Do workers really trust robots more than managers?

There used to be a time in the not-too-distant past when we feared the oncoming hordes of robots in the workplace.

That time is no longer.

People now have more trust in robots than their managers, according to the second annual AI at Work study conducted by Oracle and research firm Future Workplace.

The study of 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries, found that AI has changed the relationship between people and technology at work and is reshaping the role HR teams and managers need to play in attracting, retaining and developing talent.

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The latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are rapidly reaching mainstream, resulting in a massive shift in the way people across the world interact with technology and their teams, says Emily He, senior vice president, human capital management for Oracle’s cloud business group. “As this study shows, the relationship between humans and machines is being redefined at work, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to successfully managing this change. Instead, organizations need to partner with their HR organization to personalize the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world.”

Workers Trust Robots More Than Their Managers

The increasing adoption of AI at work is having a significant impact on the way employees interact with their managers. As a result, the traditional role of HR teams and the manager is shifting. Among the findings:

• 64 percent of people would trust a robot more than their manager and half have turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice.

• Workers in India (89 percent) and China (88 percent) are more trusting of robots over their managers, followed by Singapore (83 percent), Brazil (78%), Japan (76 percent), UAE (74 percent), Australia/New Zealand (58 percent), U.S. (57 percent), UK (54 percent) and France (56 percent).

• More men (56 percent) than women (44 percent) have turned to AI over their managers.

• 82% of people think robots can do things better than their managers.

• When asked what robots can do better than their managers, survey respondents said robots are better at providing unbiased information (26 percent), maintaining work schedules (34 percent), problem solving (29 percent) and managing a budget (26 percent).

• When asked what managers can do better than robots, workers said the top three tasks were understanding their feelings (45 percent), coaching them (33 percent) and creating a work culture (29 percent).

“Over the past two years we’ve found that workers have become more optimistic as they’ve adopted AI in the workplace and HR is leading the way, says Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace. “The 2019 study shows that AI is redefining not only the relationship between worker and manager, but also the role of a manager in an AI-driven workplace. Based on the findings, managers will remain relevant in the future if they focus on being human and using their soft skills, while leaving the technical skills and routine tasks to robots.”

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