AI is benefiting the business world, from automating processes to removing human error. Whilst it’s likely that some jobs will be replaced with AI, employers need to be aware of the new opportunities that will likely emerge as a result, and be ready to hire for roles that do not even exist just yet.
At Business Name Generator, we are intrigued by this technology, which is becoming more prevalent in businesses. As a result, we wanted to find out the benefits of this technology for employees and what their attitudes are to working alongside robots. Our expertise in using this technology as well as other business operations contributes to this research.
We’ve surveyed over 2,000 employees across both the UK and U.S. and interviewed an industry expert to find out attitudes towards employee management and AI. The study explores the benefits employees see AI having in the workplace and highlights the most common current frustrations experienced with management teams. With these insights, employers will better understand how to incorporate AI effectively into their teams to benefit both businesses and their staff.
AI Benefits Extend to Employee Relationships
As AI starts to prove its value within business processes, we wanted to find out how it could benefit employee happiness in the workplace, which ultimately can impact overall company culture and productivity.
Whilst a robot boss may initially seem like a daunting prospect, with over 40% of UK and US employees admitting that they’d be scared if their boss was replaced with AI, some respondents do see the value in having a technology born manager, showing that AI technology is showing itself to have more benefits outside of efficiency and accuracy in the workplace.
In fact, one in five employees across both nations think a robot boss would do a better job than their current one, and one in three are confident that robots will take over the workplace in the future.
But what would be the biggest benefits to having an AI manager?
|% of UK respondents
|% of U.S. respondents
|A robot boss would ensure there was no favoritism
|A robot boss would be better at making unbiased decisions
|A robot boss would ensure there was no discrimination
|A robot boss would remove workplace drama
|A robot boss would make the workplace a fairer place
|A robot boss would make the workplace more productive and efficient
|A robot boss would make me feel less stressed
With favoritism being a top frustration amongst employees across both countries, it’s clear that AI bosses could help resolve this issue with one in three respondents thinking a robot boss would remove this from the workplace.
One in three employees also believes a robot boss would be fairer in making unbiased decisions and ensuring there was no discrimination, whilst one in four feel a robot boss would remove workplace drama.
In addition, 37% of respondents revealed that they’ve left a job in the past due to their manager, which begs the question – is a robot boss the solution to improving company retention, productivity, culture and overall happiness?
As AI continues to prove its value in reducing process times, improving decision making, and increasing efficiency, employee management may be the next area this technology thrives in. With recruitment and employee retention often costing a lot of time and money for employers, AI has the potential to not only improve employee wellbeing but also free up more time and money for business owners to invest this in other areas.
One in Six Employees Would be Happy if Their Boss Was a Robot
With an AI boss offering many benefits, we wanted to find out how open the workforce is to this concept.
One in six respondents (16%) in both the UK and U.S. state that they’d be happy if their boss was replaced by a robot. For the UK, nearly 18% of men would be happy with this outcome versus 14% of women. For the U.S. it’s a similar story with 19% of men being happy if their boss was replaced by a robot compared to 14% of women.
When it comes to which generations are most open to having an AI manager, it may come as no surprise that almost one in three respondents aged 18-24 would be happy to have a robot boss over their current one, compared to just 12% of people over the age of 55.
The top five UK industries happiest to replace their boss with a robot include:
- Arts & Culture: 30% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- HR: 23% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- Manufacturing & Utilities: 19% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- Finance: 19% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- Healthcare: 17% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
Arguably most interesting of all, HR is the second industry most open to replacing their boss with a robot with almost one in four employees stating they’d be happy for this to take place. Likely dealing with a variety of employee frustrations as stated above, does this sector see a fairer way for employees to be managed via technology?
The top five U.S. industries happiest to replace their boss with a robot include:
- Arts & Culture: 32% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- Sales, Media & Marketing: 27% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- Education: 18% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- HR: 16% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
- Healthcare: 16% are happy to replace their boss with a robot
Despite being an industry driven by creativity, Arts & Culture employees would be the most accepting of a robot boss out of all employees surveyed in the study. HR also features in the U.S. ranking at 16% in fourth place, however new sectors such as Education and Sales also feature in the top five.
In addition, over one in five (22%) admit they’d feel more comfortable talking about their frustrations at work to a robot over their boss, perhaps due to not wanting to cause conflict or emotional distress that is part of human interaction.
To support this, 18% of respondents would trust a robot boss over their current one, again tapping into human imperfections causing frustrations in the workplace. 17% would also want their boss to be gender neutral and an average of 28% across both countries would prefer it if their AI boss didn’t take a physical form at all.
