Generative AI for internal comms: Competitor or companion?
The relationship between AI and communicators is fresh and the debate about its potential impact can be divisive – fascinating and frightening in equal measure. Will generative AI prove to be an invaluable companion for accelerating and optimizing output, or could it muscle in on the art of creating compelling comms, ultimately displacing jobs? We’re exploring whether this new era of generative AI is here to help or hinder.
Generative AI: What does it mean for internal comms?
There’s no doubt that the world is experiencing a period of hyper-innovation spurred on by the AI revolution. The most game changing example of this was OpenAI’s Chat-GPT; a content generating tool that wowed the world with its impressive ability to summon lengthy, logically structured messaging from little more than a few sentences. Whilst this is a great example of generative AI, let’s take a step backwards to understand more about what exactly we’re dealing with.
What is generative AI?
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) describes algorithms (such as Chat-GPT) that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos. For the purposes of internally communicating, our core focus here is the generation of written content.
Unily's AI publishing assistant is here for internal comms
Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT at the tail end of 2022, the AI revolution has become an unescapable phenomenon. Unily’s latest feature puts the power of generative AI into the hands of enterprise communicators to solve long-standing challenges and take employee engagement to new heights.
How AI can offer comms the edge for success
Generative AI’s sharp form of machine learning enables the creation of content with perfect grammar, the right tone, and a cohesive narrative flow. It can automate a variety of internal communications tasks such as drafting emails, creating a story structure, or curating a meeting summary.
When used in the enterprise comms setting, generative AI capabilities stand to increase efficiency, reducing the strain on busy internal comms teams. Alongside the fact that most AI technology lets you edit any content generated, this feature can help communicators get their messaging word perfect with much less ‘heavy lifting’.
With a formidable power to dissolve writer’s block across everything from compelling blog posts to campaigns, site updates to announcements, internal communicators can lean on generative AI to free up valuable time in their day.
Driving these efficiencies means internal comms could have more time to work on the stuff that really lights them up, putting them firmly in the driving seat for more innovative, strategic work.
Extra firepower for seasoned communicators
Generative AI promises to increase internal comms efficiency, but how should communicators be looking to best leverage this extra firepower?
#1. Unblock writer's block
It’s Tuesday morning, your inbox is bulging, and you have three deadlines to somehow meet in between the meetings that could have been emails. Sounds like a tricky time to get creative – we get it.
Generative AI offers a great method of spit-balling ideas and drafting up starting points for content, so you no longer have to rely on your colleagues accepting yet another Teams invitation to brainstorm this quarter’s engagement strategy.
#2. A headstart on new topics
Because internal communicators often need to be generalists in whichever field they’re operating, they need to stay on top of the latest trends and hot topics in the industry. Generative AI can be used as a valuable research tool if you need to wrap your head around a new procurement pathway or the latest development in cardiac care.
This significantly cuts down the time needed to gain a baseline understanding of the context you’re communicating in – and limits the amount of nagging questions you need to ask experts in the business. Win-win we’d say.
#3. Finesse comms, faster
Additionally, generative AI has significantly disrupted the content creation process - increasing the sheer speed at which new messaging can be whipped up and published. This makes it easier to keep your site content fresh and relevant, so your people can always rely on it being the latest and greatest. Whether you're starting with a few bullet points or you have wording that needs polishing, Unily's AI publishing assistant gives you the tools to turn ideas into compelling prose in a few clicks.
#4. Up your personalization game
Finally, generative AI can help you better tailor messaging to specific audiences. Successful communication rests on truly knowing your audience – speaking to them in a tone and style for their personality traits, cognitive styles, and identity-linked worldviews. Generative AI can help us decode the ‘hidden who’ with results that resonate with each audience, crafting surprisingly appropriate messages based on tone selection, formality, and keywords you feed it. This cutting-edge tooling can help us write differentiated messaging for segmented audience groups based on their unique characteristics.
