GBC study reveals federal employees want more training, tech support, and transparency around AI and similar technologies
Respondents to a study by the Government Business Council (GBC) say they recognize the value of artificial intelligence and related technologies but want to know more about the platforms’ potential impact on their roles and responsibilities.
The Lowdown: For the study, the GBC surveyed almost 500 U.S. Federal employees representing 30-plus civilian and defense agencies. While respondents can identify clear benefits of AI and the like, and are confident in their ability to adapt to a post-AI workforce, they’re concerned about employers’ commitment to user training and technical support.
The Details: U.S. government workers welcome the idea of learning and using intelligent technologies, but they feel employers should do a better job of communicating how those technologies will affect them, and of equipping them with the resources they need to navigate the new platforms, the study revealed.
Specific findings of the study, which was underwritten by Accenture Federal Services (AFS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture LLP:
• Communications Shortfall: About three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) acknowledge that it will be important for them to develop AI skills in the next three to five years, but only 26 percent say their agency has communicated AI’s potential impact adequately, well, or very well.
• AI Value: Workers identified a number of compelling potential benefits of intelligent technologies – chiefly, reduced repetitive tasks and administrative burdens (59 percent), improved productivity (53 percent), and reduced errors (46 percent). While 50 percent of respondents said they believe new technologies are being adopted to enhance their skill sets and roles, 29 percent believe intelligent tools are being introduced without a thorough appraisal of employees’ current responsibilities.
• Unprepared Workforce: Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) feel confident they “fit” into the government of the future – that their technical skills and abilities make them valuable workers – but 61 percent say they’re concerned about a lack of tech support and training. When asked what would motivate them to develop new skills in preparation for tomorrow’s workforce, 55 percent of respondents cited “being provided funding to cover training.”
The Buzz: “AI is one of the most engaging topics we’re seeing unfold in the federal government right now,” said Daniel Thomas, research manager at GBC and author of the study. “These findings show that there’s a significant appetite for continued education around the opportunities that intelligent technologies like AI present to the federal employee.”
“The Federal workforce knows the potential benefits of AI and that intelligent technologies are coming — but what workers don’t yet know is how it will affect and amplify their work,” said Britaini Carroll, a human capital workforce lead at AFS. “Because employees play a key role in training, sustaining, and interacting with intelligent technologies, they should be engaged in every step of the process and encouraged to continuously learn. We look forward to co-creating solutions with our government clients to help them transform their learning journeys and effectively incorporate AI in their workforce transformation plans.”
“Agencies should think big but start small in building a strategic, sustainable and responsible enterprise AI program. Furthermore, AI adoption should be pursued in the context of shifting employees from low-value to high-value work,” said Dominic Delmolino, CTO of AFS. “By using a design-led approach when deploying new solutions, we ensure that employees are leading the identification of where AI tasks can augment their work, reinforce trust in the solution, build new relationships, and, ultimately, encourage the adoption of AI technologies that will help meet rising demands.”