AI must radically redesign work before it can make employees more productive, expert says

  • AI needs to radically change work before it can help workers, a future of work expert says.
  • Ravin Jesuthasan told BI at Davos the tech wasn’t a magic pill for productivity.
  • He said leaders needed to “redesign work” before AI could make workers more productive.

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AI may not be the magic boost for productivity that CEOs want it to be, an expert on the future of work says.

Speaking to Business Insider at Davos, Ravin Jesuthasan, a global leader for transformation services at consulting giant Mercer, said AI isn’t going to transform the workplace overnight.

While Jesuthasan believes AI will lead to productivity gains, he said it wasn’t a matter “of sticking in this technology and magically, people are more productive.” Instead, he said incorporating the tech would take lots of effort to “redesign work and everything that surrounds work to get to some of the gains.”

“I think we’ll see a bit of a shakeout in terms of companies who think that they can just lead with the tech and drop it in, versus the ones who step back and say ‘let me rethink the work and let me actually engage the workforce,'” he said.

For CEOs and workers, the big promise of the generative AI boom has been increased productivity.

Business leaders were quick to embrace the technology’s potential for productivity gains and cost-cutting, even if it came at the expense of workers.

At the same time, employees found ways to use the tech to hack their daily lives. With or without permission, workers have long been using AI tools like ChatGPT to keep up or take on more work.

However, despite the excitement and hype, companies have been relatively slow to integrate the technology. Several, including AT&T and Deloitte, have introduced their own GPT-backed tools to help workers boost workers productivity.

Jesuthasan said the tech could be revolutionary for the workforce if leaders integrate it correctly.

“Many of our leaders don’t have the right mindset to redesign work humanistically as opposed to just looking for the opportunity to drive the next dollar of profit,” he said.

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Beatrice NolanSpriha Srivastava