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Work Smart Session Highlights the Critical Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Employee Psychological Safety

The August 23 Work Smart workshop The Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Employee Psychological Safety was well received by an audience including SIOP members and nonmembers eager to learn more about how the introduction and use of AI tools in the workplace is affecting employee outcomes, especially feelings of psychological safety. The session was anchored by SIOP Trend Champion Dr. Juliette Nelson (I-O psychologist, certified diversity executive, published author, and entrepreneur); SIOP Fellow Dr. Charles A. Handler (founder, Rocket-Hire); Dr. Filipa de Almeida (affiliate professor, Universidade Católica Portuguesa); and SIOP Trend Champion Dr. Ludmila Praslova (professor and accreditation liaison officer at Vanguard University of Southern California).

During the session, Nelson addressed the concept of psychological safety as it relates to the employee experience. She discussed how workplace norms impact employee experiences and the various needs humans require to be fulfilled (e.g., safety). Handler described some of the many ways in which AI is being introduced into the workplace and discussed generative AI and large language models specifically with potential use cases in HR (e.g., generating job descriptions). Handler also presented ethical and governance considerations for increasing employee psychological safety. Next, de Almeida presented research on the intersection of AI tools and humans in the workplace, including interactions with AI leaders and colleagues. One of her studies indicates that testimonials describing positive working experiences with AI resulted in lower turnover intentions for those who were interacting with AI. She also provided key takeaways for how to introduce and support AI in the workplace, including ensuring transparent and clear expectations, to realize positive outcomes. Last, Praslova discussed how employees experience AI through an inclusivity perspective and shared recommendations for enhancing inclusion when introducing and using AI tools and applications. She also presented a multilevel view of variables that can impact employee reactions to AI from individual and demographic factors (e.g., personal injustice experiences) to organizational (e.g., trust in leadership) and social/cultural aspects (e.g., inequality). Dr. Praslova concluded with the responsibilities of organizations, governments, media outlets, and thought leaders to commit to responsible innovation.

After hearing from the session speakers, attendees applied their learnings to case scenarios and created recommendations for fostering psychological safety in the workplace amid the introduction of AI tools. The scenarios ranged in topics from creating policies for the use of generative AI in an organization to using AI to write assessment reports to succession planning and knowledge management assisted by AI. The attendees worked in small groups on their recommendations and then presented them to the larger group in a debrief led by Dr. Nelson. In the debrief discussion, questions from attendees were answered by the expert speakers.

Participant responses to the session were overwhelmingly positive. You can still register to access the session recording, all the materials that were shared including case studies, and additional resources. (Please note that breakout sessions were not recorded for confidentiality purposes.) And even if you were able to attend, this is a session you will benefit from revisiting!

Thank you to our speakers for so graciously sharing their time and expertise during this impactful session. We also thank our benefactor, Code Signal, for their support of Work Smart. For more information about sponsoring this SIOP learning channel, please contact Susan Rogers at srogers@siop.org. If you have questions or ideas for the Work Smart Series Team, please email WorkSmart@siop.org.



Save the Date:

The next Work Smart session Measuring the Impact of Leadership Development will take place virtually on Wednesday, November 8 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET. The evaluation problem has been identified as one of the persistent, overarching problems that frequently undermine the impact of leadership development initiatives. Drawing on practical experience and research findings, this highly interactive session will feature Rob Kaiser and Chia-Lin Ho as they guide us in implementing a better way to gauge the impact of leadership development solutions.

This event is open to both SIOP members and nonmembers. A registration link is forthcoming and CE credit is pending. We encourage you to register even if you’re unable to attend the live event. All registrants will have ongoing access to the session recording and resources even if they are unable to join the virtual experience. 

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