The introduction of a chatbot requires targeted change management. The trust of employees and the perceived benefits are important. […]
Chatbots based on artificial intelligence (AI) have become established in many application areas, as they promise considerable automation potential. However, when introducing such bots, too little attention is often paid to the emotional effects on the affected workforce. The successful implementation usually depends on the acceptance and cooperation of the employees concerned. After all, they should perform even better with the help of technical support. CIOs should therefore comprehensively involve those affected in a change management process.
The sequential approach of classic change processes only provides for an adaptation of the corporate culture in the last process step and therefore cannot adequately solve the challenges of a chatbot implementation. The dynamic digital change requires an iterative approach, combined with a continuous consideration of the needs of those affected as well as a continuous cultural and behavioral change. Potentially negative effects of the change must be considered from the outset in order to ensure the acceptance of the affected employees and to maintain their willingness to perform.
The goal of AI (artificial intelligence) procedures is to use computers to achieve or surpass human capabilities in certain areas. This is precisely where the potential for conflict arises for affected employees: an alternative use of AI is usually much cheaper, with often consistent or even better results.
This also applies to chatbots, which are used, for example, in service centers. Depending on the complexity, chatbots can handle many requests around the clock in a completely automated manner. This can reduce waiting times for customers and improve the customer experience.
However, the negative side effects of a chatbot introduction for the affected employees are rarely given sufficient attention. Often, obstacles arise among employees that make it difficult or even prevent cooperation with the chatbot. Which Substitution anxiety this results from the potential loss of one’s own job. Especially employees with a comparatively low level of education fear that their skills will become obsolete for the employer due to increasingly complex tasks.
The second challenge arises from Technology Mistrust. Due to personal experience and a lack of transparency, employees can classify AI technology as untrustworthy per se. Such a lack of trust may be exacerbated by the initially low degree of maturity of individual applications and the associated susceptibility to errors.
If employees are to interact with a chatbot, the acceptance of the new technology is a prerequisite for successful use. This can be influenced by targeted measures. A promising procedure is described below.
In order to counteract the fear of substitution and distrust of technology, the personal benefits of chatbots should first be made clear to those affected. As a result, it can be possible to involve employees in the chatbot implementation project and to involve them in the concrete design. In addition, employee trust is an essential driver for acceptance. This can be broken down into the following aspects: employer confidence, self-efficacy and technology confidence. The latter was identified in a study as the most important aspect for a successful chatbot implementation.
Based on the drivers mentioned, those responsible can derive concrete measures to increase the acceptance of employees and prepare a successful chatbot adaptation. CIOs should take measures in all project phases described below to promote the willingness of employees to cooperate with the chatbot.
Already during the project planning, the first measures can worry and counteract potential resistance of the employees. Which media coverage shapes the mood of the affected employees with regard to chatbots. The functions of the chatbot and its effects must be explained in this context. In addition to the benefits, appropriate measures should also show the limitations of chatbots. For example, expert lectures, e-mail newsletters or intranet contributions are suitable for this.
Either of A threat to your own workplace this potentially arises from the fact that the chatbot adapts the skills of the employees and thus completely takes over their activities. Employees should be given transparency about the scope of the planned chatbot deployment right from the start. In addition, those affected should be able to participate in the design of the chatbot deployment.
Which Operational and data security the chatbot has an effect on the one hand on safe cooperation and on the other hand on the protection of data from loss and unauthorized access. Companies should educate employees about security and data evaluation through chatbots. The technical maturity and reliability determine the ability of the chatbot to process assigned tasks case-by-case. By selecting a suitable chatbot technology, project managers can influence the technical maturity level, especially in the planning phase.
If prototypes of the chatbot are already available in this phase, the technology can be tested at an early stage. Depending on the size of the workforce and the budget, employees can visit service centers where chatbots are already working. Furthermore, individual chatbot prototypes can be introduced, which are available to the employees for testing. Such measures allow employees to personally experience the advantages and disadvantages of working with chatbots.
During the introduction of the chatbot, not only technical activities should be in the foreground. Often a successful integration of the chatbot depends on the input of the employees. They must be motivated to pass on their knowledge and to help shape processes.
In order to ensure easy use, the chatbot must be tailored to the requirements of the employees. On the one hand, an intuitive design is important. On the other hand, training courses and user-friendly operating instructions also contribute to this. Tech-savvy colleagues can be retrained as chatbot experts to support the other employees.
During the course of the project, it is advisable to promote informal exchange between employees. If chatbots or other AI-based systems are already used in the company or employees have already gained experience with chatbots in other ways, they can pass on their knowledge via digital platforms or events, for example.
If the chatbot is implemented and integrated into the business processes, the management expects positive effects or a higher level of performance. These results are again dependent on the willingness of the employees to act.
At this stage, it is important to have a perfect cooperation with the chatbot promote. Among other things, it is about the flawless and expected communication of necessary information from the chatbot to the employee. Top management often does not recognize barriers in the process organization. Employees therefore need a trusting and appreciative format in which they can jointly identify obstacles in chatbot interaction and stimulate measures.
Finally, companies should determine to what extent the chatbot supports the affected employees in achieving their performance goals. Here, too, highlighting the personal benefits through the chatbot can strengthen the perceived synergy effects. In the best case, those affected perceive the chatbot as a tool for achieving goals. In addition, managers must adjust the performance goals of the employees so that there are no trade-offs between the chatbot and those affected. If necessary, you may need to focus more on qualitative rather than quantitative key figures.
The introduction of chatbots is often accompanied by the expectation of management that positive results will quickly become visible. CIOs are under pressure and are primarily looking for optimization potential in the technical infrastructure. However, the key to a successful chatbot deployment lies above all in the consideration of the affected employees.
Managers have to deal with the challenges that arise for employees at an early stage. A key driver for increasing acceptance is the trust of employees in chatbot technology. In order to meet the often high expectations of chatbot use, CIOs must initiate targeted change management measures in all project phases.