Implementing AI – How Strategy and OKRs are Key for Successful Adoption of Artificial Intelligence

This year, we have taken major leaps forward in the development and application of AI technology, with the likes of Chat GPT, Google’s Bard, and Midjourney taking the world by storm. And increasingly, we have begun to witness the potential impact that this technology will have on how we live, work, and operate.

Written by | Co-Founder of ZOKRI

A white-collar workforce industrial revolution

One such arena AI is poised to revolutionise is the white-collar workforce. From drafting copy and writing code, to creating stunning images with a stroke of a keyboard – AI is likely to disrupt the world of work in such a manner comparable to that of the industrial revolution or the introduction of the internet.

With organisations increasingly experimenting with AI, we commissioned research that looked to uncover employee’s attitudes towards AI adoption, reveal how AI is currently used within businesses in the UK and the US, and explore how OKRs can help companies implement AI successfully. Our research revealed:

  • 53% of professionals had used AI technology to assist them in their job role within the last 12 months
  • 64% said that it is likely that their company will increase its use of AI within the next year.

Top 10 uses of AI according to our research

1. Research (28%)

2. Drafting email copy (25%)

3. Customer service (25%)

4. Summarising large amounts of information (24%)

5. Data analysis (24%)

6. Writing copy (22%)

7. Writing code (22%)

8. Helping to learn a new skill (22%)

9. Creating a presentation (22%)

10. Answering questions from colleagues (22%)

Professionals share concerns about AI adoption

With more employers placing emphasis on automation and the increased usage of AI across the UK and US markets, our study found that many workers are concerned that AI will lead to mass job losses in their industry.

Our study also found that many employees were concerned about the ethical implications of implementing AI within the workforce, with 47% believing that AI has the potential to make their workplace less ethical. The key ethical concerns flagged by respondents were the potential for AI to create problems with ageism (63% of respondents), gender bias (43%), and racial bias (42%).

Alleviating fears with strategy

With many employees concerned about the increasing usage of AI within their organisation, our research found that by setting a clear strategy and communicating this across the wider business, business leaders can help reassure their employees.

We also found that a clear strategy for AI adoption could have the potential to lead to more organisational success too. 

  • Almost two-thirds (65%) agreed that it would make them feel more confident about AI being a success for their business.
  • 60% believed that it would lead to better recruitment of talent.
  • 57% believed that without a clear strategy for adopting AI their company will struggle to keep up with competitors in the coming years.

How OKRs can help make AI a success for organisations

Using OKRs can not only help employees feel more positive about AI adoption but can also help businesses make AI a success for their organisation.

OKRs can be a valuable tool for organisations looking to adopt AI.

When employees understand how AI is being used to support their work and the broader goals of the organization, they are more likely to embrace it and consider how it can help them increase productivity and efficiency in their own roles.

Additionally, by involving employees in the strategic planning process, organisations can ensure that employees have a voice in how AI is being used and can provide feedback on how it can be optimized to better support their work. When employees feel like their opinions are valued and that AI is being used to support their success, they are far more likely to be enthusiastic about using it in their role.

The OKR framework can also be a powerful tool for ensuring that AI initiatives are consistently aligned with organisational goals. This helps to ensure that AI is being used strategically to deliver real business value. For instance, an organisation might set an objective to increase efficiency through automation. The key results could include outcomes such as reducing manual processing time by 50% or achieving a 90% accuracy rate on AI-generated reports. By setting these OKRs, the organisation can track progress over time and ensure that all AI-based initiatives are on track to deliver the desired outcomes and value.

What’s clear is that without a communicated plan, organisations risk wasting resources, not having buy-in from employees, and ultimately missing out on the opportunities that AI can offer. By setting clear objectives and aligning them with Key Results (OKRs), businesses can ensure that the strategic implementation of AI is focused, measurable, and aligned with overall business strategy and goals.

Check out some of our resources to get more information on OKRs and Strategic Pillars, or using OKRs and KPIs together to execute strategy and improve performance. You might also be interested in the research that supports these business concepts.

The research was conducted by Savanta on behalf of ZOKRI in April 2023. The research surveyed 2,011 office workers – with 1,010 in the US and 1,001 in the UK.