While some companies are still cautious about using artificial intelligence tools in the workplace, others are actively encouraging it.
Cleo, an AI-powered digital coach for personal finance, has offered all its employees a $20 monthly subscription to ChatGPT Plus to use at work. Genies, an avatar technology company, is doing the same for its employees. And Clockwise, a calendar management platform, is going as far as building a “team AI budget” that can be spent on different tools.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT gained global attention at the end of 2022 and more workers began to see how it could be their own personal assistant at work so that they have time to tackle other tasks, including deep, creative work. In some cases, experts even argue that learning how to use AI tools can help you stand out at work compared to someone who is not open to it.
While ChatGPT operates on GPT-3.5 and can be a helpful tool, it’s ChatGPT Plus and GPT-4 that really brings things to the next level. The upgrade, released in March, allows the AI to read up to 50 pages of text, gives more accurate responses, and can replicate your tone of voice — all helpful for workers. ChatGPT Plus subscribers will also receive faster response times and have access at peak hours.
However, not all employers are welcoming it with open arms. In fact, some companies decided to ban it all together over fears of sensitive data being shared with the bot. In other cases, employers are worried that employees might face a lack of customization or end up relying too heavily on the technology.
That’s not what Barney Hussey-Yeo, CEO at Cleo, thinks, though. Hussey-Yeo believes that as a company at the forefront of productising AI, including using large language models like ChatGPT within Cleo itself, it’s crucial that the entire team immerses themselves in the latest developments.
“From a business perspective as well, the team is finding lots of ways to automate quite manual tasks, which allows them to free up their time to focus on bigger, more strategic and higher impact tasks instead which is always good,” said Annie Jackson, head of talent at Cleo.
A lot of the team were already using ChatGPT for free, but faced issues like it being at capacity during work hours, which the subscription allows you to get past. Cleo employees are asked to purchase their own subscription, and then expense it. It’s up to them if they want to take advantage of the benefit or not. Though Hussey-Yeo is firmly encouraging it.
“It’s been received very positively,” said Jackson, who uses her subscription daily. Within the talent team, they use it to help with A/B testing, outreach messages on LinkedIn, generation questions for panel events, and even building out scoring rubrics for interviews as well. “Having the ability to use the premium product has been great because it means I have 24-hour access to it.”
Akash Nigam, CEO of Genies, also highly encourages the use of ChatGPT Plus. In the note to his team, Akash said, “The only humans that will be replaced by technology are the humans that don’t have the desire nor ambition to learn and leverage new technology to advance their skillset. We must learn how to use the latest and greatest to nurture our critical thoughts.”
Genies employees have used their ChatGPT Plus subscription in many ways already. One employee said they use it to talk through their code with a virtual partner to get debugging advice and problem solve while another said they use it for search queries rather than Google. On the creative side, employees have used it to see what words people have been searching the most across social media and to figure out what ad hooks might make sense and how to write unique proposals to get new features pushed through.
Meanwhile, at Clockwise, co-founder and CEO Matt Martin thinks it’s worthwhile to implement a budget so that employees can invest in whatever AI tool will help them the most. Currently, employees can already expense their ChatGPT Plus subscription, which about 15% of the company has taken advantage of.
“For $20 a month, if we’re getting productivity enhancement out of it, I’m perfectly comfortable paying for that,” said Martin.
But building out this budget is what will take the company’s use of AI tools to the next level, he stressed.
“We see this as an active area of investigation,” said Martin. “We’d love to come out of Q2 with each department having a couple of tools they prefer to use that really enhances their productivity.”
For example, the engineering department has already expressed excitement about using Github’s Copilot, an AI pair programmer [an AI assistant that helps developers in writing code.] Meanwhile, other departments are eyeing a number of tools, and having the budget gives them the space to evaluate what works best for them.
“We’re organizing it department by department,” said Martin. “We’re creating explicit budgets for each department to pursue this and then we’re giving a soft mandate of ‘let’s come out of the quarter having experimented with a few of these tools.’”
Aside from it helping remove repetitive, mundane work tasks, it also allows them to see what works and what doesn’t with other products as Clockwise begins to work on its own AI product as well.
“There’s a real incentive here for me as a leader to have employees utilize and understand other AI products so we can incorporate some of those learnings into our own development and our own processes,” said Martin. “I’m excited to have people go explore. I’m curious to see what people locate, what they find, what they get energized about.”