic of using tools like ChatGPT at work and offer insights for employers looking to navigate this new terrain, plus we’ve put together a free AI policy to download.

What is ChatGPT? 

Who better to describe ChatGPT, than ChatGPT itself?

This is what it told us. “ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. It is designed to generate human-like responses to a wide range of text-based prompts, such as questions, statements, and commands.

ChatGPT has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, including books, articles, and web pages, using a deep learning algorithm. This has enabled it to develop a vast amount of knowledge and language proficiency, allowing it to understand natural language queries and generate contextually appropriate responses.

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    As an AI-powered conversational agent, ChatGPT can be used for a wide range of applications, such as customer support, language translation, personal assistants, and chatbots.

    ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks, such as composing emails, essays, and code.”

    Is it ok to use ChatGPT at work?

    According to a survey by Fishbowl, 43% of professionals have used AI tools, including ChatGPT, for work-related tasks. However, nearly 70% of those professionals are reportedly doing so without their employer’s knowledge. There’s no doubt that the capabilities of AI tools have major implications for everyone, from students to workers. However, employers need to consider whether AI tools could aid productivity or open up the risk to decide what their approach will be.

    What are the other AI tools employees are using? 

    Of course, ChatGPT is not the only AI model with such capabilities. Other AI tools are also gaining traction, including Google’s own chatbot Bard and Microsoft’s new revamped Bing search engine.

    How is Chat GPT being used at work?

    Tasks such as writing letters, composing emails, and even coding software programmes are being outsourced to Chat GPT bots. Type in, “Write me a marketing strategy” and the framework is there; saving a busy marketing professional time on getting started. There are reports of employees using it to transcribe Zoom meetings, save time typing up notes afterwards, or drafting social media posts, web copy or even offer advice.

    What are the benefits of using ChatGPT in workplace? 

    When we asked ChatGPT, it listed several benefits to help businesses operate more efficiently, reduce costs and improve the experience for customers and employees.

    Some of the benefits include:

    • Efficiency – as it can handle routine and repetitive tasks, it could free up employees to focus on more complex and strategic tasks.
    • Speed – it generates results immediately, saving time on searches and trawling through results.
    • Cost-effective – AI tools are currently free to use so there’s an added benefit here.
    • Personalised – the chatbot gives personalised answers to queries, so in theory it can generate different solutions or different ideas.
    • Easy to use – it understands human behaviour so it’s easy for anyone to use.

    Issues to be aware of when using ChatGPT or AI tools in the workplace

    However, there are many issues to consider to balance out the benefits above.

    • If your work involves sensitive or confidential information, it is important to ensure that the use of ChatGPT does not compromise the security of that information.
    • Secondly, because AI technology draws on numerous sources for its information users should be aware of possible plagiarism. Be wary of asking it to create content which could be based on someone else’s ideas or already published material.
    • Be cautious of information accuracy. OpenAI’s technology reportedly was trained on its data until the end of 2021. This means that it has no understanding of content and events from 2022 and beyond. Any facts should be checked and verified.
    • Consider sentiment if using it to respond to customers or colleagues, asking it to draft letters and emails. It can misunderstand the prompts and generate inappropriate solutions for particular scenarios. It also won’t understand tone of voice and its responses could be misinterpreted by employees if not sense checked by a human first.
    • Be wary of its generic responses. Again, particularly problematic if it’s auto-generating communications to a team. For example, where different members may have specific pronouns which could get missed in auto-generated content.

    Ultimately, it is up to employers to determine whether the use of ChatGPT is appropriate for work needs. It should always be checked by a human user for errors.

    It is also a good idea to check that using ChatGPT does not violate any company policies or guidelines.

    Do you need a ChatGPT policy? 

    If your business is going to allow the use of ChatGPT and other AI tools for work tasks, then it is an idea to outline the boundaries in a ChatGPT policy. Much like you would have a social media policy, this stipulates how, when and why it should be used and issues to be aware of. This will vary hugely depending on the nature of the business and its use within the workplace.

    Understanding employee usage

    Before establishing guidelines for the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT in the workplace, it is important to first understand how employees are currently using, or could potentially use, this technology. This can be accomplished through a staff survey that includes questions such as: Are employees familiar with AI tools like ChatGPT? Have they used ChatGPT or similar tools before? If so, how did they use them and to what extent did they assist with their work? Additionally, it is important to ask about any concerns employees may have regarding the use of AI tools in the workplace and how they believe these tools could potentially help them in their roles. By understanding the current and potential usage of ChatGPT, employers can create more effective guidelines and ensure the successful integration of this technology.

    What to include in a ChatGPT policy 

    A policy should include:

    • Parameters around the use of Chat GPT which is permitted, for example:
      • ChatGPT may be used by employees to improve work productivity, efficiency, and knowledge.
      • Employees must use ChatGPT in a professional manner and refrain from using it for personal or non-work-related activities.
      • Employees must adhere to the company’s code of conduct and privacy policies when using ChatGPT.
    • Use of Chat GPT which is not permitted, listing tasks where it is not appropriate.
    • Limitations, for example:
      • ChatGPT is a tool designed to assist employees and should not replace human decision-making or critical thinking.
      • Employees should not solely rely on ChatGPT for making business decisions, and should seek human input where appropriate.
    • Risks and dangers, controlling the quality and appropriateness of generated content, for example:
      • Be aware that AI systems can sometimes reflect biases and prejudices. Any content produced via AI should not discriminate against individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (these include gender, race, sexuality and age).
      • ChatGPT is owned and maintained by the company and should not be shared, copied, or distributed without prior approval from the company.
    • Intellectual property issues, for example:
      • Content created in ChatGPT or other AI tools should not be used verbatim in any external company communications. Be aware that copyright issues could be infringed.
    • Monitoring and record-keeping, for example:
      • The company reserves the right to monitor the use of ChatGPT for compliance with this policy and other company policies.
      • Any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
    • Confidentiality and privacy
    • Training, for example:
      • The company will provide training and guidance on the appropriate use of ChatGPT to all employees who have access to it. This will include an explanation of the limitations and expectations of use.

    Where next?

    Employers are at crossroads. They are faced with weighing up the potential benefits of this technology for routine tasks against the potential loss in developmental opportunities for employees. As this tech continues to evolve (a new and improved version of ChatGPT is expected within a year), employers need to carefully consider how best to leverage the benefits whilst minimising the risks. Ultimately, it’s not going away and this is just the start of the discussion. Much like ChatGPT and other tools will be beta-testing, so must employers.

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