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Controlling the AI narrative in your organisation

Controlling the AI narrative in your organisation

Your employees are afraid of artificial intelligence. 


They're not afraid it’s going to change things. They know that already. 

They’re afraid because they don’t know what will happen when artificial intelligence (AI) changes their work environment. It’s the uncertainty that freaks people out.


In the 1980s, 80% of the jobs available today didn’t exist. Tech consulting was not a robust and booming industry whereas today, it’s more popular than ever. And in 40 years from now, 80% of the jobs won’t be available anymore either. 

Your employees are looking at AI through the paradigm of uncertainty and anxiety. As an HR manager, it’s important you control the narrative and make sure it follows the tune of “your job isn’t going away, it’s just going to change”. And the best way to do that is to include them in the conversation and move the focus toward new jobs that will be available or coexist alongside their current job function.


Take travel agents. With the rise of websites like, Sky Scanner and various travel blogs, everybody thought travel agents would become a dying industry and that we would have no use for them. Fast forward to the present, there's plenty of demand for travel agents who now call themselves “travel advisors”, because people still want a human who understands their family, not just a robot who buys tickets.


Another reason it’s important you control the narrative is so that your employees don’t rage against the machine of technology, because they’ll be on the losing side. 

Change is neither good nor bad. If you can help your employees realise their fear about change relates to the uncertainty around AI, not AI itself, you can control the AI narrative and help elevate their concerns by creating more certainty. So, how do you get employees to remove the uncertainty from the equation?


There’s an old Chinese fable about a farmer and his son.

One night, one of the farmer’s horses runs away. The neighbours sympathise with his bad luck and ask how he’s going. The farmer says, “Good or bad, we will see”. 

A few days later, the horse comes back leading a herd of wild horses. The neighbours comment on how lucky the farmer is because his son will plough the fields faster. The farmer just looks at them and says, “Good or bad, we will see”.


A few days later, the son picks a horse out of the herd to break in. But the horse gets aggravated and throws the son off and he breaks his leg. The neighbours shake their heads and ask the farmer how he is. The farmer says, “Good or bad, we will see”.

A few weeks later, the army walks into town and announces an emergency meeting. A war is coming, and they are looking for healthy and strong recruits. 

When the army sees the son’s leg is broken, they say he is no use to them and let him stay home. The neighbours comment on what a stroke of good fortune this is. The farmer smiles and replies, “Good or bad, we will see”.

The story sounds simplistic, but it makes a profound point. An event or moment of change is neither good nor bad, it just is. The mind provides the perspective, which it then experiences as the truth. Viewed from one side it’s bad, viewed from the other side it’s good—but the event itself doesn’t change—it simply is. 


So AI is neither good nor bad. It depends on what we do with it, how we deploy it and how responsible we are with it. It can be a threat to the human condition, but as we learnt from the Chinese fable, it’s best to take the “we will see” approach.

Now, we’re not suggesting you appease an employee worried about AI with an answer like, “it depends”. Instead, try to build some certainty into the conversation by involving employees in the conversation early, emphasising human value and focusing on 

positive future outcomes. 


Emphasis human value 

AI is here to improve our capabilities, not replace them. Your employees' creativity, empathy, and critical thinking are what make them uniquely human. Emphasise this. Reassure employees that they are vital to their job function. This approach fosters a culture where technology and human talent coexist and complement each other. 

Try and organise a recognition program that celebrates people being people, like a brainstorming event where they can show off their creativity and problem-solving skills.


Involve employees early

When you engage employees in the planning phase of any project, you tap into their invaluable insights and foster a sense of ownership. They are more likely to lead the charge for change. This approach not only reduces their uncertainty about change but also builds trust. 

Set up a brainstorming session where employees can discuss and provide input on AI tools being considered and how AI could coexist with their current function. This not only gathers feedback but also ensures employees are actively involved and invested in the process.


Positive future outcomes

By sharing success stories from other organisations, you can help create a narrative of opportunity. We know that AI reduces mundane tasks, freeing employees up to focus on other things. 

Use case studies and testimonials to create a communication campaign that shares success stories and data on AI benefits. Regularly communicating these positive outcomes through emails, intranet posts, and town hall meetings can build a narrative of optimism and opportunity around AI adoption.

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