Navigating AI Resistance

Navigating AI Resistance
AI Marketing

Navigating the world of tech management, we're often faced with an all-too-familiar obstacle: employees. They resist change. Doesn’t matter what the change may be, there will always be some resistance. 

Imagine telling your team: “If we spend a few months investing in this technology, we will be able to make our work better, our productivity rise, and improve results.” Will the reaction be enthusiastic or apprehensive? What if you throw in the term AI, that may make the team even more apprehensive. 

Resistance to change – it’s a tough nut to crack.
- ChatGPT, 2023

When unchecked, resistance by just a few employees can stifle innovation and efficiency of the entire team. So what do we do?

Step 1 - understand the root cause…

Understanding the resistance to AI adoption

Resistance is often powered by fear, mistrust‌ , and/or a lack of knowledge.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Will AI take my job? Rational concerns about the future breed resistance. It's a manager’s role to address these fears and reassure team members.

Trust. We can all see the potential of generative AI, but can we rely on it? What's the catch? Building trust in AI is a journey and needs to be undertaken properly.

Lack of knowledge is often the root cause for fear and mistrust. Sometimes, understanding AI can seem absolutely impossible, but to bring employees to the dark side, we must break down its complexity and educate, educate, educate.

When I first started diving into generative AI, I was terrified. I saw the writing on the wall that I would be obsolete in a few years. Over time, I learned that as long as I know how to utilize Generative AI marketing tools, I had nothing to worry about. 

Empathy and communication

Once you know the reason behind the resistance, you must acknowledge it and help your employees move past it. People want to be heard and they should be. Active listening coupled with clear and transparent empathetic communication will get your team on board.

Address concerns and communicate the reasons behind the change. Simple, clear‌ and consistent communication will go a long way in easing your team to a new reality. Once everyone understands the goal and how you plan to get there, they're more likely to enjoy the journey.

At Penguin, we have included the entire team in the adoption process to help them understand generative AI marketing’s role in the company and how they will benefit from it from now on.

The most important thing I have found is making it very clear to resisters. AI will not replace marketers, but marketers who use AI will replace those who don’t.

Two key benefits to stress to your team:

  1. AI can automate mundane tasks, allowing employees to focus on work that requires creativity and critical thinking.

  2. Whether they like it or not, everyone needs to learn how to work with generative AI. Take advantage of the opportunity of your employer training you.

Education and Training

This is the most crucial tool when fighting resistance. Nine out of ten employees will turn from resistance to enthusiasm following a proper education. Earlier this year, one of my team members was very resistant to generative AI. He would tell me how the generated content is garbage and that not only would it never take his job, it would disappear, as have many other fads. After just a few sessions of companywide training on the topic, he understood that this was his key to a bright and successful future. 

Effective education can take various forms, but it must cover both the theory and the practical. Learning is a journey. Make sure you and your team pack enough water and food (or patience and consistency) to get the most out of training and experimentation.

Pilot Testing and Gradual Implementation

Pilots are awesome. They can ease the team into the new tech. Appoint champions, test the tools, gather feedback‌ , and make necessary adjustments. 

Positive results from a pilot will boost confidence in the team. It’s like how penguins push one into the water to check for predators. They all jump in if the rest of the waddle see the first penguin is safe. 🐧

Start with a smaller AI pilot to demonstrate value. Choose one that is likely to succeed so you can showcase positive results and build confidence in the company. Gradually expand implementation based on these successes. Our first 3 pilots were:

  • Blog creation

  • Image generation

  • Social media generation

They went off well, and we are excitedly continuing through the process.

The Role of Managers and Employees in Embracing AI

We are experiencing a pivotal moment in human history. Generative AI is not just a shiny new gadget but a tool with the potential to enhance productivity and innovation immensely. If anything, not using it is irresponsible.

The future is in our hands. Let’s shape it together.

Yoni Grysman

by Yoni Grysman on July 11, 2023

Yoni is our Director of AI marketing solutions and senior marketing strategist. He is certified by the AI Marketing Institute and as a HubSpot trainer. Yoni helps companies adopt generative AI tools in their tech stack and works with AI generated content to produce the ultimate assets in record time. Yoni runs marketing strategy for clients from various industries, including automotive tech, cybersecurity, finance and more. Yoni’s not-so-secret marketing secret? Everything in marketing comes down to goals and audience. If you don’t know who you’re talking to and what you want to achieve, you’re shooting in the dark.