Our study shows that the conversation around robots in the workplace is here to stay, and employees are beginning to recognise the benefits it can have on them, as well as for the wider business.
The Top 10 Areas to Focus on to Retain Staff
With the results revealing the benefits employees can see from incorporating AI into managing employee relationships, we’ve highlighted the areas below that employers need to be mindful of to ensure a positive work culture.
We asked our UK employees what their biggest pet peeves are when it comes to their current boss:
|% of respondents
|Doesn’t show appreciation
|Lack of empathy
|They are often unavailable to answer questions
|Takes no interest in their employees development
|Setting unrealistic deadlines
|Lack of respect
Feeling appreciated by your manager and colleagues is crucial for keeping your employees engaged, productive and motivated. A study from Corporate Communication Experts revealing 66% of employees leave their job due to feeling underappreciated. This is reflected in our findings with a lack of appreciation being the biggest frustration felt by employees about their bosses. Employers should consider the variety of options available to help staff feel valued from salary increases to delegating a team award.
Lack of empathy and favoritism rank as the next most common frustrations employees have with their boss, with more than one in 10 experiencing this. With one in three agreeing that AI would remove favoritism, is this an area that technology can help reduce in the future?
Favoritism, Lack of Appreciation and Micromanagement are Frustrations in the US
In the US, employers need to be aware of the slightly different frustrations employees have with their management, with the most common frustration amongst Americans being favoritism.
|% of respondents
|Doesn’t show appreciation
|Being a ‘know it all’
|Takes no interest in their employees development
Micromanagement, being a ‘know it all’ and lacking patience are also frustrations that feature in the top 10 for the U.S. and not in the UK, all with over one in 10 respondents experiencing this.
With areas such as disorganization and unclear expectations also featuring in the top 10, could technology help remove these areas for employees?
AI has already proven itself to have an immensely positive effect on businesses, from reducing human error, to speeding up processes and even opening up new capabilities for expansion. So will employee management be the next area AI takes by storm?
AI Management Learnings
To delve into the benefits of AI in the workplace more, we asked Cameron MacArthur, CEO of AI Insurance the following questions to understand his perspective on the study:
What are the biggest benefits of using A.I. in a business and what impact can they have?
“The impact AI technology has on day-to-day businesses can’t be understated. As people start to build more products around these large language models, we’ll see nearly all administrative tasks replaced with AI, for example with tools like, “go through all of my emails and delete cold inbound sales messages” and “here are the bullets of what I’m trying to convey, put this together into a presentation for me.
“Today, the highest value-add to a business is in the decision making process. AI functions a lot like an incredibly qualified consultant and can synthesize information incredibly well for decision-making.”
What value does AI have as an employee?
“Today, most of the value of AI is in super-charging existing employees and helping them work more efficiently. Examples of this are Github CoPilot (helping you code more quickly), or https://www.getpilot.ai/ (helping your sales team sell more effectively by eliminating the administrative work of the sales process).”
“If AI is taking the place of an employee today, I see it as a qualified consultant to advise on decisions. But, I think it’s currently more apt at helping everyone do their job more quickly and efficiently, similar to the impact the internet had when it first came about. I believe there’s still a strong competitive advantage to being a human.”
What do you think about the concept of AI bosses in the future?
“I don’t think the concept of bosses being replaced by AI is far off. I could see the decision making being moved to AI, as well as the people-coordination being done well by AI, however, I still think that understanding deadline prioritization based on making certain customers happy while making other ones less happy is a deeply human decision making process that could come down to the nuances of body language or intonation in discussions.”
What are some of the biggest conversations and trends set to come in 2023 when it comes to AI development and how can this affect businesses?
“I think we’ll see the trajectory of AI follow the trajectory of the internet. I think we’ll see large swaths of billions of dollars of business disappear overnight as their core value-add can suddenly be done by AI. And, just as suddenly, I think we’ll see entirely new industries develop.
“Some big moments I’m excited for are when they release image-processing for GPT-4. Right now you can only interface with the API over text communication, and a lot of human communication is visual. Once you can pass images into the model and have those be a part of the conversation I think that will be a big leap forward. I expect that to happen in 2023.
“Similarly, once we combine these models with the speech and conversation experience of things like Amazon Alexa, that will be a huge step forward.
“There’s a lot of talk about if we should halt progress in these areas for fear of a singularity-type event. I think those will take a larger and larger stage in 2023 as the impacts of using these models start to become farther reaching.”
Methodology & Sources
Censuswide Survey: We surveyed 1,005 UK and 1,037 U.S. employees in office-based roles in March 2023 to find out the current frustrations they face towards their boss and attitudes towards AI joining the workplace and replacing their managers altogether.