A man and a woman sit at a conference room table, looking at the transparent schematic in the man's hands. The woman wears a white T-shirt and has an open laptop in front of her. The man wears a chambray button-up shirt and sits in front of an electronic tablet propped up on a stand. On the conference table, next to the tablet, is a small white, blue, and black robot shaped like a human with a blue propeller on its head.
Because regulations around AI use are still evolving, it's important for your team to have a strong understanding of what and what not to do with AI tools. — Getty Images/Westend61

From improving employees’ skill sets to boosting profitability and productivity, artificial intelligence (AI) offers significant opportunities for businesses. However, for these technologies to be beneficial, companies must equip employees with the necessary knowledge and resources to successfully employ them — and that begins with promoting the use of AI in the workplace.

Given that 49% of U.S. employees have reported needing assistance to use AI tools proficiently, employers shouldn’t expect employees to successfully implement these programs into their daily workflow without proper education and encouragement. It’s important to train your team on AI’s uses and benefits to empower them to feel confident in their abilities to leverage the new technology.

Tim Conn, President and Founder of national commercial cleaning franchise Image One USA, said he has been advocating for his team to adopt AI tools and experiment with their uses for different aspects of the business, including customer service, lead evaluation, and market forecasting.

“Not only does it help reduce the time needed to complete certain tasks, but it also ensures we’re pursuing the right deals and keeping abreast of the industry,” said Conn.

Follow these tips and strategies to help your business promote responsible AI use in the workplace and support employees in learning to leverage AI-powered tools.

[Read more: AI Tools That Can Help You Start, Run, and Grow Your Small Business]

Provide a framework for how it should be used

Develop a plan for integrating AI tools into your business, paying close attention to the security features of each tool and analyzing how your competitors are utilizing AI. Finding new opportunities for AI tools that your competition hasn’t yet exploited can be a great way to make your business stand out.

Evaluate your employees’ skills to determine if implementing AI could fill deficits on your team. Establish boundaries for using AI tools across various job roles, and make clear the level of human intervention necessary when employing these tools — whether that means having human fact-checkers or requiring manual review for critical decisions. Employers should also draw attention to potential biases inherent in this technology.

“Business owners should prioritize comprehensive training and the ‘dos and don'ts’ of using AI tools,” Conn said. “Training your team early on will help set the right tone and help them understand responsible use.”

There should be a lot of trial and error that helps you understand [AI's] best application for your business.

Tim Conn, President and Founder of Image One USA

Conn explained that there will likely be evolving regulations around the use of AI, so supporting a strong understanding of AI tools and what not to do can help your company avoid future infractions or legal trouble.

“That understanding will also help business leaders understand what tasks should be performed only by humans and their creativity versus functions best suited for AI support,” he added.

Choose the right tools and implement them gradually

Though new AI tools are frequently released, it’s not necessary to implement them all immediately. Many of these tools can benefit businesses when leveraged correctly; however, introducing too many AI tools — and expecting your team to learn how to navigate them all — can be overwhelming. Instead, give employees a chance to gradually explore each new tool and learn how it will impact their daily workflows.

To start, focus on integrating a select few critical tools into your routine. Yushiro Kato, CEO and Co-Founder of the SaaS manufacturing company that produces CADDi Drawer, recommends choosing tools with an accessible and intuitive design.

“By [implementing] AI solutions with user-friendliness in mind, companies can break down silos and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration,” Kato explained. “This approach not only encourages broader participation in AI initiatives but also empowers employees to leverage AI capabilities effectively in their day-to-day workflows. Furthermore, promoting accessibility and intuitiveness helps mitigate the risk of biases and errors, fostering a culture of responsible AI use.”

[Read more: Getting Started With AI: Artificial Intelligence Applications for Small Businesses]

Support experimentation

When it comes to using AI tools, Kato encourages a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement.

“At CADDi, we [empower] … employees to explore AI solutions in their respective areas,” Kato told CO—. “By championing AI adoption and embodying its use in our operations, we inspire employees to embrace AI technologies, driving innovation and growth across the organization.”

Similarly, Conn noted that encouraging your team to be adventurous will allow them to adapt to using AI tools more quickly and effectively.

“There should be a lot of trial and error that helps you understand its best application for your business,” said Conn. “What works for other companies may not work for you. The only way to uncover how to implement AI is to experiment with it.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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