ChatGPT launched on November 30, 2022, and is quickly gaining attention as an AI-based chat platform that responds to natural language inputs. ChatGPT opens AI up to nearly everyone to use by using a simple chat-based format. GPT stands for Generative Pre-training Transformer, and it was designed to simulate a conversational format based on chat type of inputs from users. In addition, there are generative visual Ais, such as DALLE•2 that can create images based on text inputs (which I used to create the image for this post). The employment lawyer in me began to wonder how employers could utilize AI to help train managers and manage their workforce. Below are five different tests on how AI could be used by employers in the near future (if not immediately):
1. Training managers
I used ParagraphAI and asked it to explain what the best practices for mangers are. The software provided the following response:
Best practices for managers involve creating a positive work environment, setting clear expectations, and encouraging open communication. It is important to ensure that all employees feel respected and valued, and that their opinions are heard. Managers should provide consistent feedback and support, and be willing to listen to ideas from their team. Additionally, managers should strive to create an atmosphere of trust, where employees feel comfortable speaking up and voicing their concerns. Finally, managers should be proactive in addressing any conflicts that arise, and ensure that all employees are treated fairly and with respect. By following these best practices, managers can create a productive and successful work environment.
This is not a bad start for some basic manager training. With some modification by employer, one could easily see how the AI could help develop a training program for managers.
2. Issuing written warnings to employees
Issuing written warning to employees is critical in creating a record of performance issues as well as providing guidance to employees of expectations and how to improve. AI can assist managers in creating timely written warnings for employees. For example, I asked ParagraphAI to write a warning to employee for violating an employee handbook policy about fighting with other employees, and it provided this response:
This is to inform you that your recent behavior of fighting with other employees is in violation of the employee handbook policy and is unacceptable. This behavior is disruptive to the workplace and will not be tolerated. As a result, you are receiving a written warning. If there is any further violation of this policy, you will be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
A company could easily modify this response slightly, add a few specific details, and then have this warning automatically issued to the employee and place a copy of the warning in the employee’s electronic file.
3. Documenting performance issues with employees
AI could also assist managers in documenting performance issues among their workforce. ParagraphAI provided this response to my request to document an employee’s attendance issues:
This employee’s attendance has been a problem for some time now. They have been late to work on multiple occasions, and have even missed days without notifying anyone. This behavior is unacceptable, and it is necessary for the employee to make a change in their attendance habits. It is important for the employee to be punctual and reliable in order to maintain a successful work environment. Going forward, it is essential for the employee to be on time and to notify the appropriate people if they are unable to make it in for any reason.
I also asked ParaphraphAI to write a performance review telling employee to improve teamwork with other workers, and it provided this response:
It is important that all employees work together as a team in order to achieve our common goals. As such, it is imperative that you make an effort to collaborate and cooperate with your co-workers. This could involve actively engaging in conversations, listening to others’ ideas, and offering constructive feedback. Additionally, it is important to be open to different perspectives, and to be willing to compromise and find solutions that work for everyone. By working together as a team, we can ensure that our workplace is a productive and positive environment.
Again, a manager would need to add some specifics and modify this review a bit, but the AI has done much of the work already.
4. Drafting offer letters and other employment documents
When asked to write an offer letter to a California employee with an at-will provision and an integration clause, the AI provided this response:
We are pleased to offer you the position of [Position] at [Company] in California. This position is an at-will employment relationship, meaning that either you or [Company] may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause or notice.
This offer is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check.
This offer letter, along with any other documents that you may receive from us, constitutes the entire agreement between you and [Company], and supersedes any prior agreements or understandings, whether written or oral. This agreement may not be modified or amended except in writing signed by both parties.
We look forward to having you join our team.
While this draft is requires some additional information, it is a decent start to an offer letter. Could employers use AI in the hiring process? Possibly, but California has already published draft regulations regarding the use of AI in the hiring process.
Do I expect that AI could draft employment documents at some point in the near future? While many are predicting that this will put hard working employment lawyers out of business, I expect that there will still need to be some analysis and modification of policies for employers. For example, there is software available to create employee handbooks currently, and based on responses to prompts, the software recommends certain policies. However, drafting the language for various policies is not the difficult part of preparing an employee handbook, it is analyzing which options are available for the employer and the best option to chose for their workforce. I see lawyers being able to utilize AI to assist in creating employment documents, but there will still need to be some review and input from an actual lawyer (at least for now).
5. Ask AI what it can offer to help employers
Impressed with the responses provided to me through the AI, I had to ask it one last question: Which ways could employers use AI to help manage employees? It provided this response:
– Automate time tracking
– Automate attendance tracking
– Automate payroll processing
– Automate employee scheduling
– Automate performance reviews
– Automate recruitment processes
– Automate employee onboarding
– Automate employee engagement surveys
– Automate employee feedback surveys
– Automate employee recognition programs
Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a vital tool for employers to manage their employees. AI can be used to automate mundane tasks, provide insights into employee performance, and increase overall efficiency. With the right implementation, AI can help employers better manage their workforce and create a more productive and successful workplace.
AI has a place in the workforce, and in law, but as the responses illustrate above, there is still some human input that is required for the time being. It will be interesting to watch how this technology develops over the next year, and how enterprising employers (and lawyers) put it to use.