When used responsibly, and in the right way, all of this translates to massive productivity improvements for communicators and stronger engagement across enterprise. For internal communicators, increasing AI fluency and becoming a champion for this evolution in your workplace could have significant benefits. That said, the debate around embracing AI-generated content versus anxieties around role replacement rages on.
How is AI shaping the future of internal communications?
Content writing bots, sentiment analysis, automated campaigns. AI is no longer on the horizon but here and ready to play its part in transforming the future of work. What does an engagement strategy that leverages AI and automation look like? How can internal comms embrace AI and automation to solve some of their biggest challenges to date?
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Can generative AI replace communicators?
We can’t ignore the fact that the emergence of generative AI has the potential to reshape the communications industry. When used alongside a healthy dose of critical thinking, it beckons positive transformation. However, many well-oiled comms people have legitimate concerns.
Job displacement is the frontrunner. McKinsey reckons that automation will displace up to 800 million jobs by 2030. How could this sort of forecast not cause concern among communicators?
If we look back to the 19th century, advancements in factories were feared too, with textile workers worrying about automation robbing them of their livelihoods. When we assess history, however, many of the same fears raised time and again prove to be unfounded.
Innovations of this scale change the landscape, and rapid change is never palatable. But hysteria and avoidance is the enemy of good decision-making. History has shown that with every groundbreaking innovation, a period of uncertainty and fear preludes an acceptance that unleashes a new chapter of accelerated growth. There is little doubt that jobs will be lost to the AI revolution, but there is equal certainty that new skilled roles will be created.
Generative AI is no replacement for a seasoned communicator. It can speed up and enhance our content production, but human oversight is still essential to assuring quality output. For now, at least, generative AI is more of a companion than a competitor. And those who recognize that will be best placed to reap the rewards. The question we should be asking ourselves is how can we leverage this new firepower to help us achieve more?
How multilingual AI is transforming internal comms for global workforces
When globally distributed employees are empowered to connect and share knowledge, innovation soars. But without powerful translation, geographical silos remain. Find out how AI-powered multilingual translation is transforming internal communications for globally distributed workforces.
So, what are the limitations of generative AI for enterprise comms?
For generative AI to become the internal comms sidekick envisioned, we must get to know where its limitations lay. These fall into three core buckets:
- Data biases: Generative AI models rely on historic data to conjure answers. That means it can inherit the biases present in the data it was trained on. As a result, your generative AI assistant could produce answers that propagate negative stereotypes.
- Data security: Generative AI models continue to learn from the data you feed them. That means for a period of time any sensitive company data entered into the system is stored in a central location. Enterprises with high data security requirements will need to think carefully about what information can be fed into the system.
- Output quality: Generative AI systems lack emotional intelligence and cognitive reasoning skills. So the copy produced can fail to capture context and exert emotional sensitivity. Responses can also be repetitive leading to duplicate copy.
Until these issues are resolved - and for now that remains a long way off - the place of a communicator is safe. In fact, more than ever, the astute eye of a communicator is needed to guide, vet, and humanize. Strategic prompting and careful refinements are much needed to unleash the power of generative AI as a comms companion.
Unily’s AI Publishing Assistant has been carefully curated to optimize the refinement process, helping communicators to easily adapt initial generative outputs to meet their needs. With AI by our side, and us firmly in the driving seat, the potential to unlock productivity and innovation benefits is abundant.
AI can be the dream companion, if you make it one
The music industry railed against piracy for years, wasted millions on pointless lawsuits, and eventually gave up on a valiant but futile fight. As a result, the multi-billion dollar streaming industry was born, and the music market still exists – it just evolved to stay relevant and competitive.
We can learn from the technological shifts across industries in the past few decades and the success of working with the tide rather than against it. Every advancement in history has resulted in more job creation than it has destruction.
Setting narratives, building key relationships, and shaping strategy will not be tasks for artificial intelligence. These strategic initiatives depend on the long-game and nuanced human connection.
The reality is, AI will not replace you. However, an internal communicator who knows how to optimize their work with AI might. Time to get on board.
Find out more about how Unily is empowering enterprise communicators with a generative AI publishing assistant here.