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How to use AI and Maintain a Relational Workplace Culture

Artificial Intelligence illustrated in the form of a brain

Artificial intelligence will soon be pervasive in just about everything - including business and our personal lives. It's therefore timely to note that research already shows that, despite AI getting better at answering questions and working with people, the experience of working with AI can leave us feeling detached. AI can mimic human conversation, but it falls short of meeting our hard-wired need for relationships.


Leaders, then, need a deliberate strategy to balance technological efficiency with human connection. Relational workplace cultures require leadership approaches that emphasize transparency, collaboration, and regular human interaction. By integrating these elements, leaders can leverage AI’s benefits while ensuring employees feel connected, valued, and engaged.


Here are several strategies to foster a balanced workplace:


1. Encourage Open Communication

  • Clearly communicate how AI is being used and how it benefits both the organization and your employees. Transparency reduces anxiety and helps employees see AI as a support rather than a threat.

  • Regularly ask for employee feedback on AI use and its impact on their work. This helps leaders make adjustments that align with employee needs and preferences.


2. Promote Human-AI Collaboration by Integrating AI as a Support Tool

  • Use AI to handle repetitive and mundane tasks, allowing employees to focus on more creative, strategic, and interpersonal aspects of their roles. This deepens engagement and fosters stronger relationships.

  • Provide training programs to help employees develop skills to work alongside AI effectively, promoting a collaborative rather than competitive environment.


3. Develop Your Relational Intelligence

  • Invest in leadership development programs that focus on upskilling communication and relationship-building abilities. Leaders with high emotional awareness can better support their teams and create a positive work environment.

  • Leaders should model empathetic and inclusive behavior, demonstrating the importance of human connection in a tech-driven workplace.


4. Establish Clear Expectations for Regular Face-to-Face Interaction

  • Balance virtual and AI-driven communications with regular in-person or virtual meetings to maintain personal connections. Encourage team lunches, coffee breaks, and informal gatherings.

  • Organize team-building activities that promote collaboration and trust among team members, reinforcing a sense of community.


5. Use AI to Enhance, Not Replace, Human Judgment

  • Ensure  AI is used to provide data-driven insights but not to fully replace human judgment. Critical decisions should still involve human oversight to ensure empathy and ethical considerations, as well as fact-checking.

  • Regularly review AI recommendations to ensure they align with the company's values and culture.


 

In addition to maintaining a relational workplace, leaders have expressed other concerns around AI’s rapid integration. Let me know in the poll below (also shared on LinkedIn) which area has been on your mind most lately. I’ll share the results in my next blog post!


Which aspect of AI integration concerns you most?

  • Risk of misinformation

  • Job displacement

  • Employee morale impact

  • Human connections


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